“Hizame-ka” (literally, “cooled-off smell”)

Seishu is pasteurized before storage by heating it rapidly to about 65°C to kill off micro-organisms and stop the activity of remaining enzymes. Hizame-ka is the name for a peculiar smell arising when sake cools after pasteurization. It occurs because of the de-activation of enzymes and micro-organisms in the sake because of heating.

This smell is different from the pleasant aromas of shinshu, or those developed during the ageing process. Arising during the storage period, it gives a rather unpleasant, sweet-and-sour impression. Although it can be detected during storage for a little while after pasteurizing, it eventually disappears in the course of maturation.