Dassai Banner

A belated Happy New Year to everyone as we get ready for our first sake tasting of 2017! Any guesses on what sake we’ll be featuring? I’ll give you a few hints. They once held the record for the smallest milled rice, they were the first brewery to have their entire line of sake designated as kosher and they produce a sake that is one of Malcolm’s all time favorites. Still haven’t figured it out yet? Okay, last hint, their name rhymes with “Popeye”? Yessiree Bob, that’s right … this Saturday we’re sampling Dassai Sake!

For those of you who don’t already know this, Dassai 50 was the sake that really got me (Malcolm) into drinking sake before we opened the shop. I remember having my first sip and being bewildered by the floral aroma and fruity flavors, wondering how sake could taste so darn good? The fact that Dassai 50 is so reasonably priced for a Junmai Daiginjo didn’t hurt as well. It soon became my everyday favorite sake and continues to be my “go to” sake today.

This Saturday we’ll be sampling three different sake from Dassai, including their super high end Dassai 23! For good measure, we’ll also be sampling some additional sake from Muromachi Bizen Maboroshi and Takenotsuyu for a total of FIVE different sake. Not a bad way to start off the new year if I do say so myself. So please join us this sake for our Dassai Sake tasting!


Saturday, January 28, 2017
5:00pm to 8:00pm

Here is the lineup for Saturday.


Dassai 50

Junmai Daiginjo

Malcolm’s favorite and the one that got him started, this Junmai Daiginjo begins with lively floral aromas and well rounded flavors of fruit and candy. Delicate and elegant yet flavorful and aromatic.

Dassai 39
Junmai Daiginjo

Very clean and balanced with soft fruity flavors, a mild acidity and a dry finish. For when you want something smooth and drinkable that is not too precocious.  The “39” in it’s name means the rice was milled down to 39% of it’s original size.
Dassai 23

“Ni-wari San-bu”
Junmai Daiginjo

Using Yamadanishiki rice that has been milled down to a ridiculously tiny 23% of it’s original size, this ultimate sake has a delicate fruity aroma and a refined flavor profile. Beyond smooth, this is the one sake you need to try.

 Junmai Ginjo

This flavorful Ginjo sake is made with 100% “Bizen Omachi” rice, which is quite rare, expensive, and difficult to obtain. It has a light and sweet aroma and is delicious chilled.

Bamboo Tears

Brewed gently in winter with Dewasansan and Miyamanishiki rice. Delicious and fresh chilled, but when warmed it progressively reveals layers of beautiful, soft flavors that had previously been sealed in. Fragrant and full bodied.

So please join us this Saturday for our DASSAI SAKE TASTING, and be sure to try Malcolm’s favorite Dassai 50.

Malcolm & Nadine Leong
The Sake Shop


Saturday, January 28, 2017
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Asahi Shuzo Brewery
Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo, is located deep in the mountains of Yamaguchi prefecture, the most southern prefecture of the main Japanese island of Honshu.

The brewery is owned and run by the Sakurai family and crafts only premium Junmai Daiginjo sake using almost exclusively high end Yamadanishiki rice.
Dassai Otter Festival
Otter Festival
The name “Dassai” translates to “Otter Festival”. Part of this comes from the ancient name for the area of Yamaguchi prefecture where the brewery is located.

In the old days, many otters could be found in the nearby rivers and streams of this area. The otters would often lay out the fish they caught on the shores of the river, just like they do at Japanese festivals. This led to the reference “otter festival” but there is also more.

A famous haiku poet named Masoka Shiki who lived over a century ago referred to himself as “Dassai” because of his propensity to scatter his reading material all over the floor of his room in the same manner that the otters would spread out their fish.

Mr. Shiki was instrumental in creating a revolution in Japanese literature during his time, and Asahi Shuzo shares a similar philosophy with him. Rather than become complacent with existing traditions and techniques, they also wish to reform and revolutionize how sake is made in order to produce a superior product.

Preparing Rice
When crafting their sake, Asahi Shuzo has always tried to incorporate the new along side the traditional. Some of their brewing methods make use of ancient tools and are done by hand, while others take advantage of extremely modern technology.
Dassai Cetrifuge
Dassai Centrifuge Machine
They’ve been the “first” in many areas including the first to use a centrifuge to “press” their sake as opposed to using a more traditional “fune” or large pressing machine.

Asahi Shuzo is also one of the first breweries to be able to brew sake year round, which allows them to put out a more consistent product.
Dassai Kosher

Kosher Sake?

Another unique distinction of Dassai sake is their certification as a kosher sake. This certification was not easy to achieve, and took over a year to finish.

Everything from their rice and yeast to all of the machines that they use were scrutinized and validated. Asahi Shuzo is the first sake brewery to have every sake they make be certified as kosher.
Dassai 23 Rice

Dassai 23 Rice
It once held the record of having the smallest milled rice and we’ll be sampling it this Friday. Super premium Dassai 23 is truly the sake that defines Dassai.

The “23” means the rice was milled down to 23% of it’s original size before brewing. This means 77% of the rice was polished off leaving a small itty bitty rice kernel.

The reason they do this is the center of the rice grain is where more of the pure starch is located. The outside of the rice grain is where most of the fat and proteins are located.

Pure starch produces a cleaner more elegant flavor while fats and proteins tend to produce more off flavors. As you can imagine, this sake is not cheap, but well worth it’s price when you consider the cost involved in producing it.

The Sake Shop
1461 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Ph (808) 947-7253
Fax (808) 947-7254
Twitter @sakeshop
Facebook The Sake Shop
Map: maps.google.com/maps
Metered parking available on King Street, Kaheka Street & Liona Street. Pay lot located behind our building. $2 for 1/2 hour Monday – Friday until 6pm and Saturdays until 2pm. All other hours $2 for 5 hours (paybox). Enter from Liona Street. Unfortunately we are unable to  validate parking.
Hours of Operation  
10am to 8pm Mon – Sat
10am to 5pm Sun