Sakes Tell Their Own Story

Kimoto Umeshu

Yeast “Today I’m going to visit Kimoto Umeshu. Hello!”
Kimoto Umeshu “Welcome, Yeast. I’m happy to see you.”
Yeast “Kimoto Umeshu, you are Daishichi’s first liqueur, aren’t you?”
Kimoto Umeshu “Yes. We had for a long time been experimenting with umeshu, and I was born in 2005, after Daishichi had obtained a liqueur license.”
Yeast “That was the time when all kinds of plum liqueurs made by sake breweries were entering the market which so far had been dominated by only a few large companies.”
Kimoto Umeshu “Yes, but most of those plum liqueurs were made on the basis of distilled spirits, like the big companies did. Daishichi aimed to create an unrivaled, top quality plum liqueur and therefore firmly decided to make it on the basis of sake. Otherwise there would be no sense for Daishichi in making umeshu.”
Yeast “I see! Had already been decided which type of sake to use?”
Kimoto Umeshu “No, we started to design the new product from the bottom up, trying out which sake would be ideally suited to plum liqueur. At the same time, we had to select the right plums.”
Yeast “The plums you use are the highest grade Nanko plums from Wakayama prefecture, aren’t they? Moreover, they are extra-large plums, 3L!”
Kimoto Umeshu “Yes, although there are also good plums in our own prefecture, Fukushima, in order to have a steady annual supply of the superior quality we needed, we opted for the largest plum producing area in Japan.”
Yeast “After deciding on the plums, finally test production could start.”
Kimoto Umeshu “Without partiality, we tried out various options, and came to the conclusion that undiluted Junmai Kimoto sake was best, as it allowed us to taste a soft richness that was new to umeshu, while also bringing out the natural deliciousness of the plums.”
Yeast “All in all, this really became a luxurious product. The price also is double the average price of umeshu.”
Kimoto Umeshu “We never thought about the price, our aim was to create the best plum liqueur ever.”
Yeast “In the case of umeshu based on distilled spirits, it’s difficult to bring the two extremes of the sourness of the plums and sweetness of the sugar together, but in the case of Kimoto Umeshu, the umami of the rich junmai sake solves that problem in a harmonious way.”
Kimoto Umeshu “Yes, the sweetness is to a certain extent suppressed and you can taste the actual juicy umami of the plums themselves.”
Yeast “As this was a completely new product, at first the shops that had to sell it will have been a bit worried.”
Kimoto Umeshu “But I was full of confidence. And we were helped by mouth-to-mouth advertising of our customers, especially women.”
Yeast “And then you won the ‘Japanese Liqueur Tasting Competition’ by a large margin! That’s when your popularity really took off.”
Kimoto Umeshu “I’m happy that I could contribute to opening up a real top level market for umeshu and to broadening the possibilities of liqueurs.”
Yeast “After that, you were four years in a row first at the ‘Japanese Liqueur Tasting Competition’ and also at the Liqueur Section of the Great Jizake Show. By getting three Platinum Prizes in a row, you were the first to enter the Hall of Fame.”
Kimoto Umeshu “Thanks to you all! I am not only popular in Japan, but French and other European restaurants with three Michelin stars use me as a dessert wine.”
Yeast “That’s great news! Please tell us finally how we should drink umeshu.”
Kimoto Umeshu “First, try me straight. Then try me in crushed ice, or with carbonated water. And something special: in some traditional Japanese restaurants, I’m served slightly warmed. That’s just as delicious as hot lemon juice.”
Yeast “That’s great fun. Thank you for today.”