Junmai Sake is the purest form and means “pure rice” in Japanese. As such, premium Junmai are made exclusively by expert breweries using only rice, water, koji, and yeast – there are no other additives, which gives Junmai alcohols a unique quality overall.
The Ginjo sake is made with rice, of which 40% is milled, while 60% retain their original size. It has a wonderful aroma, and has a delicate and light flavour.
A junmai ginjo sake is a very particular type of sake. Junmai refers to a sake that is a pure rice wine, one that does not have any distilled alcohol added. Ginjo refers to the fact that at least 40% of the rice polished away during the brewing process. This process for a ginjo sake is done at lower temperatures, which takes longer, but produces a sake that is light and fragrant with greater complexity.
The Daiginjo sake is a type of Ginjo sake. It uses a rice mash made with sake rice that includes milled rice in a percentage between 35%-50%. This alcohol is high on fragrance and has a full body.
Junmai daiginjo-shu is the pinnacle of the sake world, along with the daiginjo above. This type of daiginjo sake is made without the addition of distilled alcohol. It has the highest standards of milling rates in the sake market with a minimum of 50% rice polishing and 50% remaining.
Tokubetsu Junmai and Tokubetsu Honjozo
Literally meaning "special," tokubetsu can come in front of honjozo or junmai to indicate a special quality of sake. Tokubetsu Junmai and Tokubetsu Honjozo have rice polishing ratio of less than 60% – same as Ginjo and Junmai Ginjo. But their characteristics greatly differ from the aromatic Ginjo type. When a sake is labeled Tokubetsu, the brewer is highlighting that one is special.
Honjozo sake uses sake rice which has a Seimai Buai (polish rate) or the degree of milling of 70%. The sake is made by adding brewer’s alcohol and is not as potent as sake that is made without the addition of alcohol. This addition is responsible for giving the sake a light and smooth body and flavour.
Namazake means that the alcohol is not pasteurized. All types of sake can be Namazake. Therefore, Junmai-sake, Ginjo-sake or any other types of sake can be Namazake. This type of alcohol needs to be refrigerated so that the flavour and aroma of the drink does not change.
Undiluted sake which does not have water added prior to bottling. Its has a higher alcohol level (around 18-19%).
Sake which is cloudy, due to the use of a coarser press or the addition of some of the lees after pressing. Nigori sake is therefore thicker, and while it is often sweeter as well, it can have a wide range of flavours.