Fans of Kamoshibito Kuheiji sake are stoked that it has finally penetrated the Singapore market
Sake is having a moment. When done well, the fermented rice drink has all that one can ask for: elegance, balance, finesse and harmony. Unlike red wine, it goes swimmingly with a lot of food, but don’t go dunking it in beer. Rather than casually turning it into a sake bomb (a rookie mistake), one should enjoy it as it is (unless it’s a particularly bad batch of sake).
Kamoshibito Kuheiji is produced by the Banjo Jozo brewery in Nagoya. Kuheiji, a family name that can be traced back for more than 300 years, has been brewing sake since 1647.
The brewery is best known for its Junmai Daiginjo, an A-list sake made with rice that’s milled down to the heart of the starch. The more the rice is polished, the smoother the sake becomes.
Spend one night with a Kuheiji and you may well become a sake evangelist. The brand is currently in the good hands of Kuheiji Kuno (an art lover and former fashion model), whose lifelong goal is to elevate his sake to greater heights. Deeply influenced by French wine culture and techniques, he devotes himself entirely to the whole process, whether it’s farming rice in Hyogo prefecture or making koji.
Kamoshibito Kuheiji is also one of the most sought-after brands in Japan and France, and is served in three-Michelin-starred destinations such as Restaurant Guy Savoy
The journey is always met by surprises – like inconsistent sunshine and typhoons, which hinder proper drainage and cause friction among the grains – but it’s all been very rewarding. His sakes always turn out elegant, soft and multidimensional, and cater to the sweet, bitter, savoury and sour flavour profiles. The Yamadanishiki 35 Betsu Atsurae 2018 vintage, for instance, is its most versatile. It boasts a nose full of melon and fresh jasmine, a silky smooth texture and a short, dry finish. The Yamadanishiki 40 Kanochi, on the other hand, features a lively nose of fresh herbs, rose and lychee. It is very lean, mineral and rather acidic, a characteristic you don’t normally find in sake.
Kamoshibito Kuheiji is also one of the most sought-after brands in Japan and France, and is served in three-Michelin-starred destinations such as Restaurant Guy Savoy. Every bit of the business is calculated, including where the sake goes to as Kuno doesn’t just export his sake to anyone. One has to get to know him, even if it takes a trip to Japan to speak with him.
He’s a tough nut to crack, but thanks to De Majestic Vines, Kamoshibito Kuheiji has finally penetrated the Singapore market. It took him some convincing – a year, to be exact – but all good things take time and sake like this is definitely worth the wait.