0 items in your cart

Guide to Futsushu sake

December 1, 2013

Browse futsushu in our sake shop.

Futsushu sake is the most popular type of sake in Japan, it accounts for about 75% of all sake produced (reminder of sake classifications), it is the equivalent of an everyday ‘table wine’. Abroad, futsushu is often overlooked in favour of the more polished ‘special designation’ sake. This is a mistake! Whilst there are some pretty rough and ready futsushu out there (because it is not as tightly regulated as ‘special designation’ sake) there are also some fabulous, easy drinking and inexpensive ones too. We highly recommend you experiment and try them out for yourself!


As there are so many different futsushu it is difficult to generalise. However, since the rice used to make this style of sake is (generally) not highly polished, we can say that both the fragrance and flavour are likely to emphasise the the rice and the koji notes.

Cheap and nasty futsushu will be unbalanced, unsubtle, taste strongly alcoholic and might be a bit of a chore to drink! By contrast, good quality futsushu is deliciously flavourful, smooth yet rich and incredibly easy to drink.


Ancient Mountain Signature Brew
 Ancient Mountain – great warm on winter days!  Signature Brew – dry, simple & smooth. A good session sake!


Tengu Sake has two fabulous futsushu in its range. Signature Brew enjoys a nose of banana and melon (quite unusual for a futsushu) followed by the more expected cereal, rice and caramel flavours. It is dry, rich and smooth; highly drinkable!
Ancient Mountain is a wonderfully warming sake, good for those cold winter days! It has notes of sweet cereal, soy and mushrooms on the nose and then smooth & creamy rice flavours that melt in the mouth. Both are fantastic everyday sake that never fail to make you smile!


If there was any type of sake that best suits being heated, futsushu is it. If well made the flavours will open up, mellow and harmonise resulting in a sake that is an absolute joy to drink. That’s not to say that futsushu cannot be enjoyed at room temperature too; however, generally speaking, you might mute the flavour and thereby be missing out if you drank it any colder.

Both Signature Brew and Ancient Mountain can be enjoyed from room temperature all the way up to 50-55°C.


As futsushu has quite a robust flavour profile it is wise to pair it with foods that have fuller flavours. Both of Tengu Sake’s futsushu have sweet notes to their flavours and so pair well with sweeter sauces: BBQ ribs, yakitori, etc. Rice and mushroom notes can find friendly foods too – a mushroom risotto pairs especially well with Ancient Mountain.