Sake tasting, or "kikisake," involves describing the color, aroma, and flavors of sake with words. It might sound intimidating, but trust me, anyone can do it by following a few simple steps.
By learning how to taste sake, you'll gain a better understanding of your personal preferences in terms of both aroma and flavor. This knowledge will come in handy when choosing sake in the future. Cheers to that!
Let's break down the tasting process into four simple steps:
Step 1: Check the color The color of sake can vary depending on the aging and production method, and each color tends to have its own distinct flavor.
Transparent...clear and easy to drink.
Lemon...you can taste the rice flavor.
Amber...aged, robust, and full-bodied.
Step 2: Smell the aroma Take a moment to identify the aroma by referring back to the previous page.
Step 3: Taste it After taking a sip, pay attention to the texture and taste of the sake. Here are some key points to consider:
Sweetness ・Acidity ・Umami
Can you sense any sweetness or refreshing coolness?
Let the sake spread in your mouth.
If you notice a slight tanginess on the edge of your tongue, it indicates acidity. Umami is a flavor that comes from the amino acids produced during fermentation. It is reminiscent of fermented foods like cheese and soy sauce.
The more amino acids, the stronger the umami, while fewer amino acids result in a milder umami flavor.
By the way, when you have sake in your mouth, try mixing it with air as if you were rolling it on your tongue.
This technique enhances the flavor and aroma, making your tasting experience even more enjoyable.
How to describe the taste:
Dry...Sake with minimal sweetness and a refreshing taste.
Sweet...Sake that has a gentle sweetness in the mouth, resembling fruit or bread. It doesn't have an overly sweet taste like juice.
Crisp, Sharp...Sake with a quickly fading aftertaste.
Light, Clean...Sake that is easy to drink with a refreshing sensation.
Aromatic, Fragrant...A delightful sake with hints of fruit, flowers, and more.
Full-bodied, Rich...Sake with multiple flavors such as sweetness, sourness, and bitterness, and a solid body.
Mellow, Savory...Sake with a rich flavor like ripe fruit or a savory taste like baked bread.
Step 4: Check the lingering taste pay attention to the aroma, taste, and lingering aftertaste that remains in your mouth after swallowing!
Do you notice any sweetness, sourness, or any other impressions different from the initial aroma? Does it have a "sharp" sensation with a short aftertaste? and so on.