These tremendously famous lines are from the “Tale of the Heike”, the epic poem of the 12th Century Genpei War. The Buddha died surrounded by sal (also sometimes called sala or shala) trees. One of each pair is said to have withered in sorrow at his passing, their flowers turning as white as cranes’ wing and falling to cover his deathbed. In the Tale of the Heike, the abrupt way the tree’s flowers change colour is used as a metaphor for the transience and impermanence of all worldly things.
Sake is also a shifting, transient creation. Long known as the “art of temperature”, the outcome of sake brewing depends largely on skillful temperature control during every process. In the days before thermometers, brewing took place literally at the intuitive hands of veteran tōji, registering minute shifts in temperature. Their skills were passed down through the generations. Unlike other arts such as music and the visual arts, sake cannot be preserved for later generations to enjoy. It is for the very reason that it is destined to be consumed that we strive for immutable excellence, and to create sake that is uniquely and unmistakably ours alone.
Made 100% with what is said to be Japan’s finest brewing rice, Yamada Nishiki from a “Special A” growing region of Hyogo Prefecture.