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Sake of the Week #055: Jokigen Misatonishiki Hiyaoroshi


Jokigen Misatonishiki Hiya oroshi 上喜元 美郷錦 ひやおろし

I don’t pass through Tokyo Station often enough to know my way around as well as I should. Drop me in Shinjuku and I can change trains in my sleep, but Tokyo… So, when I had plans to meet up with my friend “S” in Akihabara yesterday, I left early to do a little reconnaissance. Where the heck was Hasegawa Shoten again?

The first time I went looking, I found the branch that is outside the ticket barrier by mistake–no tasting bar! Since then, I’ve been to the inside-the-barrier-branch a few times, but usually at the end of a very long train ride back home. This time I would find it and grave it indelibly on my brain for future reference. And, as an added bonus when I got there, Jokigen was having an in-store tasting of two fresh, new hiyaoroshi. I tried a few sample sips, was very pleased, then went my merry way. I think they looked disappointed to see me try everything, take a bunch of photos and then run off, but it was 11am and I had shopping to do.

Met up with “S” and we threaded the bowels of Akiba until we found the Drobo Second Generation boxen we were looking for. During August, my MacBook Pro HD, a LaCie 500GB external HD full of media, and the disc “S” used to for music all went to the “Big Enclosure in the Sky” and my external HD at work has been making nasty grumbling noises, so time to get serious about storage. But, I digress! Enough geekery of the digital kind–on to the sake-otaku goodness!

I’ve been working on “S” for the last year or so, and predictably he now likes several Shizuoka sake including Garyubai, and is a big Kozaemon fan. So, when I mentioned a nice little bar in the station with a great selection of nihonshu, he was sold. We needed to break up the return trip anyway.

The rep for Jokigen gave me a big smile when I walked up again, this time with a friend in tow. “S” gave each of the Jokigen a try and had the same reaction as I had had in the morning. The Omachi was more delicate and a little sweet, but the drier Misatonishiki really hit the spot. Shopping is hard work, so we quickly retired to the bar for further fortification. Continuing my recent string of “Sake from Saga”, we took a glass of Azumaichi and went with some Isojiman for a counterbalance. Both were good, but couldn’t have been more different. They deserve their own SotW one of these days.

Properly refreshed, I went back out to the shop floor determined to drive Et-chan insane by completely filling our refrigerator with bottles. It’s only one more! No question, I went for the Misatonishiki (美郷錦) over the also very good Omachi (雄町). If you need a refresher of what hiya oroshi is, click through to John Gauntner’s explanation. Actually, it was 5 October last year when we had another brew of this type as SotW, which brings me to a question. Is it just my imagination, or is hiya oroshi getting earlier? It feels like it, but maybe that’s just me getting in tune. A perfect example of wishing summer was over and fall was here and looking for the seasonal change on the shelves of the sake shop.

This Junmai ginjo, fresh-bottled (single-pasteurized in the bottle?) hiya oroshi (純米生詰ひやおろし) is a perfect example of the type. Light and lively with a few rough edges, and in this case, a brisk dryness. It has a strong, but consistent long aftertaste that gets a little more complex than what is right up front.

Tastes like the fall I wish it already was in Tokyo, but it is still damned hot here!

Kano Shuzo, makers of Jokigen
Tel:0761-74-1551 Fax:0761-74-6120

Hasegawa Saketen, inside Tokyo Station. Head for the Marunouchi Center Exit then look for escalators taking you down to Gransta in B1.
TEL: 03-6420-3409
Hours: 7:00- 22:00 Sundays: 7:00~21:00


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