Episode 124 Show Notes

Episode 124. Week in and week out, our standard gear for tasting and evaluating sake is a simple wine glass. This works really well and almost everybody has one nearby. But in Japan, there are a wide variety of shapes, materials and sizes used to make cups for drinking sake. That got us wondering if we should take some other cups out for a test drive and compare them to our usual stemware. This week we are exploring an industry standard sake cup – the “kikichoko”. A larger relative of the standard ochoko, Kikichokos have a blue and white bullseye design inside the cup. To learn all the secrets of the kikichoko and to see how it stacks up against our trusty wine glass, listen now to this week’s sake vessel smackdown! #sakerevolution

Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 02:39 Sake Vessels: Ochoko

What is an kikichoko?

Janome Kikichoko
Kikichoko is a white sake tasting cup usually made of porcelain. When you taste sake while visiting a sake brewery, you are often served one of these white cups with blue rings at the bottom. The cup you see here is called a “Kikichoko” (sake tasting cup) or “Janome Ochoko” (snake eye cup). This blue ringed design is known as a snake eye, what we would call a bulls eye. The purpose of these contrasting rings was originally to help assess the clarity of the sake by looking as the crisp border between the blue and white areas. The pure white part of the cup also allows you to check the overall color tint of the sake. This design became a hallmark of the sake industry in general. I even adopted a version of this design for the Urban Sake logo. One other reason this cup endures is that it is the official tasting cup used in many high profile japanese sake tasting competitions. The standard size of this type of tasting cup used in professional appraisals is 180ml (6.08 oz.), a serving size in Japan known as one “go”.

Download our Sake Vessel Cheat sheet:

Skip to: 15:43 Sake Tasting: Kid Junmai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi

Kid Junmai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi

Brewery: Heiwa Shuzo (Wakayama)
Classification: Hiyaoroshi, Junmai Ginjo
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 15.0%
Prefecture: Wakayama
Seimaibuai: 50%, 55%
SMV: +1.5
Rice Type: Gohyakumangoku
Brand: KID (紀土)
Importer: Sake Suki, LLC
Yeast: 10, 14, 901, k1801

View On UrbanSake.com

Skip to: 30:35 Show Closing

This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!

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Episode 124 Transcript

John Puma: 0:22
Hello everybody and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast and I think it’s favorite, but who knows. Uh, I am your host, John Puma. From the Sake Notes, I’m also the administrator at the Internet Sake Discord. Uh, also guy who runs the R slash sake subreddit and, uh, on this show, the gentleman who is not the Sake Samurai, so there’s no confusion,

Timothy Sullivan: 0:48
And I’m your host, Timothy Sullivan. I am the Sake Samurai. I am a sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.

John Puma: 1:05
So Tim, you know, you know, a couple weeks ago we, um, we ventured once again to the Sake education corner, and it had been a little while. Now, I, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I did pick up the place a tiny bit

Timothy Sullivan: 1:16
Yes, it’s looking good in here.

John Puma: 1:18
uh, I felt like, well, he’s gonna surprise me with some sake education, um, on our Sake Education podcast. I should probably be ready and have the place at least looking presentable. Uh, so I got the, the thought in my head that maybe we’d be venturing back soon. And here we are,

Timothy Sullivan: 1:36
Yes, we are.

John Puma: 1:37
sake. Education in the corner,

Timothy Sullivan: 1:39
Yes. And one thing that I know a lot of people enjoy about sake tasting is all the different cups and glasses they can use to taste sake. I think it makes a big difference to the experience. If you have a beautiful sake glass or beautiful cup, it adds to your enjoyment of the sake. So we’re gonna venture into our vessel series again and talk about a unique type of sake cup that you probably have seen and you might not know the whole story. So we’re gonna dive into that today.

John Puma: 2:12
Excellent, excellent. It is a very familiar to anybody who’s been around sake for a little bit. You may not have even seen this cup before, but I am absolutely certain you’ve definitely seen a logo or something like that that uses elements of this cup

Timothy Sullivan: 2:27

John Puma: 2:28
It just, it’s so pervasive in sake, uh, culture and advertising.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:34
Once we explain it, you might not be able to unsee it. So here we go.

John Puma: 2:39
All right, Tim, let’s talk about tonight’s sake vessel

Timothy Sullivan: 2:44
We could consider this an extension of. Sake Vessels episode on the ochoko. So to remind everyone, ochoko is probably the most standard, most ubiquitous sake cup. Smaller in size, usually porcelain and smooth sided standard, small, regular sake cup made out of ceramic or porcelain. So across izakaya counters of the world, you’re gonna see these small ceramic or porcelain. Sake cups, and that’s simply called an ochoko. But we’re gonna dive deeper tonight into a type of ochoko that is specifically for evaluating sake. And you see them quite often as well. And this is known as the Kiki choko Kiki, K I k I. Kiki

John Puma: 3:37
o in, in Japanese o choko o is like an

Timothy Sullivan: 3:40
on horrific.

John Puma: 3:41
it’s a, it is a, is a honorable choko. What is Kiki?

Timothy Sullivan: 3:45
Well, Kiki is often translated as, uh, tasting. So there’s another famous sake term that where you’re gonna hear Kiki, and that is Kikizakeshi that means sake, sake sommelier, or a, a sake tasting expert. Kiki sake. So, Kiki choko is, Tasting sake cup, cup for sake tasting. And it’s really true. There are some characteristics about a Kiki choko that are different from just a plain old regular ochoko, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.

John Puma: 4:26
I’m gonna confess on the Tim. Uh, when I was first getting into sake, I spent a lot of years thinking that Kiki Choko was an o choko. And the o was because it was the honorable, uh, cup. You taste things out for important events because of the, well things we’ll get into in a little bit. And, um, later on, uh, when I encountered regular. Uh, ochoko. I was suddenly confused and said, What do I call these now? Because I thought, I thought the other one was the ochoko. What is this one? And yeah, so that led to a little bit of confusion in, uh, young, Young John Pumas, budding sake, uh, tasting career.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:05
Well, we are here to help all the young John Puma of today avoid this confusion. So John, if I pick up the Kiki choko and we look inside, describe to me what you see inside here and the bottom of the cup,

John Puma: 5:19
there are two blue circles

Timothy Sullivan: 5:22

John Puma: 5:23
that, is it

Timothy Sullivan: 5:24

John Puma: 5:25
It is white, is a porcelain cup. It is white. Is bone white? Well, probably more, more white than bone, but it is very, very white and it at the bottom of the cup there is two blue circles that almost look like a blue bullseye.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:39
So it’s, it’s a bullseye style design. One circle inside the other, and they are dark indigo blue circles on a white background. Now this design has its own name in Japanese. This called janome.

John Puma: 5:58

Timothy Sullivan: 5:58
Ja-no-me, which means snake eye. So in in English, in English, this concentric circles like you see on a dart board and an English pub or whatever, we call that a bullseye, but in Japanese it’s janome or a snake eye, and it’s concentric rings of blue and white.

John Puma: 6:19
Mm. I guess that reveals a distinct lack of bulls in ancient Japan

Timothy Sullivan: 6:23
maybe more snakes than bulls.

John Puma: 6:26

Timothy Sullivan: 6:26
Yeah, they call it a snake eye design. And this is as you, as you alluded to, or a moment ago, this is this blue concentric rings. This is a symbol of not just this cup, but the sake industry in general. You see this all over now, I’ll refer you to the. the Sake Notes logo or the Urban Sake logo. Both of them use blue and white lines to, create, a riff on this janome Kiki choko Design

John Puma: 7:01
And even when you don’t see the rings, that color scheme, the white and that dark blue is so prominent and very attractive. It looks great. And so I think that a lot of people adopt it when they’re working on, on how to brand their sake company.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:15
Yeah. Now if you wanna see the inside of the Kiki choko, you can visit our show notes real quick. SakeRevolution.com. You can see a quick photo of what this looks like inside. But John, there is a. Very practical purpose for these blue and white circles at the bottom of this white cup. What? What is the purpose of these circles?

John Puma: 7:37
so the blue and the white are, is, if I’m not mistaken, are utilized in being able to discern the color of the sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 7:48
Yes. So the contrast between the blue and the white is incredibly stark. And when you peer into the, again, those circles are at the bottom of the cup, and when you peer into the cup, you look through the sake and you can assess the color and the clarity of the sake by seeing how distinct. White. The blue transition is, does it look blurry? Does it look crystal clear? Does the white have a little bit of yellowish cast to it? So the blue and white circles offer contrasting view to be able to assess the color and clarity of the sake. So this Janome or Blue Circle logo at the bottom of these Kiki, Sake. Tasting cups is really a very practical tool for people assessing sake.

John Puma: 8:40
So it doesn’t just look cool

Timothy Sullivan: 8:41
doesn’t just look cool, although it really looks cool. Uh, it is used to evaluate the clarity and the color of the sake. And another thing that we have to point out is that the official Kiki choko that you and I both have today for this recording, these are not. Dainty small cups. Are they?

John Puma: 9:03
No, this is a, a big in. This is the largest I’ve ever seen.

Timothy Sullivan: 9:07
Yeah. So what?

John Puma: 9:08
Mine is the largest I’ve ever seen. I believe yours is exactly the same

Timothy Sullivan: 9:10
Yeah, so what we have are the official sake tasting cups. So an official Kiki choko is about three inches in diameter and three inches tall. Just to get a sense of the scale of it. And when you do. An official sake evaluation in Japan at a Japanese brewery, you’ll see these white Kiki choko lined up along a table and people come up to the cup, they sip out of the cup, they smell out of the cup, and they look down. Into the cup at those blue circles and they do their evaluation. And if you ever go to a Sake brewery and you’re invited to do an official industry tasting, you’re going to see these large Kiki choko cups lined up. So this is an industry standard working cup for evaluation that really important.

John Puma: 10:01
So, so this was money well spent when I came across this in a shop one day and was like, this is the biggest one of these I’ve ever seen. I’m gonna buy it.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:11
Yes. Now you and I have the industry standard three inch diameter ones, but if you’re in an izakaya or if you’re in a gift shop in Japan, you’re gonna see these white ceramic cups with the blue circles inside, and they’re gonna be in all different sizes. So if you get a smaller one, Doesn’t mean it’s not a good Kiki choko, it’s just not an official sake evaluation. Kiki choko, but they come in all, all different sizes.

John Puma: 10:40
Yeah. And, um, if you’re around sake events and sake breweries and, uh, and sake brewers long enough, you will acquire many little, very tiny kikichokos, whether you like it or not. Is this gonna happen? They’re gonna have all the little logos on ’em, but they’re gonna be really, really diminiutive.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:59
Yeah, so those blue and white concentric circles, those you’re gonna see all over the world of sake when it comes to logos and all different things. And these large size cups, these are the industry standard size. I also have to mention that. We did another episode on Masu, right? The Wooden square. Wooden box. And what was to remember the, volume size for the wooden masu.

John Puma: 11:29
Believe it was about 180ml

Timothy Sullivan: 11:31
That’s right. That’s one go. That’s one considered, one serving. And any guesses on the size of this?

John Puma: 11:39
Uh, it would be awesome if it was 180 milliliters.

Timothy Sullivan: 11:41
it is you got it? Yes. So again, it’s one, if you filled it up to the top, it’s one go 180 milliliters. So the masu, the standard industry size, Kiki choko, are both set to the same standard of 180 milliliters. So

John Puma: 11:59

Timothy Sullivan: 12:00
yeah, so that’s a little bit of the story behind this cup.

John Puma: 12:05
Mm-hmm. I have a really quick question about, so you mentioned this is like the official sake tasting cup, evaluating sake.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:11

John Puma: 12:12
And one thing we talk about in the show a lot, uh, is that the aroma of the sake is a huge part of it. Um, as people, as humans, that is how a part of how we experience taste is through the aroma. But, um, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to do an, an amazing job of, of funneling those aromas towards my nose, the way my wine glass does.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:36

John Puma: 12:38
Is that something that kind of comes up with this sort of thing and, and how do you work around that?

Timothy Sullivan: 12:43
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, you know, we’ve tasted. In our vessel series, we’ve always done this comparison, wine glass to different vessels, and we’re gonna do that again today. But I think that the tradition of tasting officially out of these Kiki choko, these ceramic 180 milliliter sake cups. Is steeped in the past. So before we had these wine like aromatics, we’re talking like 1960s, 1970s. So the fact that these are still hanging around and used in official government evaluations of sake and many, many sake breweries, when they do internal evaluations of sake, put these out on the counter and it’s just been the standard for so long. It’s like the Legacy Cup.

John Puma: 13:34
So, So there’s a hardy amount of tradition attached to

Timothy Sullivan: 13:36
Yes, absolutely. Does it mean it’s the best cup for evaluating aromas? Probably not, but Aroma was not the main focus 50 years ago.

John Puma: 13:48

Timothy Sullivan: 13:49
we’re entering a new era where perhaps the wine glass is the best vessel for evaluating, and we’re gonna put that to the test today. So that, that is such a great question. And the other side of the coin, John, is that there’s something to be said for uniformity of tasting vessel. So if everyone in the industry is using this cup, even if it’s maybe not ideal for the most wine like aromas or most perfumed aromas, if everyone’s using the same cup, then you’re gonna get more uniformity in evaluations. So I think sticking to the same vessel, whether it’s a wine cup or whether it’s a Kiki choko, is important. So you’re not comparing apples to oranges.

John Puma: 14:34
Right. Okay. That makes a lot of sense actually. If you have a whole bunch of people doing the same kind of valuation across the world, not just one city, not just one country, it makes a lot of sense to have them all speaking the same language and understanding the same thing because you can really manipulate a beverage based on the class shape, if that makes a lot of

Timothy Sullivan: 14:52
Yep. Now when I drink out of a Kiki choko at home, I rarely break out my industry standard size one. It’s a little bit too big.

John Puma: 15:01
Mm. It’s, it’s quite large

Timothy Sullivan: 15:03
Yeah. it’s a little bit too big to just en enjoyably sip out of. That’s why the smaller ones, the non-industry standard size ones are more common in izakaya. You get maybe a two or a three ounce one. This one is a six ounce cup, so it’s a little bit heavier to hold. And, um, so we don’t usually use these for everyday drinking of sake. Again, more for industry evaluations, but they are fun to have.

John Puma: 15:34
I have to say I probably haven’t utilized mine in, in, in quite a bit. Uh, cuz it is, you know, it’s not what I’m gonna be sipping out of to every day at home

Timothy Sullivan: 15:43
Right. All right, well, I think we should get onto our tasting and put this Kiki choko to the test against our, our standard wine glass.

John Puma: 15:52
Sounds great. Which one are we starting with?

Timothy Sullivan: 15:54
Well, let’s. Pour our sake into both. And before we do that, why don’t you introduce us to the sake we’re going to be featuring. Now, this is a repeater This is a sake we’ve featured before on the podcast

John Puma: 16:09
Tim, you outed us right away. What are you doing

Timothy Sullivan: 16:11
This is a sake we’ve featured before on the podcast, but it is the season. It is the season for this style of sake.

John Puma: 16:17
is, it is the season and in New York it has, hmm. Summer left like it owed somebody money like it is fall suddenly and aggressively. but yes, we are gonna be drinking today. the kid, Junmai Ginjo. Hiyaoroshi. Hiyaoroshi of course is the autumn seasonal sake. One of my favorite. Sake seasons, the autumn, so, the brewery here is a Heiwa Shuzo, and they’re located over in Wakayama Prefecture. The rice here is Gohyakumangoku. But they do a little fun thing here where the Koji is milled to 50% and the kakemai is milled to 55%, uh, which is a little different, a little interesting. The uh, sake meter value, that measure of. Dry. Sweet is 1.5, so probably not measurable 15% alcohol and the acidity is 1.7.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:17
Yeah, and just a quick reminder for some of our listeners. We featured this sake in detail in episode 24. Where we introduced Hiyaoroshi, and that again, as you mentioned, is a fall seasonal sake. It’s often called a fall nama, and it’s often a Nama zume type. So this is a. Sake. You often see around Japan featured in liquor stores and grocery stores as a seasonal release in the fall, and it is definitely the season to enjoy Hiyaoroshi. So lucky we could have this one back on the show

John Puma: 17:55
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Episode 24, Tim, that feels like forever ago.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:02
a hundred. A hundred episodes ago.

John Puma: 18:04
I’m God, really

Timothy Sullivan: 18:05

John Puma: 18:06
So let’s get it in. The glasses is

Timothy Sullivan: 18:20
Okay, so,

John Puma: 18:21
All right.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:22
so we have sake in our Kiki choko, that is our white ceramic cup with the blue circles on the bottom, and then we have it in our wine glass. So just for fun, let’s look in our Kiki choko first. So I’ve got it on the table and I’m looking down from above

John Puma: 18:40

Timothy Sullivan: 18:42
and I can see. The bright, bright white is a little bit muted.

John Puma: 18:49
Very slightly.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:50
Very slightly.

John Puma: 18:52
Mm-hmm. very slow, but it’s there and you can tell the, Kiki Joko is doing its job.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:56
Yes. And the delineation between the white circles and the blue circles is not a hundred percent crystal clear. I think maybe there’s just a little bit of, Lack of clarity there. So that gives me a sense that maybe there’s, uh, it’s not, this speaks to the clarity we’re looking for is perhaps how much charcoal filtering went on here? Was it super aggressive and you have something that is literally the color of water? Or is there something a little bit more going on where maybe there’s a little bit of, very minute micro particulate in little bit of rice left in there, or if there’s, um, something else going on. So this is what the evaluation that they do when they look down into the Kiki choko

John Puma: 19:41

Timothy Sullivan: 19:42
this looks very, very clear, but to my eye, just not as clear as water. Like if you were to put water in here, this looks a little bit different than that, don’t you think?

John Puma: 19:51
I agree. Uh, I think that it’s, it is very, very subtle. Uh, and I think that if you look at it, first time you look at it, you’re, Oh, this is clear. And then you kind of look at some water for a moment and you go, Well, not, it’s not as clear as this. I think that’s your baseline

Timothy Sullivan: 20:03
Right. Okay. And we also have it in our wine glass, so I’m gonna hold this up and look in our wine glass as well.

John Puma: 20:10
I’m using my tried and true. Hold this up to the monitor with a white page on it, uh, and it is betraying a little bit. I’m getting some, um, I’m getting, You gotta get a white page, uh, um, I’m, Or maybe my white balances off on my screen, but, um, I’m getting a tiny hint of, uh, offwhite to it, but I experience that a little bit, um, in the kiki choko too.

Timothy Sullivan: 20:35
The variations we’re talking about are ultra subtle, aren’t they, John?

John Puma: 20:39

Timothy Sullivan: 20:40
Yeah. pretty subtle. Yeah. All right. So I’m gonna start with the Kiki choko, and let’s do our best to smell the aroma from this. Again, this cup has about a three inch diameter to it, and it’s like a ramakin or something like that. It’s, you know, it’s a pretty large porcelain cup. Ceramic cup. All

John Puma: 21:02
Yeah. So, So Tim, do we like really subtly swirl this? Like, what’s the story

Timothy Sullivan: 21:07
Uh, no, I don’t think you’re, you’re, I think swirling is dangerous in this cup.

John Puma: 21:11
I think so too.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:12
Yeah. So I’m not gonna be, I’m not gonna be swirling here, but we’re gonna just bring it up to the nose and give it a smell. Okay. It smells pretty, but it also feels like something’s escaping me like it doesn’t feel. Easy to get a good grasp on the aroma.

John Puma: 21:31
No, it’s, it is. I feel like I should be taking in more than I am. Um, and I’m, I’m just not.

Timothy Sullivan: 21:40
Yeah, if you put your hand over the cup and like cover most of it, you can get a little bit more channeled to your nose that way, but that doesn’t look very elegant.

John Puma: 21:49
No, it does not. Um, can get a little bit more funneled into my nose when I put my hand up. I, I’m getting some banana, um, but I don’t get a ton of anything.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:00
Yeah. What I’m picking up on is just general fruitiness and not, it’s not as distinct or, uh, I’m not able to pinpoint as much using this cup. So I think I’m pretty well decided that this is not the best for evaluating aroma. I haven’t even picked up the wine glass yet, but, you know, knowing this sake, I don’t think this is probably the best way to do it. So should we, should we give it a taste out of the ochoko?

John Puma: 22:28

Timothy Sullivan: 22:28
Yeah. All right. Hmm.

John Puma: 22:31

Timothy Sullivan: 22:31
Now that works just fine.

John Puma: 22:35
Yes. This is no problems here. I didn’t put my hand up or anything. It just tastes fine.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:39
That is a lovely, rich flavor to it.

John Puma: 22:42
Mm-hmm. There is a richness. There’s a little bit of fruit. there’s a nice texture.

Timothy Sullivan: 22:47

John Puma: 22:50
I don’t want to go as far as to say silky or anything like that, but it is just enjoyable to kind of let it, um, play in the mouth a little bit. Really nice.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:01
Yeah, it’s, it’s, for me, it’s a, it’s a bit on the rich side and not gohyakumangoku is the sake rice here, and that’s known for being generally more airy and not delivering those bombastic fruit flavors, like those tropical fruit flavors. So we’re getting a little bit more, uh, restrained fruit profile, I think here. and not like, uh, pineapple or mango or anything. None of those tropical fruits

John Puma: 23:31
no. I’m getting a tiny bit of like a, There’s a little bit of an ethanol on the tail end. Um, but it clips dry before it becomes a problem, uh, and so it’s really nice. It’s, it’s kind of like a nice little burn, a tiny little bit of a burn at the end. It’s really nice and, and it compliments the richness very well.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:51
Yeah, so you’re picking up on a little bit of heat at the finish on the finish. Yeah. All right, so we’ve had our experience with the Kiki choko. Let’s move to our traditional stemmed wine glass, and I’m gonna give this a swirl and then we’ll give it a smell.

John Puma: 24:11
Oh, Tim. Low and behold, there’s a little bit more nose this time.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:15
It’s really striking, isn’t it?

John Puma: 24:17

Timothy Sullivan: 24:17
much more aroma available. You give it a swirl.

John Puma: 24:23
And it’s a really enjoyable aroma. Like it’s, and it’s, again, it’s still not your tropical fruit, but it is. You’re definitely getting more fruit than you were before. Hmm. And, um, I want, like, I wanna add earlier when I was having it out of the, um, the Kiki Choko, I think I had said like I was getting some hints of banana, but here it seems to be a little bit more on, a little bit more subtly, melon-y.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:49
Hmm. Interesting.

John Puma: 24:51
this is more of that gentle wafting from the other room. This is not punching in the face with aroma, uh, but it’s still really nice. Hmm.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:01
Yeah. I feel like I’m picking up on, some of the. Really crisp seeded fruits like pear or apple. A little bit of that going on for me.

John Puma: 25:12
Apple. Yes. Specifically those like those, those, those more autumnal varieties.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:17
Yes. Like uh, cider apples, things like that.

John Puma: 25:20
That makes more sense to me. Oh, cider, that’s a really good, Mm, yes. I don’t know if it’s a power suggestion, but uh, but I get it.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:30
Yep. Yeah. So. Let’s give it a taste outta the wine glass. Hmm. That works.

John Puma: 25:43
Yeah. honestly, I feel like I’m getting a much more complete picture of this sake now because I am getting that aroma. Inhaling when I sip it and I’m getting the entire experience, I feel like I was really missing out on the aroma coming out of the kiki choko. And I think it’s, part of it is that I’m so accustomed to tasting out of the wine glass, uh, and I’m, I’m kind of like, that’s what my, my expectation is that experience.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:11

John Puma: 26:12
And so having it, having the nose be so muted was a little bit, a little bit stark for me. A little bit, uh, a little bit weird.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:18
Yeah. You know what occurred to me earlier? We were talking about the history of the Kiki choko and how it’s been used over decades in Japan to evaluate sake at a professional tasting situation. And it made me think like maybe 50, 60 years ago, the primary concern, maybe it was the clarity of the sake and not the aroma,

John Puma: 26:42
Could be, it might be the filtering techniques weren’t as good back then, and so you wanted to, like you show off how well filtered your sake is.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:50
Yeah. The. The super aggressively charcoal filtered, like watercolored sakes were very popular

John Puma: 27:00
It’s a big, Niigata

Timothy Sullivan: 27:02
Right. Led by niigata, but

John Puma: 27:05
Really? Oh wow. I was making a joke. But as you mentioned earlier, there’s something to be said about the uniformity of having everybody on the same plane. I have a wine glass, but this wine glass is one that I’ve chosen because I feel like I get. The aromas of sake really well, and really focused for me when I sip out of it. I imagine that other people, and there’s, there’s probably hundreds of different wine class designs that other people are more comfortable with that, that do that for them. Uh, so you know the uniformity when you’re doing something where you’re having a comparison, really it does matter.

Timothy Sullivan: 27:42
So, you know, that made me think a little bit. The different evaluations that are done. And I looked up some photos from the US National Sake Appraisal, which happens in Hawaii every year. And I don’t know what the situation is, this year, but I looked up some photos from past years of judging, and they’re using the Kiki choko on the table.

John Puma: 28:07

Timothy Sullivan: 28:08
and then I looked up the I W C judging, which happens in London and they’re using wine glasses on the table.

John Puma: 28:16
Ooh. Scandal.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:17
Well, no, just, just different. Like it’s interesting, I think that the more traditional way to judge the sake would be the Kiki choko, this vessel dates back longer and is more connected. The Japanese style of judging. But the IWC is born out of a Western tradition of wine tasting and they’ve picked up the wine glass. So it does make you think these different competitions are judging the sake using different vessels. Is it apples to oranges? Interesting.

John Puma: 28:50
it’s very interest. we do not One day. One day we will

Timothy Sullivan: 28:58

John Puma: 28:58
check back here at Sake Revolution for more

Timothy Sullivan: 29:01
All right. Well, I know I’m not gonna be using my Kiki choko for my everyday drinking.

John Puma: 29:08

Timothy Sullivan: 29:08
Probably not right.

John Puma: 29:10
No. this is a, a really interesting tool. It really does help you understand the clarity. It really does help you find the color, but it’s missing the aroma. And Tim, as you pointed out, it’s just that maybe wasn’t a factor when this became the thing they used.

Timothy Sullivan: 29:26
Yeah, you know, it’s about the surface area and the, the mouth of the vessel, like the mouth is wide and open and short, so it’s close to the surface of the sake. And as that surface area get ex gets exposed to the air, more of those aroma compounds can escape out the sides and you don’t get it funneled to your nose, so you don’t get that concentrated hit of. Aroma. So it, it is not an ideal vessel, I think for evaluating the aroma. So we, we might be living in a transition period to a new, a new type of, evaluation vessel. And I think that it goes back to what you and I have always said, which is drink out of the vessel that you enjoy the most. Right.

John Puma: 30:11
Love it. Yeah. Um, I personally hate it when my compounds escape out the sides, so I want things to be funneled right into my nose. Uh, so yes, definitely. I like to use a nice narrow, uh, narrow top wine glass because everything has no place to go. It can’t escape. It only can go into my face.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:28
You want to get every Esther, you paid for

John Puma: 30:31
Everyone. I’m, I pay for the esters. I want every single one. I want my money’s worth.

Timothy Sullivan: 30:35
Yes. All right. Well, this was very, very fun. I had so much fun talking about the Kiki Choko. If our listeners at home have a chance to taste sake, out of the 180 Milli. Kiki choko, definitely give it a try. Compare it to a wine glass and for sure, let us know what you think about tasting from a Kiki choko. And if you see that blue and white logo at the bottom of your cup, give us a shout out hashtag #SakeRevolution. Let us know you spotted a Kiki choko in the wild, and uh, we’d love to hear from you. So fabulous to taste with you, John. I wanna thank all of our listeners for tuning in. Thank you for listening again this week and a special hello and thank you to all of our patrons. If you’d like to learn more about supporting Sake Revolution podcast. You can visit our community on Patreon. The URL is Patreon.com/SakeRevolution.

John Puma: 31:36
And if you have sake, questions that you need answered. Do you have issues with your esters getting out the sides? Uh, you can contact us at [email protected]. We also have a nice little contact [email protected] as well. Um, in case you don’t like using mail clients anymore, I totally get it. But until next time, please raise your glass. Remember to keep drinking sake

Timothy Sullivan: 32:02