Every year the U.S. National Sake Appraisal is held in Honolulu, Hawaii, with ten judges from Japan and the U.S. evaluating roughly 300 sake entries in a blind tasting. When the judging is over, all the entries are presented for tasting by the public at The Joy of Sake. This event, with entries from every region of Japan and representing virtually every brewing style, is the oldest and largest sake-tasting event held outside Japan and gives an unparalleled perspective on the great variety of delicious sakes being produced today.
But it all happens in three hours, hardly enough time to appreciate even a fraction of so many wonderful sakes. With this in mind, The Joy of Sake sets aside “archive bottles” for sampling at small tasting sessions of around sixty people. Starting in October of 2006, these “Aftertaste” events have given people a chance to explore the nuances of around forty different sakes selected from a certain region or expressing a certain style.
Each Aftertaste begins with a 10-minute talk on an aspect of sake-making, followed by a 45-minute tasting. Then all the bottles are moved into an adjoining room with appetizer stations so that the sakes can be enjoyed as they are meant to be, together with food. This second, convivial phase lasts an hour, with each event winding up at 8:00 p.m.
Place: The Kahala Hotel & Resort (Honolulu)
Place: The Willows (Honolulu)
Place: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel Ocean Lawn (Honolulu)
Place: The Pig and The Lady (Honolulu)