Polish rate: 70%
Before the main fermentation, the brewer must first prepare a starter mash known as the shubo or ‘Mother of Sake’ which is known colloquially as the moto. In the usual sake fermentation process, the moto goes through a 3 step fermentation process (sandan jikomi). The Moto + 1 is an Akishika method whereby the mash only ferments once (ichidan jikomi), resulting in a brew that has residual sweetness and acidity. The combination of this method and the yamahai brewing process, together with 5 years of aging results in a sake that is similar to port or sherry.
Akishika Shuzo was founded in the town of Nose (No-say) in Osaka prefecture in 1886. 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.
Oko-san's sakes typically have layers upon layers of flavor and a moreish streak of acidity. Some are held back to develop for years until he believes they’re in perfect drinking condition. Sake from Akishika Shuzo have a cult status in Japan, so when Akishika does release sake, they sell out exceptionally quickly. We are lucky to get our hands on a few bottles.