A sake for all occasions

With its fresh flavour and dry finish, Izumi’s Nama-Cho sake is a treat for your tastebuds.

By now, dedicated sake lovers will have made their way to the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company in Toronto’s Distillery District and sampled Izumi’s renowned sake line. However, even the most knowledgeable of the city’s sake connoisseurs may not have realized just how lucky Toronto is to play host to Izumi. The company not only represents the sole sake brewery in eastern Canada and the United States but also specializes in namazake, a type of unpasteurized sake that is very difficult to import from Japan.

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The purest of sake

Namazake takes its name from the Japanese nama, meaning “raw” or “fresh.” Izumi’s Nama- Nama sake is, literally, sake in its purest, most complex and flavourful form. But the trade-off for all that flavour is that unpasteurized sake must be kept refrigerated, which can present sig- nificant transportation and storage challenges. It also explains why Izumi sake hasn’t been regularly stocked in local liquor shops—until now, that is.

Luckily for sake seekers, Izumi has come up with the perfect solution in the form of Nama-Cho, a single-pasteurized sake that is the first Izumi product to be made available at the LCBO. Traditionally, sake is doubly pasteurized, which causes the fruity flavours of the sake to drop out, leaving a drier spirit. In Nama-Cho, Izumi has perfectly combined the sweet, fresh, melon-like notes of their Nama-Nama sake with the smoother feel and dry finish of a pasteurized drink.

Serving suggestions

Like most sakes, Nama-Cho delivers a different flavour experience depending on how it is served. If you prefer your sake fruity, serve your Nama-Cho chilled. If you like a nuttier sake, heat up Nama-Cho and you’ll discover warm, earthier notes that harken back to its origins from koji, the seemingly magical spores so integral to transforming steamed rice into delicious sake. This changeable quality allows you to perfectly pair the same Nama-Cho with different dishes for different occasions, depending on whether you serve it warmed or chilled.

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A truly unique brew

And that’s just the beginning of the flavour adventure that Izumi promises to sake lovers. Due to the nature of the brewing process, each new batch of sake is unique from the last—a fact that Izumi celebrates by clearly numbering their batches. Though the base character of the sake that we all love remains unchanged, each batch can surprise an attentive drinker with new tasting notes. The Nama-Cho you try today and the Nama-Cho you drink in six months’ time will be close but not identical. Curious? Consider picking up a bottle and savouring the sake experience this weekend.


 

Warm your spirits

Searching for the perfect sake to complement Canada’s chilly season?

Pair Nama-Cho with your favourite Japanese comfort foods and warm up from the inside out this winter.

  1. Whereas Izumi’s Nama-Nama is the sake of summer—best served chilled with raw fish—Nama-Cho is the one that will to get you through the cold Canadian winter.
  2. Nama-Nama can feel tart and citrusy on the tongue, but Nama-Cho’s single pasteurization imparts a mellower feel and flavour. Soft and sweet at first taste, it’s followed by a wonderfully nutty, dry finish.
  3. Though delicious on ice, Nama-Cho pairs excellently with warm winter comfort foods when heated. Try pairing a glass with a steaming bowl of oden or nabe, or indulge in warm sips as you enjoy guilty pleasures like kara-age.