The taste of sake

What is interested when coming from a wine background, is that there is a fundamental difference in quality assessment used for sake. In Japan for instance, sake judges will have little attention for the aromatic complexity that a sake displays, and will see a short and clean finish as a positive asset, whereas wine drinkers prefer length and complexity. There is of course a middle ground to be found!

Flavors and aromas

Sake is capable of a complex range of flavors and aromas. Dependent on the style, age, used ingredients, and different approaches to the brewing, there is something new or different to discover. The below aroma wheel gives a broad-strokes overview of the aromas and flavors that you can encounter in sake.


As said, Japanese sake experts will often be more interested in the structure and texture that a sake shows. The following graph shows the different flavor profiles, as well as the categories or types of sake that are most closely associated with them.