When Hiroaki Oku took over his family brewery in 2009, he set a new production target: He wanted to slash it by 75 percent. Each year he gets closer to that goal, and Akishika sakes get rarer. His reasoning: he wants to use only the very best rice, and to be at the helm for every step of the process. He’s aiming for what he calls “ikkan-zukuri”, meaning production from seedling to sake.
Oku-san makes some of the most natural sake around. He says “if it’s not junmai, I’m not interested”, and he stopped all filtering several years ago. His sakes typically have layers upon layers of flavour and a more-ish streak of acidity. Some are held back to develop for years, just like the finest wines, released only when he believes they’re in perfect drinking condition.
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"If you have good rice, you don't need to mill so much of it away."