Kikuhime - World Class Sake Now Available in CA and NY

UPDATE: We have partnered with Skurnik Wines to distribute Kikuhime in the states they cover, including NY, NJ and CA. It will be available starting Nov 1.

In the meantime, if you are interested in trying these sake, please speak to your favorite local retailers and restaurants and let them know you’d like them to order! The reps in NY, NJ and CA have been given the heads up about this sake, and have been told to expect expressions of interest. Reps in OH, IN and KY will be filled in in coming weeks.

We’re very excited to be expanding availability! Responses so far have been fantastic.

As always, feel free to PM or email with questions.


Hello Fellow Berserkers!

I am so excited to let you know that, after what seems like forever, but was actually only about 5 years, my husband’s project to import a small amount of ultra-premium sake from the Kikuhime Brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan has finally come to fruition! The timing couldn’t have been worse for us, with all the restaurants and the PA Liquor Control Board shutting down just as we took our first delivery (fear not, the sake has been sitting safe and sound in the walk-in fridge we built for this purpose), but the Special Order system is now back up and running, and the sake is available for purchase.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is currently only available for sale in PA. You can place orders online or call your local PLCB location – these are not bottles that sit on the shelf. For those of you who don’t live in, visit, or have friends in PA, we are working on getting further distribution set up in the near future, including stores in states which can ship legally. It’s a little warm to ship to the far corners even of PA right now, but for the general vicinity of Philly, we’ll make sure bottles get to the chosen PLCB location safely.

Unfortunately, the information on the PLCB website is minimal, so I have taken the liberty of pasting in below some more details on the brewery and the bottlings currently on offer. Please note that these are truly special and unusual (well, I certainly think so), and command prices well above that of many sakes. These are also highly sought after by fine sushi restaurants. The “big gun” bottle, the Kukurihime, has been spotted at bar/Masa and at Sushi Nakazawa, where it lists for $3600! I promise you – even the PLCB has it for less than that. :wink:

I am happy to answer questions here in this thread or via PM/email, though if they get too technical, I may have to refer things to my husband.

Thank you for reading. I hope some of you will get to try these soon! The Library releases are made only for one store in Tokyo, and can be found no where in the world except that store and here.

Kikuhime bottles.jpg
Product : Kikuhime Yamahai Ginjo Genshu 720ml
Annual Production: 500
Alc by Vol: 18.5%
Some information from English back label: "Kikuhime (“Chrysanthemum Princess”) Brewery first
opened over 400 years ago in 1570 in the Ishikawa prefecture. The brewery draws its water from
the nearby Hakusan Mountain and uses only Yamada-nishiki sake rice sourced from the few fields in
Hyogo that consistently produce the highest grade. In keeping with its uncompromising standards,
Kikuhime releases its sake only when they deem it ready, typically waiting anywhere from several
months up to and beyond an almost unheard of 10 years.

Kikuhime specializes in the Yamahai method of sake, and has become a benchmark for the
style. Yamahai is a traditional, painstaking and time consuming method utilizing a slowly built
starter rather than fast-acting yeast a method rare in modern sake production. The result of this time
and effort is the deep funky flavor, big boned structure and bright acidity that are the hallmark of This complex, dry, powerful sake is an exciting departure from more familiar light and
clean flavors, and is able to pair beautifully with an unusually broad range of foods, including meats,
curries, and fried dishes”.

Product : Kikuhime Yamahai Ginjo Genshu (LIBRARY RELEASE) 720ml
This Library Release shipment is from Heisei 16, which is in the Japanese calendar for 2004… so
about 16 years old at release.
Annual Production: 500
Alc by Vol: 18.5%

This rare Library Release has been carefully aged for 15 years before release. This supple, powerful
and dry sake has complex and funky notes of banana, earth, melon and nuts. With its large-scale
structure and mellow complexity from significant aging this sake is a big departure from sake
available most anywhere in the world. It can pair beautifully with an unusually broad range of foods,
including meats, curries, and fried dishes.”

Product : Kikuhime B.Y. Daiginjo 720ml
Annual Production: 2000
Alc by Vol: 17.5%

The B.Y., or Brewery Year, is aged for one year before release in June every year. This complex,
bold and dry sake has the fresh melon notes associated with sake of high polish rates, but there is
much more to it than that. With its big boned structure and chewy texture it is on the other end of the
spectrum for daiginjo sake and as a result It can pair beautifully with a broader range of foods than
simply prepared fish and vegetables.”

Product: Kikuhime B.Y. Daiginjo (LIBRARY RELEASE) 720ml
This Library Release shipment is from Heisei 20, which is in the Japanese calendar for 2008… so
about 12 years old at release.
Annual Production: 2000
Alc by Vol: 17.5%

Normally the B.Y., or Brewery Year, is aged for one year before release in June every year. This
rare Library Release has been carefully aged for a decade before release. This supple, bold and dry
sake has complex notes melon, nuts and earth, lots going on. With its big boned structure and mellow
complexity from a further decade of age this sake is a big departure from sake available most
anywhere in the world. It can pair beautifully with a broader range of foods than simply prepared
fish and vegetables.”

Product : Kikuhime Yamahai Ginjo Genshu Origarami 720ml (Lightly Cloudy)
Annual Production: 100
Alc by Vol: 18.5%

This complex and versatile sake is made in the Origarami style whereby a small
amount of fine rice particulate remains in the bottle. The particulate is not as coarse as with cloudy
Nigori sake and so it is referred to as Hazy. This is a truly dynamic and exciting sake that is able to
pair beautifully with an unusually broad range of foods and is particularly well matched to spicier
foods like Szechuan cuisine.”

A very small quantity is also available in 1800ml

Product : Kikuhime “Kukurihime” Daiginjo 720ml - PLCB HAS FIXED THE LISTING, SO IT NOW SAYS KUKURIHIME.
Alc by Vol: 17.5%

This deeply complex, supple and dry sake takes its name from the goddess of Hakusan
Mountain, Kukurihime, where the brewery draws its water. It has been aged and mellowed for at
least 10 years before release in very limited quantity and represents the pinnacle of sake making at


Sarah is there a way to buy this? Prices?

Or it has to be through the PA liquor website?
Am I misreading this? Haha

Sorry my post is so long - buried somewhere in it is that you can buy online or by calling your local PLCB store. It’s only in PA right now. Prices range from ~$90 to ~$125, with the Kukurihime being a lot more. PLCB puts a large margin on top. I do not know what prices will eventually be in other states.

:smiley: Thanks Sarah.
Ok dumb question time… how come we can’t just paypal you and have you ship it to people outside of PA (like on the CC forum)?

does PLCB ship out of state?

No. It sucks, but no.

Because he is a licensed importer and this is a legal, taxed business and we’re not going to break the law before we’ve even made our first sale - especially after discussing it on an open online forum!

best of luck with this new venture Sarah.
I will order some and purchase when I know when I will visit PA.
Do these need to stay at cool temps like the namazake do?

Thanks Suzanne!

All sake is better stored at refrigerator temp, in our opinion, though some disagree. It’s not like nama, which really does have to be refrigerated, but I would certainly recommend it if at all possible. Why take any risk? That’s why we built a walk-in fridge for the sake rather than just putting it in the wine cellar even.

That said, we’ve carried plenty of bottles of non-nama Kikuhime home from Japan in our luggage and it was seemingly undamaged.

Congratulations! Thanks for the update; I’ve been waiting. I am lucky (?) to be in PA. Similar to Suzanne’s question above - how concerned should I be with the PLCB shipping my SLO order within the State in summer heat?

Thanks so much, Kevin!

The PLCB actually doesn’t ship your order anywhere. It’s up to the supplier (in this case Epicurean Selection, aka Jonathan) to get it to the requested store. Depending on where that store is, the supplier will either ship it, or drive it there. Suzanne is coming to Philly, I know, so we’ll just run her bottles over to whichever location in town she requests, taking care with temps the whole way. If you are reasonably close to Philadelphia, that’s probably how we’d get it to your store. If a customer is in Pittsburgh, though, we have to ship it, and I certainly would hate to do that in summer heat. I’d think about it just like wine, but then put it in your fridge when you get it home.

If this all sounds stupid, it is. A group just sued the PLCB - and WON - over being able to deliver SLO orders directly to the buyer. Of course, the PLCB has appealed, mostly because they can’t bear to lose or look dumb, since it costs them nothing and actually saves their employees time if direct delivery is allowed.

Congratulations! You know I will be buying!

Thanks, Robert! We are so excited for you and Renee to try these and to hear your thoughts.

Congratulations! This sounds SO interesting. I’m sure it took a lot of work to get to where you two are with it, not least with the PLCB (they have fully earned their reputation, many times over). I hope you’re able to get distribution in some other states with partners who will care for the product. A lot of small breweries seem to be doing well in terms of making sure their products stay refrigerated. That’s with very limited distribution where they can check on things themselves, though. Of course, many of us know wine can be a very different story (not that it needs full refrigeration, but in terms of temperature control).

Haha makes sense! Best of luck!!

Very cool. Please keep us informed when other states become available for purchasing.

Super cool, Kikuhime makes great sake and your library releases are things to get really excited about!! Obviously I won’t be able to get any of those but I wish you the best. I support any initiative to bring good sake to the world :slight_smile:

Kikuhime makes very robust and age worthy sake (as the library releases sugest) . Obviously the distributor should go the extra mile and keep everything refrigerated but buyers don’t need to. These sake will keep perfectly for several years in a standard wine cellar, especially the aged ones and the B.Y.

Wow, those are some awesome bottles. Hoping those of us on the West Coast will be able to buy soon.

Great input, Gautier, thank you. It’s wonderful to hear from someone who knows Kikuhime and agrees on how special they are. I know Kikuhime has a good presence in France, and our friend Yukiko from the Tokyo shop I mentioned, the shop for which the library releases are made, travels to France regularly to spread the word.

This is amazing. Bravo. I just wish I could buy some. Hopefully soon!