Cloudy Dreams

The final component of our Tsuru-Ume collection, the Ume Kanjuku Nigori is known for its sweet and tart character, along with a refreshing acidic finish. Located in the Wakayama Prefecture, Heiwa Shuzo uses the local Nankubai plum to give this liqueur additional texture. Although the brewery was founded in 1928, it was not until 1957 when sake production commenced full-time. The team is blessed with ideal brewing conditions, as the shuzo sits on the site of a former temple in a beautiful mountain valley. As a result of this pristine location, Heiwa Shuzo is privy to heavy amounts of rainfall, producing an endless supply of quality soft spring water. This gentle, lush water is known as Koyasan Nansui, named after the Koyasan temple (a world heritage site) where it flows down from. The shuzo originally gained massive popularity both in Japan and overseas due to its “KID” brand of sake but has followed it up quite nicely with their niche Tsuru Ume and Pocket Sake lines. The only sake brewery to have ever gone back-to-back [2019 & 2020] in the sake portion of the International Wine Challenge, I was curious to learn why Heiwa Shuzo was held to such a high standard.

Following brewery recommendations, I opted to try this seasonal Kanjuku Nigori over ice with a few splashes of sparkling water. Heiwa Shuzo’s website also suggests this beverage can be enjoyed chilled or on the rocks by itself. This ume nigori is truly one of a kind, and its delightful ume [Japanese plum] aroma and character dominated my taste buds upon taking those first few sips. The pulp from the macerated Nankobai fruit contributes to a gorgeous full body that melts on your tongue before washing away via an invigorating acidic finish. This sake draws very few comparisons because it is so niche; the team at Heiwa Shuzo does a beautiful job of balancing that strong ume taste with a sweet and tart taste profile. Surprisingly, this limited Kanjuku Nigori is pairable with many a cuisine. The brewery advocates matching this brew with soft cheeses, grilled chicken or sweet and sour pork to name a few options.

Much like its Tsuru-Ume counterparts, the Tsuru-Ume Kanjuku Nigori comes in a fashionable see-through bottle, highlighting the enthralling pulpy liquid that rests inside. A beautiful and velvety pink label dominates the face of the bottle, making it quite the piece to admire and show off on your bar top. If you’re in the market for a new type of sake, or looking to try an ume-dominant brew, look no further than this Kanjuku NigoriHeiwa Shuzo is one of the most highly decorated sake breweries in the world and they hit the jackpot yet again with this incredible plum infused sake.

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