DISCOVER ANOTHER JAPAN SAN'IN Vol.2
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Types of Japanese Sake Currently, the Liquor Tax Law divides sake into eight distinct categories (as you can see in the table on the right). If it is made using only rice and rice koji it’s called Junmai-shu (pure rice wine). If a limited volume of brewers’ alcohol is added, the name is Honjozo-shu.Seimai (rice polishing) is done to scrape off the outer layer of the rice.The type of sake that is made is delineated according to the amount that is scraped (the rice polishing ratio).Sake has a variety of flavors, with some having a strong sweetness and aroma, some with fruity flavors, some with a pungent aroma and strong alcoholic taste.There was a theory that because at one time it was the most expensive, Junmai Daiginjo is the most delicious. However, in recent years the idea that “taste is individual” seems to be the leading ideology.What makes sake so deliciousAs Dr. Horie mentioned, there are some con-cerns. Currently in Japan there are various opin-ions about the deliciousness and quality of sake. There are no clear standards under discussion. Classes such as Junmai-shu and Junmai Daiginjo are classifications of manufacturing methods and are not directly linked to the taste.However, it is generally said that Honjozo-shu is dry, and Junmai-shu has a soft mouth-feel.The lower the rice polishing percentage, the fruitier the aroma will be. It is said that polishing removes proteins around the rice and the koji mold releases the aroma components like apples.However, since the surrounding proteins also contain umami components, there are many people who like Honjozo-shu or Junmai-shu, because the rice is not well polished and there is more of an umami taste.People have different preferences of red or white wine, aged aromas or sour acidic tastes. It’s the same for sake, people prefer many different vari-eties. It is a fact! Because sake is transparent, some people think that it’s distilled liquor. However it is fermented or brewed, the same as wine or beer.Also, be aware that the distilled liquor shochu made from potato or wheat is available in Japan. It’s easy to confuse the two (shochu has a lot of fans too).You can read more about sake in Dr. Horie’s books (in Japanese only). Currently, he is work-ing on a new book. Cannot wait!In the talk by Dr. Horie, words such as Daiginjo or Junmai-shu are used.Now we’ll tell you the classifications of sake, how they tend to taste and some additional information. Why is sake made in San’in so good?Whatyou need to knowCategories of Japanese sakeHonjozo-shuJunmai DaiginjoJunmai Ginjo-shuSpecial Junmai-shuDaiginjoGinjo-shuSpecial Honjozo-shuJunmai-shuHonjozo-shuJunmai-shu(pure rice wine)< Ingredients > Rice, rice koji, brewers alcohol Rice, rice kojiRice polishingratio up to 50%Ginjo production*, unique flavor, coloration is particularly goodGinjo production*, unique flavor, coloration is particularly goodGinjo production*, characteristic flavor, good colorationGinjo production*, unique flavor, good colorationFull flavor, coloration is particularly goodFull flavor, coloration is particularly goodGood flavor, good colorationGood flavor, good colorationRice polishingratio up to 60%Rice polishing ratio not exceeding 60% with special manufacturing methodsRice polishingratio up to 70%OtherGinjo production: rice is polished more and it is fermented for longer at a lower temperature.15

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