Koji's Sake Tasting Notes

 Our Kikisake-shi has created a sake tasting note that is simple to use and helpful to refer back to! Here is the step by step instructions on how to fill the "Sake Tasting Notes". 

Download and print the "Sake Tasting Notes" here.


Step1: Getting started 

Write down the date, taster's name and the brewery that made the sake. It's good practice to get these basic information for future reference. 

Step 2: Filling the specifications

Write the sake's full name and specifications in the spaces given. You can find all the information either on the front label or back label of the bottle.


Junmai Daiginjo (純米大吟醸)
No brewer's alcohol added, with a milling rate
(精米歩合) of 50% or less.
Junmai Ginjo (純米吟醸)
No brewer's alcohol added,with a milling rate of 60% or less.
Junmai (純米)
Sake with no addition of brewer's alcohol can be called a Junmai 純米, the milling rate needs to be indicated on the label.
Daiginjo (大吟醸)
Brewer's alcohol added, with a milling rate 50% or less.
Ginjo (吟醸)
Brewer's alcohol added, with a milling rate of 60% or less.
Honjozo (本醸造)
Brewer's alcohol added, with milling rate between 60% to 70%.

Futsushu (普通酒)

Sake that does not indicate any of the above classifications (Junmai Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, etc.) on its label.

For more information on Sake Classifications, click here.

Milling Rate (精米歩合)

Rice is milled for sake brewing. The percentage of sake rice remaining after the milling process is called the "Milling Rate". For more information on Milling Rate, click here.

Alcohol (アルコール分)

The sake's alcohol content. It is indicated by "xx"度, e.g. 18度 means 18%ABV.

SMV (日本酒度)

Sake meter value, SMV for short, is a number indicated on the back label of the  bottle. Examples of SMV -5, 0, +8, etc. For more information about SMV, click here.

Production Date

The sake's bottling date. For example "2021.7." is July 2021.

Drinking Temperature
Serving temperature of the sake.


Step 3: Observations 

a) Color: The color of the sake.

b) Appearance: Clear or Cloudy in appearance.

c) Legs: When you've swirled your glass of sake, "Legs" are the streams of liquid that can be observed sticking to the side of the glass. The importance of Legs is to help determine the viscosity of your sake, the slower/longer flow means a higher the viscosity.

To make a proper observation, swirl your glass of sake once in front of a white background and let the initial Legs occur, the Legs you should be observing will occur momentarily. Legs cannot be observed in a traditional sake cups i.e. choko.

Shortthe faster flow, lower viscosity.

Long = the slower flow, higher viscosity.

d) Nose:
  • Strength: Weak or strong aroma.
  • Aroma: Write down what aromas your sake is displaying, e.g. floral notes, fruits, vegetal, mineral, etc. Feel free to use your imagination. 
e) Taste:
  • Strength: Strong or weak tasting.
  • Texture: The texture or "feeling" of the sake on your palate. 
  • Dryness: Judge whether the sake is sweet or dry. 
  • Taste: Write down what taste/flavours your sake is displaying, e.g. floral notes, fruits, spice, cereal/grains, etc. Feel free to use your imagination.
  • Finish: The amount of time taken for the sake flavour to dissipate. Short (less than 5 seconds), Long (more than 30 seconds). 
  • Body: The weight of the sake felt on your tongue.
  • Character & Special notes: Look back at your observations and write down your tasting notes, it can be brief no more than a paragraph long, describing the look, smell, taste and your experience of the sake you've just tasted. Remember to jot down any special points you may have as well.
  • Sake Type: Based on your observations, write down which Sake Type does this sake fall under. For more information about Sake Type click here

Step 4: Drinking vessels

Which drinking vessels would suit this sake?

...and there you have it, you've conducted you very own sake tasting. We hope you this helps you on your journey of sake discovery!

Check out the below products to familiarise yourself various sake characteristics and make your own sake tasting notes.