Sake Hundred Gengai
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Sake Hundred Gengai: One of the World’s Rarest Sakes Just Released for $3,100

Sake Hundred Gengai, a new, supremely allocated release of 27-year-old sake, is set to retail for $3,100 a bottle. That steep price isn’t simply on account of its incredible age. Before a scotch can ever be labeled as such, it must spend a minimum of three years resting in oak casks. Among ultra-premium single malts, that resting period is often counted in decades. For high-end sake drinkers, however, the concept of maturation is a more complicated one.

The famed rice wine of Japan is most commonly aged for roughly six months before bottling. But there is a style of sake called koshu (“old sake”), which tends to be preferred by some discerning palates. If aged properly, the liquid can take on an elaborate, savory sort of roundness, which you won’t detect in its younger counterparts.

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Such is the case with Sake Hundred Gengai. It’s the debut American release from the Japanese brand, founded by noted drinks connoisseur and publisher Ryuji Ikoma. His stated mission is to elevate the category’s stature by sourcing and bottling ultra-rare and premium iterations, which brings us to his inaugural release.

Bottle of Sake Hundred Gengai with glass
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Sake Hundred Gengai is a one-of-a-kind liquid that was actually discovered by accident. In 1995, the Sawanotsuru Brewery in Hyogo was destroyed by the devastating Kobe earthquake. Unfinished sake was left on-site in a tank—forgotten and left untouched until 2020.

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What emerged from this unintentional slumber was a liquid with unrivaled complexity: bittersweet threads of caramel and cacao nibs emerge at the forefront, eventually swirling amidst rich umami in a mellow, slowly fading finish.

One man pouring bottle of Sake Hundred Gengai into another man's glass
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“Gengai is the epitome of vintage sake and a beautiful reminder that even unthinkable disaster can give birth to once-in-a-lifetime greatness,” says Ikoma. “When searching for the perfect sakes to launch our brand, I couldn’t have imagined discovering such a rare sake with a story of unimaginable resilience and fortitude. It’s a lesson I keep with me as I work to build a new category for sake in Japan and beyond.”

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Only 500 bottles of Gengai are available globally. And you can now find it on shelves here in the U.S. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

[$3,100; sakehundred.com]

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