Character of sake
The character of a sake can be classified into four types.
The unique character of each sake's aroma is the result of different production methods and ingredients. These characters can be classified into four types, based on these aromas and flavors.
Aroma : Features gorgeous aromas of fruit or flowers, and has a sense of clarity.
Taste : Has moderate sweetness and roundness, balanced with a refreshing acidity.
Aroma : Features strong and complex aromas, like spices or dried fruit.
Taste : Thick sweetness, balanced with an acidity mellowed
Light and Smooth Type
Aroma :Features a mild and moderate aroma.
Taste : Has a refreshing taste and a smooth feeling in the mouth.
Aroma : Features a grainy scent, or an aroma conveying umami, like dairy products.
Taste : Features sweetness, acidity, a pleasant bitterness, and a well-rounded richness.
Tokutei Meisho-shu(Specially Designated Sake)
Sake is a beverage brewed from polished rice.
Sake that falls outside the specially designated sake categories is typically called futsu-shu.
This includes sake made with a rice polishing ratio over 70%, made with ingredients other than the ones approved for specially designated sake, and sake containing more than 10% brewer's alcohol.
Rice polishing refers to milling the rice's outer surface
"Rice polishing" refers to the process of shaving off the outer surface of the rice grains to remove proteins, fats, and minerals that cause undesirable flavors in the sake. Sake rice is especially suited to the process, because of its low protein content and its large shimpaku (opaque section in the center of the rice).
Rules Established for Specially Designated Sake
When classifying specially designated sake, the first remarkable point or attention has to do with the rice polishing ratio. This refers to the proportion of the original rice weight left over after the process of milling away the outer surface of the original rice. For example, when it says rice polishing ratio 60% or less, that means that 40% of the outer surface of the unpolished rice has been milled away.
Specially designated sake must be made with at least 15% rice koji (the ratio for rice koji weight as a part of the total white rice weight used to make the sake).
The weight of the brewer's alcohol added must not exceed 10% of the weight of the white rice used in making the sake. The brewer's alcohol is a distilled alcohol of agricultural origin.
It is possible to label a sake junmai-shu as long as it is sake made with rice and rice koji only.
All sake produced to be exported is given this mark by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. Sake with this mark authenticates sake produced in Japan and in accordance with Japanese liquor tax law, and although it does not place restrictions on the origin of the sake's ingredients, it does specify that the sake is made in Japan.
Proper storage methods for Sake
Since sake's color and aroma can change due to temperature and exposure to UV rays, it is best to store it standing upright, in a cool, dark place around 20°C (68°F), and out of sunlight. For ginjo-shu with refined aromas and fresh-tasting namazake, refrigeration is recommended. After opening, try to finish the sake within a reasonable amount of time.