When You Find Undisclosed Sake
Kyogokuya is a liquor store in the Fushimi Otesuji shopping district. It is my favorite liquor store because it carries a variety of interesting sake from all over Japan. One day, I found this sake there.
It was a bottle with a white label with the word “undisclosed” – 非公開, hikoukai in Japanese, written in large letters, a QR code underneath, and the name of the brewer, Kiku no Tsukasa.
It is quite unusual for labels on sake bottle, having no details of how they are produced. When I asked the shop owner about the sake, he told me that all the information except for the ingredients and the alcohol content was undisclosed, and that it was a product that you could enter into a campaign by accessing the QR code, drinking it, and answering the questions about the quality of the sake.
I had no choice but getting one – out of my curiosity and also as a certified international sake guide, had to try it out.
Let’s Try It Out
I brought it back to the tasting room and called another sake guide of our tour, Kyoto Insider Sake Experience to taste the sake “Undisclosed” with me.
This was the QR code to answer the questions about the sake.
The questions they gave were actually quite difficult ones which only 1% of the participants answered correctly.
In the recent trend of the sake industry, it has been common for breweries to emphasize how much they are particular about their rice and brewing methods.
According to their instructions, only 0.4% out of all the participants could answer all questions correctly. Would you like to try with me? Check out the following questions of “undisclosed”.
What is the category of sake?
When I smelt it, the aroma like pear and peach came out, which would be ginjo. This narrowed the choices down to two. The ingredients on the label say “brewed alcohol,” and when I took a small sip, I could still taste the brewed alcohol. It seems a bit like cheating, but I guess the answer is “that one”.
What is the rice polishing ratio?
Depending on the answer for the sake category in the question on, the choices inevitably come down to 50% or 40%. I can feel the taste of rice for this category, so I guess this is it.
What kind of yeast does it use?
This question about yeast was the most confusing until the end. First of all, I’ve never really been conscious of which yeast is used in the sake I was drinking.
I thought I knew the characteristics of the typical yeast, but I hadn’t done any tasting where I had to guess the yeast itself.
I’ve heard that people who drink a lot of sake often ask questions about the different types of rice when they buy bottles, but rarely about the yeast. On the contrary, the brewers, who are in charge of making sake, are often interested in which yeast is used. That’s how big a difference yeast makes.
So for this question on yeast, if you don’t know what yeast is used in Iwate prefecture, it’s almost impossible to answer this question, so I answered it on a hunch!
Is the sake pasteurized or not?
For this question, I tasted the freshness of unpasteurized sake, so I guess that’s it.
What is the brewing year?
This is also difficult… I don’t feel like it’s aged that much, but I was pretty confused because if the category in question one was correct, I don’t think a year or two would make that big difference.
What are the sake degree and acidity levels?
This one started out with a dry feel, and I thought it would be relatively refreshing, so I answered it without much hesitation.
I answered all the questions and sent in my answer. The deadline for answers was May 31 2021, and the correct answers will be announced in early June. Those who answered all the questions correctly will receive a 720ml bottle of sake as a gift.
By the way, neither of us are confident, but this project is very much fun for sake lovers! It seems that this event was held last year as well, so we would like to participate again next year.I’d like to try a blind tasting of Fushimi’s sake in my company next time.
I think this challenge is especially enjoyable for those who have a basic knowledge of sake. If you don’t know the difference between sake, want to be able to look at a bottle and choose for yourself, or want to learn more about sake, why not join the sake tasting experience at Kyoto Sake Experience in Fushimi, Kyoto, one of the three major sake producing areas in Japan. You’ll learn to enjoy and appreciate sake even more!
Join Our Sake Tour!
Kyoto is one of the biggest sake producing area in Japan. In Kyoto there’s lots of sake breweries that you can visit.
In our sake experience, you’ll learn the traditional sake making process that has been running for many years.
Not only learning about the secrets of the sake making process, there are some breweries that you can taste the sakes that are made in the brewery. Visit Kyoto’s sake breweries with us and enjoy sake to the fullest.
If you want to learn more about sake, or in order to fully enjoy Japanese culture, don’t forget to join our tour Kyoto Insider Sake Experience. You will discover local sake and learn differences of categories by sampling each of them to find your favourite bottle!