I somehow came across eat-Japan.com and was thrilled to find that they have an issue of their magazine nearly entirely devoted to saké. I ordered a copy from London and it arrived this week. Happily, it is big and glossy and gorgeous and full of information on saké.
The supervising editors of the issue are Haruo Matsuzaki, "one of the foremost saké critics in Japan today" (and a contributer to Philip Harper's new book which is scheduled to be released in October) and John Gauntner, "the leading non-Japanese saké expert in the world." As you would expect with two such illustrious saké experts as editors, the issue covers all aspects of saké, including brewing, saké types and tastes, how to enjoy saké, and much more.
I found the article on saké breweries particularly interesting. The photography allows a glimpse into the world of kura (saké breweries) which most people don’t usually get. You can read all you want about the intense working conditions, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…
Possibly the most useful information is the section on specific breweries with descriptions on some of their saké. Each saké is illustrated with a nice color photo, so it is easy to match the saké you are drinking in your home to the ones being described. Of course, these are saké available in London and I’m not sure that they are all available in the US, but I recognized many that I’ve either tasted or seen.
It cost about $28.00 including shipping to the US, a bit much for a 120 page magazine, but I think it is well worth it for those who, like me, like to get all of the information on saké that they can find.