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Singapore's Largest Sake Festival Is Back 15 June – Here Are Our Top Bottle Picks & What To Look Forward To!

 

Sake Festival Singapore, the country’s oldest and largest celebration of nihonshu, is back for its 9th edition, and it’s more ambitious than ever. This annual gathering, organised by one of Singapore’s biggest sake retailers and bar Orihara Shoten, is a must-attend for those who appreciate a good drink and want to delve deeper into the world of sake.

 

 

On Saturday the 15th of June 2024, Sake Festival Singapore would transform Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre into a haven for sake enthusiasts. Over 30 breweries from across Japan will feature more than 300 labels of sake, including their signature bottling sakes, and sometimes even umeshu, fruit liqueurs, and shochu. It’s a treasure trove of unique and Japanese drinks that you won't easily come across elsewhere (book your tickets here)!

What sets this festival apart from other sake events is the presence of the expert toji (head brewers) and kurabito (brewery representatives) that would represent each sake brewery. These artisans have poured their passion and knowledge into crafting each bottle – so who better to guide you through their creations and share the stories behind each brew?

Overwhelmed by the sheer variety on offer? This year, Sake Festival Singapore has also enlisted the help of eight certified sake sommeliers who would be on hand to offer personalised recommendations and suggest food pairings, ensuring you get the most out of your tasting experience. Just approach them with any sake questions you may have!

Now, last week we got a sneak peek at some of the sakes that would be on offer at Sake Festival Singapore. Here are the highlights!

Chiyomusubi Sparkling SORAH

 

We begin with one of Japan’s proudest sparkling sake (or awazake) that gives Champagne a run for its money. Chiyomusubi Brewery was founded in 1865 that takes pride in using local rice and water from the Tottori Prefecture. Their name, "Chiyomusubi," translates to "Eternal Ties," reflecting their dedication to tradition and connection to their roots, and yet the brewery is wll well known for creating sakes that also resonate with contemporary sake lovers.

Their most famous brew is none other than the Chiyomusubi Sparkling SORAH. The “Sorah” part of the name hints at the skies – perhaps suggesting that one sip would make you feel like you’re amongst the clouds. This sake was famously selected by the Japanese government to be served to other world leaders at a G7 Summit meeting.

This one greets the nose with tons of fruity aromas blended with sweet rice in a perfumery delight. It’s quite sweet but superbly balanced by a fine effervescence reminiscent of the texture of fine champagne. The sweetness of the rice is prominent yet very harmoniously integrated. This is yummy, well-balanced, and refreshingly delightful.

Michisakari Chotoku Daiginjo Genshu

 

Next up, we had a nice thick Genshu from Michisakari Brewery.

Located in Gifu Prefecture and founded way back in the 1700s, Michisakari Brewery is renowned for its dry sake style or “karakuchi” sakes, a style refined from a careful selection of rice types, koji and a cooler fermentation process.

This Michisakari Chotoku is perhaps one of the most elegant sakes we’ve tried. It’s got a pure melony sweetness in its aroma, but on the palate it’s a fantastic balance of sweet florals, dry lemon peels, umami of grilled squid and just a touch of oxidative nuttiness. Beautiful and really memorable! And with this level of clean dryness, this sake would be enjoyed by even non-sake drinkers who enjoy crisp white wines.

Yukinobosha Daiginjo

 

Next, we’ve got the Yukinobosha Daiginjo from Aikita Prefecture’s Yokinobosha Brewery. The name of the brewery translates whimsically to “Snow Dwellers,” reflecting how the snowy climate of Akita plays a role in making its refined sakes. The brewery employs traditional brewing techniques passed down through generations – such as the use of gravity (instead of machinery) to extract sake from the wort. Yet the cold snowy winders of Akita allow for very low temperature fermentation, allowing them to create some highly delicate and refined sakes without much modern equipment.

True to a genshu, I find this sake to be incredibly expressive, with sweet banana cream on the nose and on the palate, a syrupy and viscous texture with the sweetness of strawberry milk, a depth of earthiness and mintiness that grows. This is really layered and full of depth.

Gasanryu Yoko Shimanashinriki Junmai

 

Finally, I’ve got to mention this bottle because it’s so unusual. While it’s still a fairly regional name, Gasanryu Brewery is known for making experimental sake that push the boundaries of what makes their a nihonshu . Made from 70% polished Shinriki rice – an heirloom variety that only saw resurgence in recent years - this unusual bottle was created when the head brewer sought to make a sake that could pair with the savoury taste of ramen.

On the nose, this is pretty much like many junmai sakes with a prominent ricey character. It really surprised me with its complexity on tasting it – a light pear note with tons of grassiness, mint, brine, and even a mild aroma of farm hay and a finish of tons of salted peanuts. This is a pretty interesting clean umami sake and I can indeed see how it would pair great with a bowl of shio ramen!

Japanese Izayaka Food Alley at Sake Festival Singapore

 

Now, speaking of food pairings, this year’s festival is also taking the culinary aspect to the next level with a Japanese Izakaya Food Alley. Seven of Singapore's top sake restaurants in Tanjong Pagar, affectionately dubbed the "Tanpaga" chefs, have joined forces to create a special menu of canapés designed to perfectly complement the sakes. The group is led by the head chef of Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar and Hearth Izakaya, Sho Naganuma and Koki Miyoshi. The menu includes udon noodles, crab croquette, gyoza with yuzu miso, deep fried Takoyaki, grilled scallops, sweet warabi-mochi with molasses and octopus in skewers. Imagine sipping on a delicate dry junmai daiginjo while nibbling on a succulent skewer – it's a match made in sake heaven!

Whether you're a long time sake lover or a curious newcomer, Sake Festival Singapore 2024 should not be missed. Further details are available on Sake Festival Singapore’s official site, while you can book your tickets on Sistic to attend this celebration of Japanese craftsmanship.

Event Details

Date: 15 June 2024, Saturday
Time: 2pm to 7pm - Last Admission at 5:30pm
Venue: Suntec City Convention Hall, Level 4, Hall 404
Address: 1 Raffles Boulevard, Suntec City, Singapore 039593
Online Ticketing: S$60 per pax with a promotion of 5+1 bundle for $300 from Sistic
Purchase In Person: Orihara Shoten Robertson Walk

 

Kanpai!

88 Bamboo Editorial Team