Located in Aga in Niigata Prefecture, at the foot of Mount Kirin, very close to the Tokonami River, Kirinzan Shuzo 麒麟山酒造 has been brewing saké for over 170 years.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the company was called Fukunoi 福の井, “The Well of Happiness”, in homage to its well overflowing with fresh water considered a blessing. This is because the region's beech forests absorb rainwater and melting snow into their soil. This water flows, purifies itself, before springing from the well.
In 1882, the third generation, Tokukichi Saito, changed the name of the brand to Kirinzan 麒麟山. It is because Mount Kirin which rises next to the city, by its shape, recalls the Kirin, the mythical animal bringing a lot of happiness and luck.
In order to ensure the best rice quality for the product, Kirinzan's Toji works with his team members in the local rice fields during the summer months and helps with the harvest in the fall.
The brewery is committed to using the finest local rice to support the Oku-Aga farming community.
Their motto: "Great sake begins with people working in harmony".
The beech trees, Mount Kirin, and the Tokonami River surrounding the brewery are the perfect filtration system for the water to lose all hardness. In making saké, soft water allows for long fermentation, which creates the delicate and elegant style of saké that Kirinzan is known for.
Kirinzan won gold medals at the National Sake Competition in Japan in 2016, 2014, 2012, 2009, 2008.
Here is the KIRINZAN DENTO KARAKUCHI 麒麟山伝統辛口, a futsushu made in the best tradition.
It is a light, dry, velvety, refreshing and invigorating saké; a classic KARAKUCHI, an everyday saké shaped to appeal to the people of Niigata.
It has a discreetly fruity nose and a slight taste of pear. It is easy to drink, cold or hot. As the fluid heats up, some vanilla notes appear.
The KIRINZAN YAWARAKA JUNMAI 麒麟山やわらか純米酒 is made with Gohyakumangoku rice to which Koshiibuki rice is added in the wort. These grains, harvested near the brewery, have been polished to 58% (ginjo level).
An extremely well-balanced sake, drunk at a temperature of 15 °C, it reveals flavours of banana, rice pudding and citrus.