Episode-111: Tasting Sake… Professionally?

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For many years a Sake Tasting Competition has been held for selected sake sommeliers from across the country in Tokyo to challenge their tasting skills and knowledge. This year the Brewing Society of Japan has released a special tasting kit, that can be bought by anyone (depending on the availability of it, of course) to help sake professionals and people who strive to learn more about how to evaluate sake, to test and train their tasting abilities.

In this very special episode of Sake on Air, we decided to give it a try and with the help of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, we both got our hands on the sake-tasting kit and an invitation to the competition. So in this 2-part episode, we will share with you how both went. Along with some useful tips and knowledge on how to improve your tasting abilities and hone in on the skills needed to master them.

In the first part of this episode, you will hear from Chris Hughes, Rebekah Wilson-Lye and Cindy Bissig about the tasting kit with some interview snippets of Sebastien Lemoine and Marie Nagata on how they got on. From a more simple just recognizing sweet vs dry, to determining which sake sample had higher Succinic acid along with a smell test. Spoiler alert, there were some surprising comments with the conclusion of Chris Hughes sharing that it was an incredibly humbling but super valuable experience, that he would love to have another go at one day and he is not alone in that.

As we reach the 2nd half of this week's episode, we will focus on the “42nd Japanese Tasting Competition” that we joined. In which the best Sake Sommeliers from all around Japan come together to “battle” it out over two rounds, a written knowledge and a taste test. As well as, some helpful tips on how to get better at conquering similar tests and more insights from our hosts on sake competition, appraisals, and easy ways to replicate some of these challenges in the comfort of your own home or local Izakaya.

As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and your experience in sake tasting. We would love to know what other strategies people have in place to effortlessly asses a beverage (sake or not), so do let us know! At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.

We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.
Until then, kampai!