Sake Tasting Tips

In all honesty, the best way to taste sake professionally is to eat very little for breakfast and find a cream-colored room with windows that have a northerly exposure. Then without wearing any perfumes or colognes, enter the room exactly at 10:00AM with your mind cleared of thoughts of the outside world and begin tasting.


Well that's a bit extreme, isn't it? Seriously though, there are many ways to taste sake and we have found that it is best to taste sake in an informal group and focus on between 4 to 6 sakes. We usually recommend that you compare one of each from these sake categories:

 

1. Junmai
2. Honjozo
3. Junmai Ginjo or Ginjo
4. Junmai Daiginjo or Daiginjo
5. Nama or Genshu
6. Nigori (unfiltered sake)


This gives you a representation of the range of sakes and allows you to select dryer or fruitier sakes for more specificity.


Tasting sake is a lot like tasting wine. First look at the sake. Then smell or take in the aroma of the sake. Then taste the sake in equal quantities of sips each taste. Bring the fluid into your mouth (if you can, allow some air into your mouth as well), chew the fluid, and then swallow while exhaling through your nose. Look for features such as sweet versus dry, bitter and tart, balanced, acidic, feel, start, middle, finish, aftertaste, viscosity, and the overall complexion.


Instead of focusing on the negatives focus on the positives: pull out the strengths, because professional tasters often only look for faults and that is so darn negative! Remember that sake brewing is an incredibly labor-intensive operation that is equal parts art form, production and luck, and each bottle has been lovingly crafted for your enjoyment.

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