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Aged sake

Many sake are stored for six months to a year after brewing, but sake stored for longer than that is called “koshu” (aged sake). Like other aged spirits, sake tends to develop a more mellow, rounded and richer flavor profile as it matures. You can generally expect earthy, umami flavors, perhaps with a hint of sweetness like brown sugar or burnt honey. Koshu can also take on a more amber color.

Yano “Umami” Aged Kimoto Junmai is a textbook example of koshu sake, with its beautiful dark gold hue and tasting notes of mushroom and chestnut. Aged for 12 years and made with 99% rice koji, Kanbara “Ancient Treasure” is a testament to the robust character and complex flavors sake can develop over time. An interesting exception to the color rule is Hakkaisan “Yukimuro,” a super creamy, smooth sake that owes its translucence to being aged in a frigid snow room for three years.

If you enjoy red wine or Scotch, koshu is for you. When thinking about food pairing, consider the same meals you might enjoy with those beverages. As with other aged spirits, koshu can have a slightly higher price point; at Tippsy, up to $125.

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