Three Basic Terms for “Fruity” Sake

Let’s imagine, how much knowledge and experience you need to have in order to murmur, “It’s apple-like”, by slowly smelling the aroma of sake poured into a small scotch glass at a sake bar?

I’m sure you’ve seen the label on a bottle of sake at one time or another. On the label, you will find the names of rice varieties such as “Yamada-nishiki,” “Omachi,” and “Aiyama,” which you may not even know how to read, as well as sake brewing terms such as “Junmai,” “Daiginjo,” “Genshu,” and “Namaishu.

So, is it really necessary to understand the meaning of all these terms to describe the taste of sake?

As it turns out, there is no need. You don’t need any special knowledge at all to comment on the aroma that rises from the glass, “apple-like.” In fact, it is quite inefficient to learn from scratch about the vast amount of sake brewing methods and the different varieties of rice, just because you want to express the taste of sake.

At this moment, if you can only describe fruity sake as “fruity,” there are only THREE WORDs you should aquire.

They are; “apple,” “melon,” and “banana.”
Now that you have these three words, you have been promoted to the Level 2 of Sake Fruity Expression skills!
This is because fruity sake is almost always categorized as one of the three fruits mentioned above.

In other words, if you know this three words, you can say that the fruity sake in the glass is “apple-like” if it is a fresh fruit. Or if it is a sweet fruit, you can say, “It’s like a melon.” And if it is even sweeter than a melon, and smells like a tropical, ripe fruit, you can say, “It’s like a banana.”

In this way, just by grasping the characteristics of the flavor, you can get away from describing the aroma of sake as “fruity”.
By the way, don’t underestimate the importance of using only three words to describe sake. If you want to go deeper into the sea of expression, these three words will serve as a compass.

For instance, for a fruit scent that is fresher than apple, you can say “green apple.” And for a nuance of intence sugar than apple, you can say “white peach.” ……
In this way, you can gradually acquire more words based on these three words, by comparing them with your own experience.
Each time you learn a new word, you will expand the range of taste that you experience. Thinking of it this way, isn’t it fun to work on verbalizing taste?