Yamauchi Kiyoko Gets Personal with Her Drink with “Late Night Sake Reviews”


This is a unique sake book that not only introduces Kiyoko Yamauchi’s favorite sake. The review includes helpful tips such as good pairings and, more importantly, gives readers a glimpse into the modern revolution of traditional Japanese drinks.

50 brand honest reviews

“The core idea of ​​this book is that I drank and wrote it all myself, without prior consent from the 50 breweries,” says author Kiyoko Yamauchi. she’s been a drinker since she was 22, she’s been a drinker for over 20 years wrote Yofuke no shuhyō In (Late Night Sake Reviews), the subtitle (Ai to dokudan no nihonshu gensen 50) said:

holder Kikisake-shi With a license similar to that of a sake sommelier, she visits sake breweries and bars across the country and writes articles.The result appears in previous works such as Itsumo, nihonshu no koto bakari (I Always Think About Sake) etc.

For this latest creation, she independently selected and reviewed 50 brands. Her interviews mean she has many connections, Kuramoto— the owner of the brewery — she deliberately avoided contacting them about this job. In other words, instead of getting a bottle directly from the brewery, they actually went to a street corner such as a liquor store, department store, supermarket, or station kiosk, bought the label themselves, and enjoyed tasting it themselves.

All the sakes reviewed are widely available throughout Japan. So, the biggest feature of this book is that it ignores the brewer’s wishes and picks up 50 brands that left an impression in his life. As a result, her commentary is both sweet and slightly spicy.

sparkling sake

The term “sake” is a protected geographical indication and its definition stipulates that it must use rice grown in Japan and must be produced exclusively in Japan. Sake grown outside of Japan or made from rice produced outside of Japan is strictly prohibited from using sake labels.

Sake is brewed using rice and water from various parts of Japan under the influence of the four seasons. “Sake is made up of about 700 constituent elements,” says Mr. Yamauchi. People can drink it at temperatures ranging from 5 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.

Currently, about 1,200 breweries are engaged in sake brewing nationwide. What criteria did she use to narrow down the huge variety of drinks to just her 50?The author says, “I want to write this! After I taste it.”

Atsukan International Sake Day on October 1st is especially delicious. (©Nobumichi Izumi)

This book is arranged by book review, headlines, sake label names, ratings—Junmai Ginjo, HonjozoFor example, the state of origin is displayed before the body of each review. The compact data set included after each review is a particularly welcome addition.

The data includes how to enjoy (how to drink, recommended pairing), recommended temperature range, barometer, etc. The barometer section is the author’s original idea, visually displaying his five elements in a pentagonal plot. Luxury reflects the level of large, elegant aromas and rich flavors. Flexibility reflects the ease of combination with food and the range of acceptable temperatures. Richness is the depth of flavor. Daily drinkability reflects whether the drink will serve as a companion to your daily meal. Barometer is a measure of the persistence and flavor weight of a drink.

Breweries driving the sake revolution

Sake peaked in production in 1973, when there were over 3,300 breweries in Japan. Since then, production has plummeted in half a century and is now less than a third of its high, but over the past decade or so a new generation of young brewers with innovative and exciting brewing ideas has emerged. has entered the industry.

Sake breweries in Japan used to be forbidden to women, but Mr. Yamauchi has built a relationship of trust with them. In 2015 she published her book Kura o tsugu About 5 young rising stars in the industry (inheriting the brewery). This latest book also includes some of the same leaders in the sake revolution, as well as representatives of a different trend. Owner and brewer. The leading role of the brewing site of the sake brewery is tojiand some of the breweries featured in these reviews are run by young brewers who have both toji task and Kuramoto Business management responsibility.

I am enjoying the moment when Japanese sake is in the limelight of the world due to the Japanese food boom. The story of the revolutionary leaders of the same generation as the author is worth reading.

Memories of a drunken father

Mr. Yamauchi does not stop at introducing 50 brands, but skillfully incorporates the history and wisdom of sake into his works.She also cares about bottle labels and containers for drinking, like cans. chirori pitcher, modern glass, traditional Sakazuki cup. By writing this book, the author seems to have arrived at the idea that sake is not just delicious. It’s charming.

Sake bottles and large tin sake cups go well with cold sake.  (©Nobumichi Izumi)
Tokkuri flask and large sake Tin cups go well with cold sake. (©Nobumichi Izumi)

The reviews collected here could be described as stylish essays. We highly recommend reading the entire book for a deeper look, but here are the first and last brands we reviewed.

The first bite of the book is, so to speak, Shishi no Sato in Ishikawa Prefecture. The headline reads, “The first sake that changed my life,” and Yamauchi explains that it was her introduction to the true joy of sake. According to the data, it goes well with white-fleshed fish, sashimi, and western dishes with herbs, so it is recommended to drink it chilled. Barometer scores very highly on the Daily Linkability Scale.

Lastly, Tsurujun Shimehari from Niigata prefecture. Appeared under the title “Sake with family ties”. The text of the review concludes with a loving remembrance and dedication to the author’s late father, who loved this as his daily drink. According to the data, “salt salmon, especially from Murakami City” is recommended for pairing. Recommended drinking temperature is chilled or room temperature. The barometer, of course, gives this sake full marks for its daily drinkability.

Yofuke no shuhyō: Ai to dokudan no nihonshu gensen 50

Yofuke no shuhyō: Ai to dokudan no nihonshu gensen 50

By Yamauchi Kiyoko
Published by Eastpress in October 2022
ISBN: 978-4-7816-2120-3



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