Sake Review: Karen Silk
Cindy Bissig has written an extensive article (https://sakegeek.com/sake-review-karen-sweet-junmai-lady-only/) on Aumont Sake Brewery (previously known as Ichishima Sake Brewery). As Cindy notes, the Karen series, with its lower alcohol level, sweet flavour profile, chic bottles, and affordable price tag, is being marketed at the younger, new-to-sake consumer.
The concept is interesting and has resulted in a drink that at first sip seems to be a cross between sake and wine.
I tried Karen Silk.
Karen Silk is sold in pretty light green bottles, designed to appeal to young ladies. It has a soft aroma reminiscent of ripe fruit, a refreshing acidic sweetness, and at the risk of stating the obvious, given the name, a silky texture. It is a Junmai-shu that is clear in colour. The alcohol content is 10%.
According to the brewery’s website, the sweetness comes from the oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides, found naturally in fruit, vegetables, milk and honey, are also quite common in traditional Japanese food. This means that it will have some familiarity to the novice consumer.
I recommend serving it chilled in a wine glass. Room temperature works too but accentuates the sweetness.
I think it can be drunk both as an aperitif and a dessert sake, although I would probably choose to have it after my meal. It would perhaps work well as a “welcome drink” at a party, or paired with a slice of strawberry shortcake…at a birthday celebration perhaps.
Other potential pairings include ice cream and chocolate. Pairing with strong salty dishes overpowers the delicate flavour and should probably be avoided.
In that sense, I think the brewery is spot-on developing a product for young ladies to enjoy with their conbini sweets.
So given this, it seemed appropriate to test out their product on my daughter, who recently turned 20 and has a sweet tooth.
My daughter liked the bottle design. She found it not too sweet but that is probably because she is in the cocktail phase of her alcohol journey. She wasn’t convinced of my cake pairing suggestion. Her suggestion was snacks – potato chips (AKA crisps) or French fries. She thought it would be a good accompaniment to vanilla ice cream, but not other flavours, as they would overpower the taste.