Cedar-aged sake is a veritable flavour sensation. Taruzake or Taru Sake is sake that’s matured in barrels made from Yoshino cedar, a scented wood often used in the construction of temples and shrines. Think of it as rice wine’s answer to Reposado Tequila, but with more subtlety and less fire.
The Taruzake Junmai from Kiku-Masamune has been crafted in a dry Junmai style, meaning that it has a slightly more savoury flavour profile that comes from a reduced polishing of the rice grains. This premium sake is rested in cedar wood barrels before being filled into a bulbous flask called a tokkuri. As rounded and pleasing as the bottle it comes in, this harmonious sake can be sipped cool with sushi and sashimi, or warm on a winter night with soba noodles, yakitori or unagi. Heating will heighten the earthy wood, spice, incense, peppercorn, pine, green apple and blossom flavours.
Kiku-Masamune has been making sake in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture since 1659. Surviving countless wars and natural disasters, it remains in the hands of the highly skilled Kano family. According to their wonderful mission statement, they’re “dedicated to contributing to people’s emotional and physical health by providing delicious Japanese sake products”. Their sakes really are the gourmet’s choice. As proven by Kiku-Masamune being one of the sake houses highly recommended by James Bond creator Ian Fleming in his travel guide written for The Sunday Times in the late-1950s, and recently re-released under the title Thrilling Cities.