This is based on samples supplied by the winery or another organization on their behalf.



Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo


Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior

G fifty



I was invited to participate in an online saké tasting, which was very easy to accept.  I have enjoyed saké in the past, but my knowledge on the beverage is VERY limited.  I usually rely on the suggestions from the server and never remember which ones I have liked or the ones I could barely tolerate.  This will be a great opportunity to try four different examples and allow me to note differences and figure out what I like based on side by side comparisons.



Visit the SakéOne website.



The selections were provided by Charles Communications for the SakéOne brand tasting and participation was limited to 12 people.



Generally, saké is best served is a white wine glass.  For some reason, several of us opted for a stemless wine glass like the Riedel O line.  I chose the glass since it seemed to be a nice middle of the road melding of the small traditional saké glass and a larger, stemmed wine glass.

Though saké can be served slightly warmed, it is better served chilled; I had mine at a cool room temperature.


It was pointed out that the American saké producers prefer to be called “craft” saké, or American, but don’t call them “domestic”.

An open bottle of saké will last for weeks in the refrigerator since it is pasteurized.



SakéOne is one of six saké breweries in America and the only saké brewery in Oregon. It has promoted quality saké in America for over two decades, both as an importer and as a domestic craft brewer, focusing on quality, heritage and innovation. SakéOne imports a boutique portfolio of Japanese regional saké including the brands Murai Family, Yoshinogawa and SakéMoto, a premium Japanese saké developed specifically for the American market. Greg also produces award-winning saké for the Momokawa, G Saké, and the fruit-infused Moonstone brands at SakéOne’s own Kura in Forest Grove, Oregon.


Saké’s presence in the American market is rapidly increasing; in the past ten years, saké has seen a 100% increase in the US Beverage alcohol market. However, most premium saké is still imported from Japan.



The video from the online tasting, graphics dealing with saké terminology and the brewing process, as well as the participant’s posts can be found here:




Here was our lineup for the evening:

Sake Lineup2





The beverages are listed in the tasting sequence.




Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo (Imported) – SRP $25.00


Importer/Distributor comments

Tokubetsu means special, Honjozo defines that there is added alcohol in a saké.  This special brew has a little added alcohol used to highlight aromas and flavors that would otherwise more subtle.  This is a long time favorite of the SakéOne team.


Profile: Layered herbal notes with anise highlights set the tone for this dynamic honjozo.  This is clean and complex with an incredible amount of aroma and flavor to explore.  This is one of the all time favorites from Murai Family.  This took first place in the Japan National Saké Contest for the Honjozo category.


Enjoyment: Exceptional chilled where the aromas and flavors are maximized but also easy going when served warm.


Style: Special Honjozo

Rice: Miyamanishiki          Polish: 60%

Alc: 15.5%                         SMV: +2

Sulfites: 0                          Gluten: 0


Serve: Chilled or warm (up to 114 degrees F)


For more information or to order some for yourself.



My Tasting Note

This is very clear, as are “most” sakés.  The nose had smoky peat moss, mushrooms, earthy, lemongrass, apples, touch of tropical fruit, and a floral element.  On the palate this was slightly creamy with a touch of crispness.  On the palate there was some up front fruit with a load of earthy elements coming in quickly.  This had nice length on the finish, again leaning on the earthy elements especially mushrooms with just a touch of sweet apples.

Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo 2




SakeMoto Junmai (Imported) – SRP $11.00


Importer/Distributor comments

Imported from Japan and created by a brewer with over 270 years of experience, SakéMoto Junmai Saké delivers quality and value in a taste profile that is finely tuned to the American palate.


Profile: Upfront fruit in the nose, a rich texture, and a long, smooth finish that will appeal to both new and seasoned saké drinkers.


Enjoyment: Beautifully on its own, chilled and served in an all purpose white wine glass or pairs nicely with savory sensations, such as dried mushrooms, parmesan cheese, aged beef, tomatoes, and more.


Style: Junmai                   Polish: 70%

Alc: 14.7%                       SMV: +3.9

Sulfites: 0                       Gluten: 0            Serve: Chilled


For more information or to order some for yourself.



My Tasting Note

This has a slight yellow tint.  On the fruitier nose, tropical fruit, floral, fennel, apples, and pears. This has sweet fruit on the palate with fennel and some subtle earthiness that slowly builds.  This has nice length on the sweet finish with just a touch of a bitter element adding some depth and some complexity.

SakeMoto Junmai 2




Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior (Imported) – SRP $27.00


Importer/Distributor comments

A fresh expression of Niigata style saké, Winter Warrior is crafted for today’s imbiber who seeks something refreshing, fruit-forward and overall elegantly decadent. The layered tropical aromas and lush fruit flavors of Winter Warrior make it an easy transition for wine enthusiasts and cocktail fans. Clean, complex and ready to lead your saké adventure. There are few, very few, Junmai sake imported with this depth of character.


Profile: Easy going, lush, fruit-forward with lots of tropical notes like guava, mango and fresh rain falling on a deep forest.


Enjoyment: Pour a glass and enjoy with fresh fruit, lightly spicy foods, and hearty sushi rolls and hearty Izakaya faire.


Style: Junmai Ginjo

Rice: Gohyakumangoku           Polish: 60%

Yeast: No. 18                            Acidity: 1.3

SMV: -1                                    Alc: 14%

Gluten: 0                                  Sulfites: 0                 Serve: Chilled


For more information or to order some for yourself.



My Tasting Note

This is very clean and clear and absolutely colorless.  The very intriguing nose has musky tropical melons, smoke, fennel, pears, flowers, mushrooms, and a touch of mint.  This has medium body and has a creamy mouth feel.  The long finish really highlights the minty note and toasty smoke.  This was my favorite of the event.

Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior 2




G fifty (American Craft) SRP $25.00


Importer/Distributor comments

This is a brand new saké that has not been released so there is no information on the website.



My Tasting Note

This has a clear and watery appearance.  The soft and fruity nose had pineapple, flowers, and mint.  On the palate this is big, fruity, and round.  The long finish is filled with mint and pineapple with just a hint of earthiness.  This was obviously produced for an American palate wanting a fuller body full of sweet, ripe fruit.  If he reviewed saké, I’m sure people would call this “Parkerized”.    🙂

G fifty 2






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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.




Cheers!  Or in this case Kanpai!