Dassai Amazake is made from koji rice with no added sugar.
It is made from the king of sake rice: Yamada Nishiki, polished down to 50% of the original grain size.
The rice grade is a non-standard "Togai" grade. It is important for Dassai to not waste resources and better: to make something great out of it.
What is "Togai"? Like edible rice, there are different grades of sake rice. Sake rice is often referred to as "Special grade A" in the Japanese language and the rice used to make sake, such as the "Uonuma Koshihikari Special grade A".
Dassai is a premiumJunmai Daiginjosake, and there is a rule in Japan stating that the rice for Junmai Daiginjo sake must be of high quality: third grade or higher. However, when farmers grow Yamada-Nishiki rice, about 5% to 10% of the rice harvested does not meet the criteria for Dassai.
The fact is, we ask farmers who have never grown Yamada-Nishiki before to grow Yamada-Nishiki for us. Many of the farmers have worked hard to produce better rice for us, through trial and error. So we cannot possibly tell them that we can't buy all their rice, in face of their efforts, in face of the risks they are taking.
Therefore, in order to fulfill our role of sake producer, to make sure to craft a great sake with all the Yamada Nishiki produced for us, we craft sake different from the usual Dassai.