A few months ago, attending a large spirits and cocktail event in Tokyo, we heard word of some new, and extremely exciting Japanese gins coming to the market.
Being a rather British drink, this news was very satisfying to us here at dekanta, as we truly love any beverage, liquor, or speciality Japan has to offer. What’s more, these products could not have come at a better time, as the “craft” gin wave continues to take over the world month after month.
According to statistics, gin consumption has risen sharply in the past few years, as the image of gin has transformed from our grandparents go-to drink, a young, fresh, sexy, low-calorie spirit for all. Always ahead of the game, the Japanese have taken this growing global trend into consideration, and waited for the perfect time to introduce Japanese gin to the world.
Like the term “Japanese gin” wasn’t enough to get us excited, it’s actually Suntory and Nikka, the major super-powers in the Japanese beverage and alcohol industry, that will be leading the Japanese gin movement in the West.
Yes, now is the time to get really, really, really excited!
Suntory is releasing a gin with amazing Japanese ingredients and branding, while Nikka is adding to the Coffey collection, going with the minimalistic, hipster image. Japan’s first gin distillery, Kyoto Distillery, is a little smaller, but has seen considerable success since it’s launch last year.
Japanese whisky has beaten competitors globally, but that wasn’t enough- now they’re heading into a new category and facing new competition, fully armed to compete on the global gin “stage.” Here’s what we have for you today.
If there was ever a sexy-sounding gin, then it’s Suntory’s ROKU. Listen to this – Named Roku, which means the number six in Japanese, the gin is infused with six Japanese ingredients, and an extra eight used traditionally in gin production.
The big botanicals used are the Japanese ones though, and include cherry blossoms, cherry leaves, green tea both whole and refined, Japanese pepper and yuzu citrus.
In a sleek bottle featuring engravings of the Japanese botanicals, Roku is expected to come to the West at the end of the year.
Don’t worry though, we’ll have it available on dekanta after the Japanese release date in the beginning of July.
So, gin lovers all over the world can enjoy a summer full of refreshing Suntory gin and tonics!
Nikka’s Coffey collection, comprising of the Coffey Malt Whisky and Coffey Grain Whisky, was introduced to huge success, and the popularity of the products has continued to grow both domestically and internationally. So, it makes perfect sense that Nikka have added both their new gin and vodka products to the Nikka Coffey Collection.
According to Asahi, owner of Nikka, their new gin is infused with “the refreshing scent of Japanese citrus, which harmonizes with the spicy fragrance of Japanese pepper. It features a sweet mouthfeel that brings forth rich and a complex flavours, and a wonderful aroma derived from the botanicals used.”
Judging by the popularity of the other Nikka Coffey products, and Nikka’s pristine reputation in general, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Nikka’s new gin may quickly become one of the most popular gins around.
Let’s wait and see!
The product will be released in the Western market in September, but we’ll have it available after the 28th of June, when the product debuts in Japan!
These three, wonderful gins were produced by the Kyoto Distillery, which claims to be the very first artisanal gin distillery to open in Japan. The distillery’s image is very Japanese, and each bottle produced there comes infused with the culture of traditional Kyoto.
The distillery team have worked hard to create a great gin, and have succeeded, using many local ingredients sourced from the Kyoto countryside. The distillery also uses a unique method of distillation, where each botanical is distilled separately and then blended together. This method is more expensive, but is said to bring out the flavour and aroma of each botanical more effectively.
Head distiller of Kyoto Distillery, Alex Davies states, “To create our gin, we have been mastering not only the science of distillation as others have done before, but also the age-old art of blending. We break down the botanicals in our gin into six different categories: Base, Citrus, Tea, Herbal, Spice and Floral and then distil these separately before blending them back together again.”
Ki No Bi is the company’s best-seller and signature gin. Translated as “the beauty of the seasons”, this gin is created using local ingredients including yellow yuzu from Kyoto, bamboo, gyokuro tea, ginger and Japanese hinoki wood chips.
It is bottled at 45.7% ABV and distilled using a rice spirit base and peerless water sourced in the famous sake–brewing district, Fushimi.
Ki No Tea is a limited release by the distillery, made with teas including Tencha and Gyokuro as botanicals, which bring forth intense aromas and deep, sweet flavours which occur when the green teas are distilled.
In collaboration with tea grower and blender Horii Shichimeien, a company which dates back to the Meiji era in 1879 based in Kyoto, the company worked to bring this unique expression to life. Love green tea? Then this will not disappoint.
Ki No Bi Navy Strength comes in at 54.5 ABV, offering a smooth intensity not found in many gins. It is distilled in the same way as the flagship Ki No Bi, but with a “recalibrated” recipe to “bring out the best of each botanical at a higher proof”. This bottling was released at the 2017 Tokyo BarShow earlier this year.
There you have it, the most exciting, innovative, and pioneering gins made in Japan are now on dekanta, ready to be tasted by gin-loving, thirsty fans in every corner of the world. We can’t guarantee that stock will last, so get a taste before it’s too late.