A prominent name in the world of sake, Dassai is famed for its premium, refined brews. Produced by Yamaguchi-based brewery Asahi Shuzo, the sake has been favoured by dignitaries and world leaders alike.
It made headlines in 2014, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented a bottle of Dassai 23 to US President Barack Obama during the latter’s visit to Tokyo. Renowned chef Joël Robuchon also once dubbed that very blend as “the best sake in the world”.
Dassai sake can be found at some restaurants here, but sake connoisseurs can now also get their fix at a dedicated pop-up bar at the newly launched Japan Food Town at Wisma Atria. The cosy 25-seater Dassai Bar is the first of its kind outside of Japan, and will stay open for only six months. The only other bar is located in Tokyo.
Patrons can expect exclusive sakes that were previously unavailable in Singapore. A highlight is Dassai Beyond, a premium handcrafted brew known for its rarity and top-secret production process. Rich, aromatic and smooth, the luxurious sake is one of the dearest options on the menu at S$60 for a tasting portion and S$1,100 per bottle. But for its excellent quality and wonderful taste, we say it’s a worthy indulgence.
Other noteworthy sakes include Sakura Sling (a saccharine-sweet reinvention of the classic Singapore Sling cocktail), Dassai Sparkling 50 (an unpasteurised and naturally carbonated drink), the iconic Dassai 23 — an exquisite blend made from rice milled to 23%, with notes of peaches and melons — and Dassai 39, which has a mellow and refreshing taste.
Centrifuged variations of Dassai 23 and Dassai 39 are also available. These brews have been put through a special centrifuge machine that separates the sake from its lees, which are basically leftovers of the production process. The result is a cleaner taste and a velvety texture.
All of Dassai’s sakes are made from top-grade Yamada Nishiki short-grain Japanese rice. During the manufacturing process, the outer part of the rice — which is filled with fat and protein — is polished away to obtain the prized starch at the centre of the grain. This starch is particularly ideal for fermentation. It is then brewed using water from the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture to produce sake.
Apart from sake, the watering hole also has a repertoire of bar bites such as preserved squid, smoked salmon, sea urchin sashimi and caviar. These are all designed to pair with the sakes and complete your drinking experience.
Dassai Bar, Japan Food Town, Wisma Atria, Level 4, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877, +65 6262 3465, www.japanfoodtown.sg