A 24-year aging gifts Gengai with a unique and intricate blend of sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Gengai’s story begins with tragedy. Twenty four years later, from the ashes of disaster, a one-of-a-kind sake is born. Gengai - the embodiment of sake vintage.
A Sake Gift from the Heavens
1995 - The Great Hanshin Earthquake wreaks havoc on West Japan. And yet, the seeds for something great escape unharmed.
Several tanks of shubo – a fermented mash used in brewing – miraculously escape destruction. With no equipment to process it fully, a disaster-stricken brewery decides to press it into sake anyway.
At first taste, this sake was undrinkable - far too unbalanced to present to the sake drinkers of the world. Twenty four years later, however, Gengai meets its destiny. The long aging process has developed this once-unfit experiment into a complex and luxuriant sake boasting a perfect balance of sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Gengai has defied expectations - a blessing from tragedy.
Not even Gengai’s original brewer itself anticipated such an unprecedented development in flavor. Gengai’s miraculous fate is reflected in the Japanese roots of its name - “defying reality.”
Vintage Sake’s Potential
The Surprising Magic of Sake Aging
Like wine and beer, sake’s flavor profile and quality can vary greatly depending on the rice and yeast used, who is making it and where, among a plethora of other factors.
Among these factors are the changes that take place in a sake over time; the sake’s vintage. In sake aging lies the secret to unlocking its flavor potential.
Aging a sake under just the right conditions inspires chemical reactions that precipitate changes in color, flavor, complexity and depth. Long periods of aging can result in a clearer, more distinguished flavor and hue.
Aging achieves what human hands alone cannot. Much of what happens in the aging process is a mystery, yet what it produces can surprise and delight. Aging doesn’t always result in success - but when it does, it’s nothing short of miraculous.
The Embodiment of Vintage, a Flavor that Astounds
Gengai is the precious result of 24 years of aging. This aging process has produced a sake that is a rare and handsome amber in color. Recalling the sweetness of caramel and richness of bitter chocolate, Gengai’s flavor profile is further enhanced with notes of roasted almonds and spice. This complex, one-of-a-kind sake hits the palate with a wondrous blend of sweet, sour, bitter and umami and a rounded, mellow mouthfeel. A bold and rich tail lingers - a perfect, poetic finish to this aged sake’s long and miraculous story.
Gengai is a once-in-a-lifetime product, the likes of which can never be recreated. Because of this, it is available in limited quantities. Each Gengai bottle is labeled with a serial number and shipped to customers with extraordinary care.
A 300 Year-old Brewery Rooted in Sake Rice
Gengai was created by Sawanotsuru, a historic brewery in operation for over 300 years in the sake-producing district of Nada-gogo, Hyogo, Japan. With beginnings as a rice manufacturer, Sawanotsuru is staunch in its commitment to making the most of only the highest quality rice in its pursuit of excellent sake.
Sawanotsuru was additionally one of the first breweries to, beginning in the 1970s, see the potential in aging sake, producing and studying the results for over 40 years.
Pristine groundwater flowing from the Rokko mountain range, known as “miyamizu,” has, for hundreds of years, made Nada-gogo an ideal region for sake production, contributing to the area’s long-held reputation as a “sake town.” Miyamizu is perfectly suited to sake making, rich in minerals and possessing qualities that encourage yeast to thrive.
A flavor only Time itself
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