Sake Sommeliers

As described in Aromas and Flavors to Describe Sake Page, you can roughly describe the characteristics of sake by using 4 words (rich & clean, and moderate and fragrant) to explain the strength of aromas and the strength of flavors.

Now, what kind of words should we use to describe the sake more concretely? The easy way is to liken the aromas and flavors to something else. For example, Daigin-jo and Ginjo with low rice polishing ratio is often floral and fruity on the nose, but you should go further explaining if that fruity aroma is like banana, grapefruits, peach, etc. The following table is the list of some descriptive words used by sake sommeliers.


FragrantFlowercherry blossom, ume, violet, lily, tulip, lavender, fragrant olive, orange flower, sweet pea, cyclamen, etc.
Fruitapple, pear, banana, melon, muscat, peach, lychee, mango, fig, etc
FreshFlowercamellia, wisteria, sasanqua, gentian, chrysanthemum, etc
Herblemongrass, mint, thyme, rosemary, green tea, maccha, peppermint, chamomile,
Fruitgrapefruit, orange, lime, lemon, cherry, green apple, strawberry, kiwi, citrus,
Vegetablewatercress, honewort, etc
Treebamboo, bamboo leaves, pine needles, cedar
ModerateMineralmineral, coal, stone, earthy,
Vegetablechinese radish, carrot, butterbur scape, corn marigold, chinese cabbage, radish, asparagus, olive, etc
Treepine, cedar, maple tree, dead leaves, mushroom, oak, beech,
Nutspine nuts, peanuts, chestnut, ginkgo nut, sesame, etc
SavoryGrainears of rice, white rice, buckwheat, small (azuki) beans, corn, steamed rice, rice cake, etc
Nutsalmond, cashew nuts, coconuts, cacao, walnut, etc
Spicecinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, turmelic, caraway seeds,
Dairy Productsmilk, thickened cream, sour cream, butter, yoghurt, custard, marshmallow, etc
Ageinghoney, maple syrup, sherry, kelp, dried shiitake, sponge cake, green laver,