Hanatomoe from Miyoshino Jozo, well-known for its bold sake with character, have been brewing sake since 1913 in Nara, arguably the birth capital of sake and also the first permanent capital of Japan from 710 to 794. More recent developments include the Yoshino Cedar Project which helped the brewery revive brewing sake in cedar barrels after a 50 year hiatus.
Teruaki Hashimoto, who graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture, is 4th generation owner and toji (master brewer) and joined the family business in 2001 after training at Japan’s oldest brewery Kenbishi Shuzo in Nada established in 1505. Miyoshino Jozo brew with traditional starters Mizumoto or Bodaimoto, which uses sour water for the starer, as well as modern ones Yamahai (short for Yamaoroshi-Haishi) and Sokujo (the fast method) along with fermenting naturally (no cultured or industrial yeasts used).
Brewed in 2014 but only released in March 2018, this 花巴 Hanatomoe still has so much potential to age. This is made with the Yamahai starter, naturally fermented using the ambient yeast in the brewery as is with all their sake. The koji rice is made with a so-haze approach (rice grains with a higher moisture content cause more enzymatic activity and create more body and flavour). With aromas of mushrooms, steamed rice and mango, it’s a robust sake with generous amounts of acidity and one that can be enjoyed at a range of temperatures.