Not only the rice and water used, but the type of yeast, the number of times and when it is heated, and of course the actual brewer and the brewery as well.
All of these factors play a role in the vastly differing tastes of Japanese sake variations.
While this complexity and depth is part of the appeal of sake, it also leads to confusion and has been said to be a hindrance to its popularisation among younger people.
But sake can generally be categorised into four different types, and with this in mind, four different glasses were designed, each specifically tailored to a single type.
By also having the Kanbai sake brewery in Miyagi Prefecture craft four new brews of sake specifically for these glasses, our intention was to offer people a more accessible means of enjoying Japanese sake the way it was meant to be experienced.
For light, easy to drink sake, such as undiluted sake or honjozo varieties.
For rich, full-bodied sake, such as junmai varieties.
For particularly aromatic sake, such as ginjo varieties.
For aged sake, such as koshu or vintage varieties.
To help reduce the effect of the hand’s warmth on the sake, not only can the glass be held by the stem, but the flared base of the glass has also intentionally been made thicker. Each glass holds 180ml of sake, which is equal to one “go” – the traditional unit of measurement used when serving sake.
The glasses are designed so that when filled with 90ml (1/2 go) of sake, they not only give off an appearance of elegant balance, but also preserve adequate space for fragrance to linger.
In a display of generosity and good will, glasses are sometimes placed inside of a wooden masu cup and filled until overflowing.
When served in this traditional style, known as ‘mokkiri’, the glasses will hold exactly 180ml.
The base is designed to fit perfectly into the masu cup, and the height makes it so that the stem is hidden when placed inside, giving the impression that the body of the glass is floating on the surface of the liquid.
Photos : Akihiro Yoshida