Sake is often referred to as “rice wine,” which works nicely for my cheaper than a tenner wine series. But there’s a reason we don’t call whiskey “wheat wine” or bourbon “corn wine.” There’s really no sense comparing grapes to grains. Similar as the fermenting process may be for both, the end results couldn’t possibly be more different.
I’ve always been attracted to sake. I like the ceremonial aspect of pouring it into another bottle only to pour it into tiny cups. Even though it’s more of a social drink, I still bother with the pomp and circumstance when I drink it on my own. I saw this bottle at Nijiya Market and was smitten with its chubby shape and clean design. It was also the Nigori (cloudy) variety which I had never tried, so that was intriguing. As was the text on the bottle, “Cloudy sake is made by mildly filtering unrefined sake. Enjoy the fresh, mild taste with the bouquet of a sake cellar.” The ingredients on the back listed “Koji mold.” Unrefined, cellar and mold? I’m so there. And at only $5.99, no further enticement was needed.
See my cute little sake set there? I’d have been better off eating it than drinking the swill in the bottle next to it. Have you ever had Rice Dream? The bouquet is that of sweetly fetid Rice Dream. Like if you had let the Rice Dream you poured over sugary cereal in the morning sit in the bowl all day and your curiosity got the better of you, so you sniff it. Undaunted, I put it in my mouth. It has the texture of Rice Dream and a not entirely unpleasant sweet and sour mash mix taste in the mouth. If you’re familiar with Asian sweets, you know how some of them have a sort of pungent streak beneath the sweetness? That’s what’s going on here.
The worst thing about it is that it didn’t even come close to getting me drunk. If I’m going to endure the sour mash taste, there needs to be a reward. Otherwise, it’s just asking someone to drink rancid Rice Dream. On the plus side, it’s not absinthe. 1/5 stars. If I’m lucky, it will unclog my sink on its way down.