C raft beer, craft whisky, craft cider… Craft saké?

I would be lying if I said I was a regular saké consumer. I’ve probably had some a handful of times, usually when out with friends eating sushi or enjoying some hibachi and even then I’ll usually opt for a nice Japanese whiskey first. So when the premium saké brewer, SakéOne, reached out to us to sample some of the premium infused craft saké’s they offer we leaped at the chance. All in all we received about six different samples and our first was one of the newest. Moonstone Cucumber Mint is the latest release from the brewer, joining previously released flavors of Asian Pear, Coconut Lemongrass (YUM!), and Plum. If you’re new to saké, it’s ok, so were we only a few years back. For many, saké is a big mystery. It isn’t a beer, a wine, or a distilled spirit. It’s simply saké. You can watch this video to check out how saké is mad e and get a bit more familiar with it first if you like! But let’s get into the review…

First Impression: Moonstone comes in a slick blue cobalt bottle that if you weren’t paying attention you might confuse for a bottle of wine. They recently went under some re-branding and although I didn’t see the previous looks I can say this one is catchy. When you first crack open the bottle it’s very soft and subtle on the nose. There is almost a light champagne aroma if you’re really trying to find something to compare it to. There’s the slightest bit of cucumber but the mint isn’t really noticeable.

Tasting: A spirit made from rice has a distinct complexity. We notice it in Horchata (Spanish spirit made with rice), we notice it in Baijiu (Chinese spirit made from rice) and it’s also noticeable in saké. It’s a bit like a slightly dry white wine but it’s very smooth and nothing overpowering. Much like in the initial aroma we got, we taste the cucumber, it’s very crisp and mixes in well with the base spirit but the mint while almost non-existent in smell is here VERY subtly. I would almost wonder if any more of a mint presence would through off the overall flavor they were going for because it’s very refreshing and very smooth from start to finish but the mint isn’t the dominating taste here like it can be in any vodka or even whiskey cocktails and infusions. I like the taste of mint, but in this one it takes a backseat and I’m a fan.

Price: $12.99 [750/ml]

Grade: A

Final Word: The presentation is solid, the cucumber and mint combination is balanced well between flavor and crispness and it has 12% alcohol, whats not to love? Oh and did we mention it’s sulfite free, vegan friendly, and kosher? This is made for pretty much everyone except children, pregnant women, recovering alcoholics. I can’t say I’ve had a large variety of saké but I can say if you’re new to the category it’s probably a great entry into saké.