We tasted a few very lovely Sake's last week, and this was a standout in this price range. We typically offer a lot of Sake that is floral and fruity, but it is not often we taste a Sake this classic. This is one of the oldest breweries we have worked with and the 3rd oldest brewery in Japan. Founded in the 1540s, Shichi Hon Yari, located in Shiga, east of Kyoto, is family-run and currently in its 15th generation of ownership. A small operation for Sake, the annual production is only around 6,000 cases. The Silent Samurai is a unique and traditional Sake style referred to as Jizake, or regional Sake.
It is made with local heirloom rice called Tamazakae, which offers a more velvety texture, richness, savory notes, and complexity. Tamazakae is excellent for making dry Sake and is a look at the immense history and culture of Sake that has developed in Japan for centuries showing that it is not all about Yamada Nishiki rice. The Silent Samurai uses the Shizuku or the drip method for filtering, which is filtered by gravity in hanging bags one droplet at a time, producing a pure and very balanced sake. As mentioned, this is a classic example that shows the rustic side of this ancient beverage and could be considered terroir-driven. The combination of the Tamazakae rice and wild yeast fermentation creates a savory and earthy sake that shows layers of mushroom, crushed shells, cedar, and white flows. The palate is rich and smooth, broadly flowing over the tongue and carrying a streak of acidity that keeps everything in balance. The savoriness brings a delicious umami experience ending on an earthy mineral note that is dry and surprisingly clean. We have been looking for Sake's that pair with more western food, and because of the savory nature of the Silent Samurai, it pairs incredibly well with mushroom risotto and rich, creamy cheeses. The Silent Samurai is a fantastic sake that explores a part of Sake that is overlooked and shows the diversity and capability of this drink and is a fun bottle to try for the Sake drinker.