Four Types of Sake Taste
Tastes of sake can be defined as sweet or dry by using the index called nihonshu-do (sake meter values): the larger the negative number, the sweeter the sake: the larger the positive number, the drier the sake. They can also be defined as light and rich. Furthermore, for the better understanding of tastes, the Sake Service Institute, an institute certifying kikisake-shi (sake sommelier/ sommeliere), has devised a chart of 4 sake types based on the properties of flavor and aroma, through tasting approximately 21 thousand kinds of sake. The chart describes 4 types, which are aromatic, refreshing, rich and mature. The aromatic sake is daiginjoshu and ginjo grade brews, which are popular around the world. This type has a fruity aroma, tastes more refreshing when cooled, and is recommended to be served as an aperitif. The refreshing type is non-premium sake, honjozoshu and unpasteurized sake, with a dry, light, and delicate taste. This type has more restrained aromatic properties but still brings out a refreshing taste when cooled and goes well with all sorts of foods. The rich type is junmaishu, or the ones made using kimoto traditional yeast mash starters, which offer the rich and savory umami of rice. This type is considered the origin of sake, offers a mild taste, and creates different tastes depending on the temperature at which sake is served. The mature type is golden sake, including long-term matured sake or aged sake. Its unique flavors of dried fruit and spices become stronger when it is warmed. As used in restaurants and other places, this chart is extremely helpful in choosing a sake.