On 15th March we conducted market research with the passengers of Volendam and two journalists to determine suitability of Muroka(無濾過, unfiltered)-nama（生, unpasteurized）-genshu（原酒, no additional water）” category sake for the international market. We provided two types of sake, Muroka-nama-genshu using Yamadanishiki rice, and Jyunmai-ginjo using Gohyakumangoku rice. Both sakes are produced by the same sake brewery, using the Shizuoka yeast.
We sampled 33 people from 10 different countries (USA, Argentina, Russia, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Italy, Denmark, Finland and Mexico).
The Muroka-nama-genshu has a very rich aroma and good structure with pleasant acidity and a hint of sweetness. By contrast, the Jyunmai-ginjo has a relatively thinner body with a subtle, sophisticated aroma.
We were concerned that at 17-18abv, Muroka-nama-genshu was too alcoholic. (Jyunmai-ginjo is 15-16abv.) We were also concerned that the Muroka-nama-genshu might be too sweet for an international palate.
However most of our guests said the structure, sweetness and aroma were both unique and fascinating. They felt that the sweetness was pleasant, rather than overpowering. In addition, the majority felt that the appealing aroma masked the higher alcohol content.
One of the Canadian participants commented that the Jyunmai-ginjo tasted like traditional sake, whereas he preferred the sweeter variety. It’s wonderful to see that now people have more opportunity to try sake in their home countries, they are able to acquire a preference for different types of sake.
As new categories of sake emerge, we expect to see a transition from people trying sake for the novelty, towards a more sophisticated discernment and choice of sake.