Murai Family “Sugidama” Junmai Ginjo Sake

By Raul Faria

The Murai Family’s Sugidama Junmai Ginjo Sake is both lush and dry, with an oily, weighty mouthfeel yet still maintains a light, clean, astringent dry finish. Contradictory I know but let me explain. First on the nose I get lots of ripe pineapple, banana and tropical fruits. Pretty standard Junmai stuff there now when we taste it however that’s when this stuff gets pretty cool for me. At first you get a quick lush, weighty water mouthfeel that seems to have a slight oily trait, immediately after you get the flavors of dry pear and dragonfruit. Now the fun part is that the flavor takes an immediate 180 and reveals a crisp clean, astringent and dry finish. So starts lush and fruity for a few fleeting seconds then dries right out. Really fun! Try something new and substitute this for your favorite dry Sauvignon Blanc.

Wondering what the “Sugidama” in the names means? It is the cedar ball that hangs outside of the Kura (sake brewery), Pubs and Sake shops. The Sugidama itself is made from the needles of the “Sugi” or cedar tree. These were traditionally hung in front of the Kura in the fall. The Sugidama would begin bright green and after a few months would turn brown. This would signify that the sake inside was ready to drink, although this was more than likely symbolic as I really don’t see a Toji (brewmaster) allowing a ball of cedar needles telling them what to do. Interested in picking up a bottle of Murai Family “Sugidama” Junmai Ginjo Sake head over to and if you want to know more about Sake traditions or pretty much everything about Sake check out John Gautner’s blog



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