Compared with a crisp and clear nihonshu, at first glance nigorizake can often seem impenetrably exotic to sake newbies. Yet from the first sip, the tempting sweetness is quick to win over many sceptics. And it’s not hard to see why such a flavour profile proves so pleasing to Western palates.
What follows are some tasting notes of my own, as I open an ice-cold bottle of Kuncho Shuzo’s Nigori offering. The traditional-style brewery (based in Oita Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu and founded in 1703), have previously astounded me with both their no-nonsense junmai and beautifully bright honjozo sake. With high expectations, boosted by the knowledge that this nigori is both a nama (unpasteurised) and a genshu (undiluted), I’m almost certain that I’m in for a Saturday night delight here!
Ivory-coloured, opaque body, which leaves a smattering of rice particles on the walls of the glassware on swirling.
Powerfully fragrant sweet rice aroma, with a base breadiness, and just a waft of ethanol, indicative of the undiluted alcohol content.
Full-bodied, syrupy mouth-feel. The palate is led by intense, but pleasant, bubblegum-sweet booziness. There is a long, milky finish; both indulgent and moreish. No need for ice cream or cheesecake, this alone is the perfect after-dinner treat!
Indeed, the casual sweet-toothed consumer is likely to find a certain satisfaction in most nigorizake. Yet, Kuncho Shuzo has once again delivered a particularly delicious product, sprung ahead of competition by its nama genshu qualities. And good news for those who do find the 20% ABV a little too intoxicating; the brewery’s own website recommends drinking over ice.
Kuncho Nigori rides a positively paradoxical wave of being both luxuriously creamy and incredibly easy to drink at the same time. Overall, a highly recommended taste indulgence at a very reasonable price.