Just like how meal kits, household supplies, and makeup have all been turned into fun and exciting surprises in the form of subscription boxes and available on-demand, so has alcohol. Today’s spotlight is on Tippsy, a fine contender in the game of alcohol subscription boxes.
Tippsy’s spin on the typical alcohol subscription box? They feature just Japanese sake.
Sake is one of the world’s most dynamic drinks—but you might not know that based on what you’ve tried so far. If you thought Tippsy was just another alcohol delivery service that drops off alcohol at your door and leaves it at that, you would be so wrong.
Tippsy is actually a full-on tasting experience.
Unlike the ever-popular wine and beer, many people are not as familiar with what sake is. Tippsy is on a mission to turn that around!
Okay, so I’m sure you’re saying to yourself–Tippsy sure looks nice, but how does it taste? And is Tippsy Sake worth the money? We will dive into all of this (and more) in this post. Discover what we like and don’t like about this box and ultimately decide for yourself if it’s worth the money or not.
Without further ado, let’s get right into the unboxing and review of our First Tippsy Sake Box!
WHAT IS TIPPSY?
Tippsy is a niche alcohol subscription service that caters to both sake lovers and those trying to learn more about Japanese sake. The mission of Tippsy is to make sake simple and fun.
In fact, Tippsy is the first online retail platform to sell Japanese sake to those who don’t know how or where to buy good sake. Their platform makes it really easy for subscribers to easily find their favorite brand and streamlines the alcohol delivery logistics so they can focus on what matters–drink the freshest sake after it’s been delivered to their door!
What you’ll get: One sake box that comes with (6) 10 oz. bottles of sake + member pricing for over 400 types of sake online.
Frequency: Quarterly – First box is shipped immediately after sign-up, then you will be enrolled in the quarterly cycle (March, June, September, December)
Cost: $99 for 6 bottles, additional discounts with longer subscriptions.
Ships to: Free shipping across the US, some states excluded (due to complex alcohol regulations).
Skip or pause a month feature: Yes.
Click here to subscribe.
DEAL ALERT: Use this link and the promo code SAKESETS for 15% off assorted sake sets!
DEAL ALERT: Use this link and the promo code SAKEVIP to get 20% off your first month of the Monthly Sake Box.
TIPPSY SAKE: PROS AND CONS
- Good variety of different sake types to help learn the difference between them all
- Sake cards are easy-to-follow and informational
- Guided videos of sake expert really help to elevate the overall experience
- Assorted gift sets are available for one-time payment with no auto-renewal
- Cost of a quarterly subscription can be high for some people
- Not able to customize the types of bottles you receive
The act of making sake is a traditional art form that’s been celebrated for thousands of years. However, due to old restrictions on alcohol distribution from the Prohibition era in the U.S., this beautiful piece of art doesn’t reach most consumers in the U.S.
Sake still remains pretty mysterious to most alcohol consumers. Tippsy wants to become the disruptor here–their mission is to promote the beauty and artistry of Japanese sake and share it with the world!
Their goal is to build a large community of sake enthusiasts that appreciates the versatility of sake. They want sake to be reimagined and even seen as a viable drink option for any dining occasion, just like wine.
Okay, so now that we know about what Tippsy wants to share with its subscribers, let’s see if Tippsy delivers as they promise.
TIPPSY SAKE REVIEW AND UNBOXING
Every Tippsy subscriber will get the same first sake box. It comes with everything you need to start your sake-drinking journey—the Tippsy Sake Guide for beginners and mini bottles from the three main sake categories (junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo), as well as the popular cloudy sake known as nigori.
Each of the six bottles represents a different region of Japan and every sip is a small hint of the climate, water, geography, and culture distinct to that place.
Here’s what the website says about the first tasting box every subscriber will receive:
We’ve carefully chosen 10 oz. mini bottles to represent the wide selection found across Japan, including “Jozen” from the famous rice-producing region of Niigata, “Kuroushi” from Wakayama known for their silky junmai, and “Kudoki Jozu” by a brewery that excels in ginjo-grade sake. You’ll also sample “Tozai” from one of Japan’s sake capitals and bottles from two of Japan’s most sought-after breweries—“Senkin” and “Nanbu Bijin.”
Upon opening the box, we found all the sake bottles perfectly packed and securely fastened in their cardboard holders. On top were a few resources:
- Tippsy Sake Guide – a beginner’s guide booklet that teaches you the basics, including serving recommendations for every bottle.
- Individual sake cards – cards that provide a description of where the sake originates, its flavor profile, alcohol percentage, rice polishing ratio, and serving temperatures
We briefly scanned through the Tippsy Tasting Guide before even starting our tasting experience, just so we would go into the whole experience with a bit more knowledge!
The Tasting Guide was actually really interesting as we learned new things like what sake is made out of and what foods to pair our drinks with.
After doing a quick download of sake facts, it was time to begin drinking, whoo hoo!
We tried these all either at room temperature or chilled. We had also set up a charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, and fruits to accompany our sake. Some of the sakes mentioned that they would pair well with seafood–unfortunately, we did not have seafood prepared for our tasting. We’ll certainly be more prepared for next quarter’s box!
Our thoughts on each of the sakes are below.
Pro Tip: I would highly recommend watching the tasting video of the sake expert and/or reading the product cards before trying the sake. It will elevate the whole experience that much more!
Nanbu Bijin “Tokubetsu Junmai”
Nanbu Bijin’s “Tokubetsu Junmai” was a 2017 International Wine Challenge Champion sake and has graced many national and international dining scenes with its versatility and light taste. After trying it for ourselves, we noted how light and fruity it was and goes down really smoothly. This one pairs really well with cured meats and fruits like tangerines!
In the tasting video, it was noted that Nanbu Bijin’s factory was lost to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. We were happy to know that our purchase of Tippy’s Sake Box went towards supporting local Japanese breweries like Nanbu Bijin.
- Taste Profile: Light and dry
- Recommended Pairing: Sushi/Sashimi, Meat, Cheese
This sake is locally loved in Japan and we found it really easy to drink. The flavor consists of balanced rice sweetness with some white and black pepper spices hidden in it. It has more depth than the previous, and has umami undertones that linger on the tongue.
- Taste Profile: Light and dry
- Recommended Pairing: Meat, seafood, cheese
Kudoki Jozu “Junmai Ginjo”
This sake is made from a brewery founded in 1875 (!!!) that focuses all its resources on creating just ginjo-grade sake. This was was so unique in taste as it’s strangely reminiscent of green apples! This one goes well with sashimi, salads, and fruits.
- Taste Profile: Light and sweet
- Recommended Pairing: Sushi, sashimi, fruits
Senkin “Classic” Kamenoo
Senkin Brewing Company is a very popular brand in Japan as they introduced the sake industry to amazuppai, a flavor profile that balances sweetness and tartness. For the optimal experience, we decided to taste the Senkin “Classic” Kamenoo chilled, as recommended by the sake card. This one tasted very rich, with a cocoa-like, acidic texture (think cocoa nibs when sipping and you’ll actually taste it!).
- Taste Profile: Rich and dry
- Recommended Pairing: Seafood
Tozai “Snow Maiden”
Snow Maiden is one of the most unique sakes in our first box. It not only stood out from its looks (opaque and creamy), but also by its taste. This one caught us by surprise as it was a lot sweeter and creamier than the other sakes that came in the box. It’s no wonder because this one had one of the highest rice polishing ratios (70% while the others hovered around the 50’s).
- Taste Profile: Rich and sweet
- Recommended Pairing: Meat, cheese, shrimp, crab
The sake card described this ginjo sake as having the scent of plums, cherries, and raisins and having a bolder, fatter, drier body. While we were unable to get the hints of those fruity flavors (we are probably too beginner for this!), we were able to pick up on the “bolder and drier” factor. This one had a spicy, little zing at the end. If you are not a fan of that dry taste, this one may not be for you.
- Tasting Profile: Light and dry
- Recommended Pairing: Fish, meat
Our favorites from this box were definitely the Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai and the Kuroushi Junmai! Both were delightful and went down so light and easy.
MORE ON THE TIPPSY SUBSCRIPTION
Alright, so that was the first box. So what about the next box?
While your first Sake Box will be shipped immediately after your order is processed, your seasonal subscription will start with sake from the next scheduled box which is shipped in March, June, September and December.
If you received your first Sake Box in the month immediately prior to a shipping month, you will receive your next box in the following season to avoid receiving boxes in two consecutive months.
There currently is no customization with the subscription boxes at the moment, but subscribers are told what’s in their box before shipment. If you don’t like the bottles of the quarter for one reason or another, you do have the ability to skip a box or cancel the subscription up to three days before the shipping date.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IS TIPPSY WORTH THE MONEY?
VALUE: A subscription to Tippsy sake costs $99 per quarterly box. With longer commitment to additional boxes, you’ll even get further discounts on the per box cost. Each box comes with six bottles of sake, chosen by Tippsy’s sake experts, along with very informational cards describing the flavor profiles of each bottle.
Comparing this box to going out and hunting for sake to try ourselves, we thought this was a very affordable way to get curated sake and learn about sake. If we were to head out to our local beverage store or liquor store, we’d typically pay between $15 and $30 for an average bottle and anywhere from $50 to $200 for a premium bottle. The first Tippsy box contains 6 bottles with an average bottle price of about $25, which means the box’s retail value is worth more than what I had paid for it.
Not to mention, a lot of these sakes are hard to find in the USA. Plus, you get the sake expert tasting videos which only help to elevate the overall experience. Win-win! We love saving money while getting great experiences, don’t you?
While Tippy’s sakes weren’t the best we’ve ever tasted, we are confident they were worth the money spent.
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: All in all, we really enjoyed our first sake box. It was a very fun experience for us as beginners, learning all about the craft of sake from topics such as what goes on in the brewing process, its main ingredients, how to taste sake, and even how to serve types of sake depending on its type.
We thought the coolest part about our sake-tasting adventure was that we weren’t doing it alone (as beginners). Tippsy provided so many resources for us to not only learn about the traditional craft of sake making and the art of sake tasting, but also presented us with virtual sake experts! These are things you would usually have to fly to Japan for!
We loved how with every bottle, we were able to watch a quick Youtube video of a sake expert describing the sake to us and guiding us through the entire tasting experience, so that we could truly make the most of every sip.
BOTTOM LINE: Tippsy is a lot of fun to try, especially with friends, family, or even just your significant other. It may not be perfect, but two things are for sure–you will learn more about sake/Japanese drinking culture and feel like you’re being taken care of, just as you would at an in-person tasting class. You may very well also get drunk!
If you or someone you know is the type to find entertainment/adventure through food and drink, this subscription box is well worth it.
If you already know a thing or two about sake, you could save a few bucks by committing to longer subscriptions.
However, for true sake beginners, we’d recommend signing up for a shorter subscription to first determine if sake is your thing. If you end up enjoying it, you can sign up for a longer subscription length to take advantage of the savings.
DEAL ALERT: Use this link and the promo code SAKEVIP to get 20% off your first month of the Monthly Sake Box!
LOOKING TO GIFT SOMEONE A TIPPSY SUBSCRIPTION BOX?
Tippsy Sake Box makes a perfect gift to both sake beginners and long-time sake lovers.
You can select the Mini-Bottle Gift Set for a one-time payment with no auto-renewal or a digital gift card for more options. Shipping fee is not included.
DEAL ALERT: Use this link and the promo code SAKESETS for 15% off assorted sake sets.
We hope you enjoyed our review of Tippsy’s Sake Box. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy your very own sake tasting set too!
If you’re looking for additional alcohol subscription boxes to try out, check out the complete list of our favorites here.
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