Tengumai takes its name from the "tengu," the long-nosed goblins of Japanese folklore. The brewery was surrounded by lush forests whose rustling foliage reminded him of dancing tengu. This sake has an amber hue with a unique, almost mushroom-like aroma that beautifully complements its earthy tones. You can almost see the forests in your mind's eye.
Shata, the brewer at Tengumai, is a specialist in the Yamahai method. Yamahai is a traditional method of propagating yeast in the base mash during sake brewing. Modern sake brewing uses artificial lactic acid bacteria to efficiently cultivate the yeast, but the Yamahai method harnesses the power of the natural bacteria that live in the brewhouse. This natural process risks spoiling the mash during the process, so it requires a lot of experience and skill on the part of the brewer. Yamahai sake tends to have a robust flavor with acidity and a hint of bitterness.
- One of the factors contributing to the flavor of Tengumai is the water from Hakusan. It takes nearly 100 years for the snow that falls on the local Hakusan mountains to seep into the ground and then gush out as underground water. The meltwater absorbs many nutrients and minerals from the trees and soil in the mountains, and these drops are processed into Tengumai sake.
-This Junmai Yamahai is made from 60 % polished Goyhakumangoku with a bold, full-bodied, impressive flavor.
-At Tengumai, most products are first aged in the sake brewery and then bottled some time later.
When sake is made from high quality rice and water, then carefully brewed and aged, it acquires a golden color. Striving to produce a sake that reflects the authentic flavor of the rice, the use of activated charcoal, which can change the color of the sake, is avoided.
In addition, the production of Kōji rice uses a method that produces more mold spores than other sake breweries. In this way, even freshly brewed sake gets a golden color from the Kōji.
The brewers try to preserve the natural color of the sake.