Having recently completed creating the Japanese Collection brochure, it initially presented itself as the perfect opportunity to delve into a category that admittedly I didn’t know too much about.
An opportune moment to discover that sake was a face cringing strong spirit akin to sambuca and that Japanese whisky was a pale imitation of Scotch. Well actually no, and boy was I wrong, my embarrassingly high level of ignorance combined with a lack of experience in tasting these fine liquids was quickly dismissed and replaced with admiration and a thirst for more.
Sake, unfortunately, is so very often misunderstood, certainly by myself. It is made from fermented rice and is often mistaken as a rice wine but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The way sake is made is quite unlike anything else and is more like beer than anything but certainly not in taste (check out the brochure for more detail). I was surprised to find the tasting notes are as vast and offer as much complexity as wine, you can have a sake that tastes like melon, such as Akashi-Tai Daiginjo, to ones that tastes like apple or plum such as Akashi-Tai Shiraume Umeshu. There is even a sparkling sake, the Akashi-Tai Junmai Ginjo Sparkling Sake!
The refined taste of purity in sake really amazed me, the image that is often depicted by Hollywood is one of drunk Japanese men slumped over tables, implying it is strong. This isn’t what I was presented with when tasting, which is what contributed to my warped expectation of an intense fist clinching, toe curling shot; It is light, subtle and anything from 7-17% ABV. I implore you to go and try some, try something different, embrace a drink deeply rooted in a delicate and beautiful culture, you just don’t know what you might find!