Jul 4, 2009

What Is Good Sake?

I believe that the attraction of sake is that there are diverse brands and each of various sake breweries is making sake with distinctive taste. The diversity of sake brands offers us great enjoyment in tasting different sake and comparing them.

However, sake lovers including me tend to pay too much attention to the sake they are drinking. They often say something difficult like how the sake taste, what the rice variety is, whether kimoto yeast starter is used, the complaint that the sake has an excessive foreign taste that should not be expected for the rice milling rates, the state of aging, and so on. In an extreme case, they would be distracted from foods and enjoyable conversation over drinking sake. In that case, what is sake for?

Pondering the above, I am lately beginning to believe that good sake adds spice to foods being paired with it and makes its drinkers merry, but, at the same time, it does not make the drinkers too much aware of the sake itself.

The trigger of why I became to think in this way is the following words said by one of my friends who is the toji of a sake brewery: "I want to make sake that can be drunk without making its drinker think about it too much. It must be so easy to drink that you can drink on and on, and then you suddenly find an emptied bottle in front of you."

At first, I did not think such sake was good sake, thinking that such sake was not very attractive. Later, I considered what he said over and over and began to think it sounded true.

Suppose that there is sake which is not very characteristic in taste or aroma, but the more you drink it, the merrier you become, and the more you get drunk on it, the happier you become. When you wake up in the next morning, you feel refreshed and think, "Oh, I drank so much last night, but I had a good time. How come I was so happy?" You try to recall the taste of the sake, but you can't do so clearly. You just feel that was nice sake. If there is such sake, it may be really good sake, mayn't it?

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