I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
After the first sip, I understood why this elixir has been dubbed maboroshi no sake—the elusive, phantasmagoric sake of dreams.
Feted at the height of the craft sake craze in the 1960s, all aficionados are familiar with Koshi no Kanbai.
As if a whispered incantation, the legendary name became synonymous with quality sake at a time when authenticity was in scarce supply.
Produced by Ishimoto Shuzo in Niigata Prefecture, Koshi no Kanbai originated as something of an anomaly.
Bucking the era’s predilection for predominantly rich, sweet sake, Koshi no Kanbai presented a refreshingly clean, light alternative.
During the war years, rice shortages led many breweries to stretch their allotted rations with a diluted, bottom-barrel sake known as sanzoshu.
Perhaps desperate times call for desperate measures.
Nonetheless, Ishimoto Shuzo refused to modify their process or serve an inferior product.
Through sheer integrity and determination, they continued bottling real sake throughout the war.
After all, the uncompromising craftsman would sooner sacrifice volume if it meant remaining true to his vision.
Sake of this caliber is meant to be slowly savored, but I find myself greedily gulping glass after glass.
An invigorating wave courses through my veins, filling the pit of my stomach with a fire to live.
Should you be fortunate enough to cross paths with Koshi no Kanbai, the encounter is not one you are likely to forget.
Seek and ye shall find.