You are currently viewing How to Drink Sake Like a Pro (Interview with Oliver Hilton-Johnson from Tengu Sake)
Oliver Hilton-Johnson, Tengu Sake

How to Drink Sake Like a Pro (Interview with Oliver Hilton-Johnson from Tengu Sake)

Oliver Hilton-Johnson is a Sake Specialist and Director of Tengu Sake, a sake imports, wholesale & retail company. Tengu Sake supplies quality Japanese sake and spirits to some of the UK’s finest restaurants and bars and is the recipient of the International Wine Challenge’s ‘Sake Merchant of the Year’ award 2016 – 2019. In November 2019 Oliver was named as one of the ‘Future 50’ drinks industry professionals to watch. Oliver has got a fascinating story about how he went from hating sake to falling in love with it and setting up one of the best and innovative sake importers in the UK.

I know Oliver from the Kikisakeshi Sake Specialist Course I took a few years ago where Satomi, whom I interviewed last time, and he were teaching us the art of sake. But you might have met him at one of many sake events in London before the current pandemic. So Oliver is a great guy and in the interview, he is talking about a lot very interesting stuff: how to drink sake, how to choose it and also provides very good sake tips.

Don’t forget, Sugidama Podcast now has a sponsor, London Sake, an excellent online sake store. London Sake has one of the widest selections of premium and craft sake available online today. They deliver across the UK and Europe, and with over 100 sake from 25 breweries, there really is something for everyone.

Using simple online tasting notes and sensible, affordable food pairings they help you find the perfect sake without any of the fuss. Listeners of the podcast can get a 10% discount Listen to the episode to get the magical code! London Sake: making sake simple.

Episode’s Content:

  • Oliver’s sake story
  • Sip or shot?
  • Hot or cold?
  • What food is great with sake?
  • Sake terminology: how to tackle
  • How to buy sake with confidence
  • What is the best way to store sake
  • Sake tips
  • Sake of the episode: Tatenokawa Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo


Sake mentioned:

Tatenokawa Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo
Tatenokawa Sake Brewery
Tengu Sake

Tengu Sake Main Website

Music used:

Wirklich Wichtig (CB 27) by Checkie Brown

Just Arround the World (Kielokaz ID 362) by KieLoKaz


Vocal: Svetlana


Alex is a London-based sake blogger, podcaster, IWC Sake judge and sake advocate. He is a publisher of the Sugidama Blog website and a host of the Sugidama Podcast. Alex has an International Kikisake-shi (Sake Specialist) qualification from SSI (Sake Service Institute). He sees his mission as expanding the awareness of Japanese sake among as many people as possible and helping the growing community of sake lovers to bring together beautiful Japanese sake and non-Japanese food as a way to build a better understanding between our cultures.

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