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Saké brewery commissions music to be played during production process

The maker of saké brand Dassai, Asahi Shuzo Co., has asked the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra to compose a piece of music that will be played in the brewery during the fermentation and maturation processes.

Dassai sake (Twitter)

In a statement sent out in Japan last month, the orchestra said that this project was a “world premiere”.

The song, to be written by composer Kaoru Wada following a visit to the brewery, will be called Dassai-Megaki, and is expected to be completed by this summer.

In a recent article by the Asahi Shimbun, Hiroshi Sakurai, chairman of Asahi Shuzo, admitted that he had “no idea” what effect the music would have on the saké.

He told the publication: “The sake might become milder. This is a new endeavor for us, and I am looking forward to the outcome.”

The piece of music is expected to comprise five movements, lasting 30 minutes. The first and second movements will be inspired by the fermentation and maturation methods respectively.

Speaking at a news conference on 26 February, when the project was officially unveiled, Wada said the music would reflect the flavour of Dassai sake and also the landscape of Iwakuni, where the brewery is located.

The orchestra will perform the symphony on 27 and 28 February next year at performances held in the Toyonaka Cultural Arts Centre and Shunan City Cultural Centre.

The effect of music on the perception of taste has been the subject of many studies in recent years.

It is claimed that loud music suppresses our ability to taste, while the type of music could have a bearing too.

One study found that classical music enabled cows to produce more milk, while many wineries play music while wines age in barrel.

Distilleries in the US have used reggae, hip-hop and blues to “enhance” the natural barrel-ageing process to create “musically matured” whiskies, Bourbons and rums. Indeed, in 2018, heavy metal band Metallica released a whiskey, revealing that they played bespoke playlists of their music to the barrels while it aged as part of a patent pending process.

The result of music on the production of saké remains to be seen.

According to Asahi Shuzo Co., its Dassai brand is responsible for 15% of the total value of exported Japanese saké. It also has a number of projects overseas. In 2018, the brand teamed the late French chef Joël Robuchon to open a restaurant and tearoom called La Boutique Dassaï Joël Robuchon in Paris.

In 2017, the saké maker announced plans to open a brewery in the US. It hopes to open the 4,877m2 facility this year.

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