Electronic musician brings boutique sake line to UK millennials

Electronic music icon and Sake Samurai Richie Hawtin has introduced his boutique sake collection ENTER.Sake to the UK, aspiring to make the Japanese rice wine approachable for millennial drinkers, writes Annie Hayes.

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After exploring the world of sake for 20 years during extensive trips to Japan, Hawtin launched the range four years ago at his DJ residency at Space club in Ibiza. Here he hosted Europe’s largest sake bar, ENTER.Sake, featuring unique offerings previously only available in Japan.

The brand made its UK debut at an exclusive pop-up dinner, Senses, at London’s Village Underground, which featured a bespoke and varied menu by The Palomar in Soho, followed by a DJ set by Hawtin.

The range will now be made available by Enotria&Coe throughout the UK in both the on- and off-trade.

Speaking at the launch, Hawtin said: “Over the last ten years I’ve been travelling to Japan, studying to become a Sake sommelier, going to breweries in-between my gigs and dreaming of helping the world of sake come to the international market.

“Right now a lot of the sake breweries in Japan have been closing and there’s a lot of tradition and craftsmanship that we’ve been losing, and I thought that was really something that shouldn’t be happening. I thought with my background in music, and my background of connecting to young people in clubs, my background of making techno music, making records that look cool – and when you listen to them, they sounded as good as they looked – all these things are distilled into the ENTER.Sake project.

“However the most important thing is what’s in the bottle – which is pure, authentic Japanese sake.”

The range consists of six variants: Black, Silver, Sookuu, Shuhari, Aramasa and Revolutions, each personally selected by Hawtin from breweries spanning different Prefectures in Japan.

ENTER.Sake Black is categorised as a Honjozo, and hails from Sekiya Brewery in Kitashitara-gun, located in a mountain valley pass in the Japanese Alps between Nagoya and Nagano.

With a rice polishing rate of 65%, the sake is described as a clean and pure in style, with “white mountain flowers” on the nose and a soft, silky texture. A cleansing acidity “provides good structure” and “a subtle fruitiness” with hints of mango, peach and pineapple.

Also from Sekiya Brewery, ENTER.Sake Silver is an “aromatic” Junmai Ginjo sake with honeysuckle on the nose and floral notes of cherry blossoms. At a polishing rate of 55%, this style offers “good weight on the palate” with notes of mango, Asian pear, and honeydew melon, and a “clean, smooth” finish.

unknownENTER.Sake Sookuu is a “weighty” sake in Junmai style, created at Fujioka Brewery in Kyoto, and has a polishing rate of 60%. The palate has “clean, fleshy rice” notes with sweet Asian pear and “a silky weight and texture”. The sake offers an umami finish with “lingering acidity”.

From Matsumoto Brewery in Kyoto, ENTER.Sake Shuhari, is a “rich, fleshy” sake of Junmai Daiginjo style, with a polishing rate of 50%. The nose offers honeysuckle and lemon pith, which is followed by white peach, ripe pear and winter melon on the palate and an “incredibly long” finish.

ENTER.Sake Aramasa is a Junmai Daiginjo style sake with a polishing rate of 50%. This sake is Kimoto-Brewed, fermented in Henoki Ceder Casks, and aged for 45 days in neutral oak barrels, giving it a “very soft, gentle, ‘nama’ feel in the mid palate” with notes of Asian pear, dried mango and praline. It has a “long, clean” finish.

The final sake in the collection, ENTER.Sake Revolution, is made in collaboration with Dassai. With a polishing rate of 23%, this expression is finished by spinning the liquid in a centrifuge press – not dissimilar to a record turntable – which yields a smoother sake. It bears tropical notes of pineapple, ginger and green melon on the palate, with a dry, slightly mineral finish.

Graham Gardner, of ENTER.Sake UK, said: “I am pleased to announce that Enotria&Coe have started distributing the range of sake to the on-trade.

“In keeping with Richie Hawtin’s goal of introducing quality sake to younger drinkers and many varied styles of cuisine, Enotria&Co are an ideal partner with their access to a broader base of potential consumers and the ability to showcase sake as an accompaniment for more than just Japanese food.”

Hawtin achieved the Advanced Sake Professional Certification, and was recognised as an official Sake Samurai by the Japanese Brewers Association for his efforts in promoting sake overseas in 2014.

The range is set to reach restaurants, bars and wine stores across the US and Europe.

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