// you're reading...


Our first B.Y.O.S Tasting

Merry Xmas!

Inspired by Tim’s B.Y.O.S (Bring Your Own Sake) tasting, six sake connoisseurs in Tokyo gathered at our favorite neighborhood okonomiyaki place, Kurobee, on Sunday, 17 December. The restaurant is run by a very nice couple we have known for over 5 years. Little did they know the group of people they were going to let in the restaurant when we asked if we could host a sake tasting at their restaurant, followed by their okonomiyaki.

For the tasting, we each brought one 720 ml bottle of Junmai. The restaurant gave us one more bottle, so we tasted seven varieties, both cold and kan.


From left to right

Taketsuru Junmai nigori from Hiroshima

(ALC 15.6%, SMV +9.0, Acidity 1.6, Seimaibuai 65%, Hattan Nishiki/Regular Rice)

Koganesawa Yamahai junmai from Miyagi

(ALC 15.5%, SMV +1.5, Acidity 1.8, Seimaibuai 60%,Toyonishiki)

Hiraizumi Yamahai junmai from Akita

(ALC 15-15.7%, SMV +4.0, Acidity 1.8, Seimaibuai 58%, Miyamanishiki)

Born Tokishirazu Junmai ginjo from Fukui

(ALC 15.0-16.0%, SMV +4.0 , Acidity 1.7, Seimaibuai 55%, Gohyakumangoku)

Dassai Junmai daiginjo from Yamaguchi

(ALC 15.0-16.0%, SMV +6.0, Acidity 1.1, Seimaibuai 39%, Yamadanishiki)

Odayaka Tokubetsu junmai from Fukushima

(ALC 14.8%, SMV +5.0, Acidity 1.3, Seimaibuai 60%, Ipponjime)

Akita Aratama Junmai ginjo from Akita

(ALC 15%, SMV +3.0, Acidity 1.1, Seimaibuai 60%)

Everyone agreed that all of the evening’s sake were good. When arms are twisted, though, Odayaka, Melinda’s bottle, was the overall pick for both cold and kan.

Here’s a selection of the various connoissieur’s comments:

1. Taketsuru

cold=still live tasting

kan=brings out a tang, +alpha

2. Koganesawa

cold=dry, clean, good with food, close to spectacular

kan=really nice with kan, cold is better

3. Hiraizumi

cold=yeasty, complex

kan=left wanting

4. Born

cold=dry, yeasty, has aged tast, disappointing after smelling it, flattens out, balanced across the palette

kan=a lot better warm than cold

5. Dassai

cold=strawberry, fruity, good cold, pastis flavor, depth

kan=spectacular change by temperature, got big, has a strong nose

6. Odayaka

cold=light, tasty, I want it hot, bland, good aftertaste

kan=still bland, good, odayaka=calm taste

7. Akita Aratama

cold=raisiny, like a lightly aged sake, mild licorice

Our intention was to take leftovers home after the tasting. In the end though, I am happy to report that all the sake was gone. Yes, all 7 bottles!.

The happy group of six after the tasting and a couple of beer … as you might be able to tell, from the distortion (especially the guys’ picture).




They make the best okonomiyaki and the couple who run the place really make you feel at home in the best possible sense.

4-10-7 Higashi Gotanda


TEL: 03-3473-5595


Stay tuned for the next tasting…


8 Responses to “Our first B.Y.O.S Tasting”

  1. This was so fun, and Kurobee was terrific! Thanks again, guys. Still, I’m surprised you didn’t get into the whole guys vs. girls thing. It was pretty funny!

    Posted by melinda | December 29, 2006, 11:03 am
  2. Hey Melinda,

    It was fun. There is a good reason why Et-chan didn’t go into the “whole guys vs. girls thing”. She needed a gentle memory prompt to bring that back. Come to think of it, I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics too. What exactly was the split?

    Posted by Te-chan | December 29, 2006, 6:36 pm
  3. Wow! this sounds like fun! BORN got a little thumbs down eh? Over here I only seem to find very expensive BORN daiginjo, so that brand seems to have a good rep here. This inspires me to plan another(!) BYOS tasting! happy new year

    Posted by Timothy | December 30, 2006, 6:55 am
  4. Melinda, I think you are the only one with any memory from the tasting. Next one is going to be a bit easy on qty! Hope you are enjoying this beautiful weather and wish you and JP a happy new year!

    Tim, Happy Holidays! BORN daiginjo is definitely one of the finest sake. People’s opinion of BORN Tokishirazu seem to be polar opposits, or may be that’s what Melinda says guys vs. girls. Look forward to reading your next tasting with some nurukan!? Wish you a happy new year and happy sake tasting!

    Posted by Et-chan | December 31, 2006, 9:55 am
  5. Happy New Year! We have been enjoying this great weather, thanks. Hope you and Ted have, too!

    Funny you should mention the Born. I do recall that the gals (including the mama-san at Kurobee) really dug it nuru-kan. The guys thought it was plain.

    The real controversy was the Dassai 39 Daiginjo. The guys unanimously voted it best kan. The girls thought that warming it killed the flavor and armoa. Both sexes liked it a lot cold, but heat was the devisive issue.

    Tim, as a man, what do you think? Dassai 39 – hot or not?

    Posted by melinda | January 3, 2007, 7:50 pm
  6. Melinda, I am so glad you were there….. It was the otter.

    Posted by Et-chan | January 5, 2007, 9:13 am
  7. Well, as a real He-Man sake drinker, I think I might scream like a little girl if someone offered me Dassai 39 heated. I’ve had the 39 chilled and was utterly charmed… can’t really imagine having it kan. not that this threatens my manhood or anything. well, I better go chop some wood and then go hunting. later!

    Posted by Timothy | January 6, 2007, 4:18 pm
  8. Now that is good. Perhaps I’ll join you on your hunt, as long as some good sake is on the agenda!

    Posted by melinda | January 7, 2007, 10:40 pm

Post a comment

Sake Tourism

Sake World Sake Brewery Tours

Older stuff

Organized stuff