“Cask sake”

The name for seishu shipped and sold in wooden taru casks. As a result, ki-ga (木香), the smell of the Japanese cedar wood of the container, is transferred to the sake, and this is primarily responsible for the style’s particular flavour and aromatic characteristics. The casks have a spigot hole, and some bars and restaurants serve taru-zake directly from this opening in the cask.

Sake which is bottled after a period stored in casks is also called taru-zake. Sake which can be so labeled is defined by the Standard for Seishu Production, Quality and Labeling as “seishu which has the aroma of wood (ki-ga) following a period of storage in a wooden cask, including that which has been re-packaged in bottles or other containers”.

In the days when casks where used to transport sake, they were carried by boat from producing areas like Nada and Itami to the great marketplace of Edo (now Tokyo). As a result, taru-zake was a synonym for sake in Edo.

It is generally held to be best drunk cold, but may be drunk at room temperature or above according to preference. When heated, it is usually said to be best lightly heated to around 40-45°C.