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  • Writer's pictureSake Buddha

WSET Level 1 Award In Sake Class

After months of anticipation and studying I finally had my WSET Level 1 Award in Sake class and test offered by the Sake School of America.

After I registered and paid for the course I received the course materials in the mail. It was nice to get a head start studying and to see what I can expect to learn. They day finally came and I was a little bit nervous. I wasn't sure how hard the test was going to be, but I knew I would learn a bunch from the class.

I was nervous for another reason. The class was going to be taught by Timothy Sullivan. He is the creator of and has been awarded Sake Samurai status. That award is given to experts in the sake world for people who have done extraordinary things to help promote and spread the love for sake around the world. There are not to many people who were given this award.

My fears were instantly dissipated the instant he introduced himself. Mr. Sullivan is one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. He is extremely humble as well and didn't really give any indication of how big of a name he is in the sake world. He only introduced himself as the creator of, explained how he got interested in sake, talked about the year he worked in a sake brewery. and casually mentioned he was a brand Ambassador for Hakkaisan Sake.

Mr. Sullivan then began teaching the course in such a way that everything was easy to understand. He covered the brewing process, certain sake terminology, the different style of sake cups and servers, and even gave tips to easily learn and memorize some kanji required for this level.

Another item covered by the test was tasting sake. It was not a requirement for the award, but an intro to tasting was given. We tasted a wide variety of sakes and also experimented with how sakes tasted chilled and warm. We also experimented how different food flavor profiles effected the way the sake tasted. It was interesting to experience.

My overall experience is that the class was great for being introduced to the world of sake. It was not to overbearing and I would call it perfect beginner level material. I felt that getting the course material ahead of time helped to prepare for the class. Personally, the hardest thing for me was the tasting. It would be one area of my sake game I need to work on. I think with lots more practice (aka drinking sake) I will greatly improve this skill. However, I am really more interested in the sake brewing process than I am with anything else. I do not really have an interest in becoming a sommelier. I will need a lot more improvement in my tasting game for that.

I am still interested in learning more about sake. I do plan on taking the Sake Adviser class next. It seems like a nice intermediate level before the sommelier step. That is my next goal. I am not sure if I will take it before the end of this year, but I will put it on my goal list for next year.

I would love to end this post by say I received the award, but I am won't officially know for 2 more weeks. I am confident I did pass the test. I will definitely let everyone know my results either way.

I would also like to say if you are interested in learning more about sake go to and see if there is a class near you.

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