Greetings Sake Lovers, welcome to another KURAND Magazine article that introduces you to the world of sake.
As the heat of the summer slowly fades and autumn approaches, the leaves on the trees change their color and the seasonal color palette adopts a distinctly more orange hue. Similar changes are mirrored in our fridges at KURAND, as the first autumn sake make their way into our lineup. Every year like clockwork, it’s around this time that our partner breweries begin to deliver their autumn sake called hiyaoroshi. If you thought natsuzake was good, just wait till you try this.
In this article we will explain what hiyaoroshi is and look in more detail at why the autumn is such an exciting season for sake.
What Does Hiyaoroshi Mean?
Perhaps you have come across this word before, perhaps not. But as you start to expand your tasting and discover more of the world of sake, it’s only a matter of time before you stumble across hiyaoroshi.
Sake has many terms that show which step in the sake brewing process the sake was bottled. This term is often found on the label alongside the name of the brand. And this is the key for understanding what hiyaoroshi is and why it tastes the way it does.
The Literal Translation
Standard sake is brewed during the winter and is pasteurized twice; once before storage and once after filtration to seal in the quality and stability (to kill the microbes, yeast and koji enzymes). As sake does not use sulfites, this is essential. Sake which has skipped pasteurization is called namazake. Namazake offers the drinker a fresher, more youthful taste.
Traditional hiyaoroshi undergoes just one pasteurization, once at the end of the winter just before it goes into storage.
Hiyaoroshi exits the storehouse after summer when the outside temperature is the same as the temperature inside the storehouse. And that’s how hiyaoroshi originally got its name. It literally means to ship at a cool temperature. This naming dates all the way back to the Edo Period.
Characteristics of Hiyaoroshi
Due to the omission of the second pasteurization, hiyaoroshi often has a comparatively fresher taste than standard sake. It is also has a distinct maturity from its maturation during the summer months. This is instead of the often rougher taste profile of freshly pressed sake. But it’s the soft mellow flavor profile that sets it apart from the other seasons and has earned it its popularity among aficionados as the number one seasonal sake. If spring sake is sake in its youth, immature and a bit rebellious, hiyaoroshi is the adult of the sake world, calmer with a more developed personality.
Sake that Evolves
The autumn sake season starts in September and runs through to November, throughout which time, the taste of hiyaoroshi goes through a number of changes. Hiyaoroshi, that hits the market in September, has had time to mature over the summer so the rough bitter taste is gone, but it tends to be a bit too mature for its own good. This becomes easier to drink as the season progresses. By the same token, hiyaoroshi on sale in November has had time to mellow out. The extra time in maturation leads to more pronounced umami (good flavor) and a richness.
Tasting the different stages of autumn sake can be a great way to discover this seasonal delight, and pairing it with similarly seasonal food adds another dimension to the experience. Samma (pacific saury) in particular pairs beautifully with hiyaoroshi.
With up to 12 types of hiyaoroshi in our 100 strong sake lineup, there is no better place to start your foray into autumn sake than KURAND. You can also bring your own food. We look forward to welcoming you soon!