You will be able to enjoy sake even more by knowing the terminologies of sake that you see and hear at restaurants and liquor stores.
This time, we will introduce the word “kire” that is often used to describe sake.

What is “Kire” of sake?

Generally, it is often used in conjunction with the terms “tanrei” and “dry” such as “tanner, dry, and has kire”, but it is not only dry sake that has it.
There are also cases where sake is “sweet and has kire” and “rich and has kire”.
In addition, even for sake where its taste slowly dissipates, we sometimes use the expression “good kire” to refer to the beautiful aftertaste.

Since sake with kire have the effect of refreshing the mouth, it seems that there is also an advantage that you can taste the next dish more deliciously by taking sips between dishes.

Compared to wines that are evaluated by the length of their aftertaste, sake tends to be evaluated for its kire.
The unique aspect of assessing the taste right before it completely dissipates may be one of the very Japanese values.

So, what does it exactly mean when sake has kire?

Sake with kire is born in connection with food.
And in order to improve it, the quality of the “umami” of the sake is important.
Furthermore, it is born on a different scale from the “taste tendency” such as dryness and sweetness. Some sake is sweet with kire, and some are dry with kire.
Now, let’s sort out the phenomenon of kire.

1) Eat a snack
First of all, eat a snack. Then, the “umami” of the snack will spread in your mouth.

2) Swallow the snack
The “umami” should still dominate your mouth even after you swallow it.

3) Put sake in your mouth
Next, put sake in your mouth. Then, the taste and umami of sake and the umami of the snack that still lingers in your mouth will mix and “match”.
It is a state where the taste of sake and the taste of the snack are fused, and the synergistic effect fills the mouth with “umami”.

4) Swallow sake

5) “Kire” occurs
After swallowing, neither the snack nor sake will be left in your mouth.
It has been thoroughly washed off, leaving no aftertaste. This is the “sake with kire” state.


How was it?
“Kire” is like an engine that spins the cycle of food → sake → food → sake.
It is a “taste characteristic” peculiar to Japanese sake that creates a state of “mellow but never-ending”.
Sake combines with food to make it even more delicious. This “kire” may be the bridge that connects food and sake.
Please enjoy your favorite dishes along with sake that has “kire”.