Sake made from soft water tends to pick up subtle flavor nuances that are not detectable in the crisp, dry sakes made from mineral-rich hard water. At the ginjo level they are multi-layered and complex, and it is not always easy to describe their qualities in words.
Kokuryu is perhaps the most famous among the soft-water breweries of Japan. Its water is drawn from the subterranean flow of of Kuzuryugawa (Nine-Headed Dragon River), famed since ancient times for its delicious taste. Kokuryu’s founder, Nizaemon Ishidaya, built the original brewery in 1804 in the vicinity of Eihei-ji, the main temple of the Soto Zen sect. Nizaemon’s descendants have been making sake there ever since. Kokukryu labels resound with deep flavor, but what makes them unique is their overall finesse.