We came across this special, rare Sake from someone looking for bottles for their Sake certification course here in the USA. Mutsu Hassen was a brand founded by the micro-brewery Hachinohe Shuzo in 1775, in Aomori prefecture, located in the very north of Japan's main island. This is special for two main reasons; for starters, it is one of the only Sake's we have been able to source from the North of Japan as most Sake is produced in the south in areas like Osaka, giving this Sake a more cool-climate feel. The other reason is right in the name as Tokubetsu, translated to English means special, and was a category of Sake made to fall between the standard Junmai and the higher level Ginjo's kind of like how Porche's Cayman was made to fill the gap between the 911 and the Boxter. To be able to fall into this category, there are a few requirements; the first is that the rice must be polished down to at least 60%, and for this Sake, it falls between 60%-55%. The next is that it must be made with special brewers rice, which is why Mutsu Hassen uses a cool-climate variety that is indigenous to Aomori called Hanafubuki. Hanafubuki has some of the largest grains of all Japanese varieties, producing a refreshing and pure Sake. Hanafubuki is a cross between two other heirloom varieties, Okuhomare and Fukei No. 103, with Okuhomare being related to Yamada Nishiki, the king of rice. Since its inception, this Tokubetsu has been the best seller of Mutu Hassen and is a staple from the brewery. It is a well-balanced and acid-driven Sake with a satisfying level of Umami that is aromatic, rich, and dry, winning multiple gold medals, most recently in 2019. A rare find in the US, we have some of the only bottles available in the US and the only bottles on the west coast. However, quantity is very limited, with only a few cases available, which are the last for the entire USA until the next shipment from Japan arrives, with no current ETA. This is a highly recommended bottle that shows a different side of Sake from its more northern terroir making for a delicious, fun, and educational experience for the Sake drinkers out there.