For Goodness Saké: Bernard’s Wine Tasting Note


For Goodness SakeLast Saturday was an exciting one, especially for connoisseurs of saké when Orihara organized their yearly saké festival at Suntec City.

More than 43 brewers from Japan’s various prefectures were present to showcase some of the finest labels represented by Orihara Shoten. I tasted a lot of the spirits, however, my wallet only allowed me to bring home four bottles–plus an outstanding bottle which I have tasted with compliments from a close friend who hand carried it back from London.

Yes, London it is. The English are head over heels for saké right now.

A Light, Refreshing, and Clean-Tasting Black Face

Introducing Eiichi Hyakujuro Junmaidaiginjo – commonly known to connoisseurs as “Black Face”, as the label depicts a Japanese calligraphy print of a black face make up.

Black Face won Gold Medal at the Japan’s Fine Saké Award in 2014.  Although the usual taste of a junmaidaiginjo can be fruity and much fragrant, the Black Face instead exhibits a sophisticated nuance of green apples and banana.

On the palate, it never ceases to impart pure acidity with a long and exhilarating finish.  The acidity favors tuna belly or Otoro, in my humble opinion.

A Closer Look at the Black Face

Sake ExperienceIncidentally, there is a small history on the label itself. Hyaku-ju-ro, the Japanese name for this saké comes from a popular kabuki actor who lived in nearby Kakamigahara City, located at the southern part of the Gifu Prefecture.

In 1912, he generously made a donation of 1200 cherry trees to line the banks of the city’s Sakai River.  It is now a tradition for people to gather at one of the city parks on the banks of the river to see the Sakura blossom annually.

Black Face was brewed to honour Hyaku-ju-ro’s generous gesture.  The label of the bottles reflects the makeup by kabuki actors.