Crafted with six distinctly Japanese botanicals, as well as a host of traditional additions, Suntory’s Roku Gin is a bold yet elegant expression of the country’s rising craft spirit scene.
Anyone that’s been to Japan will know how important seasonality is in the Land of the Rising Sun. ‘To everything, there is a season’ is a mantra that takes on new importance in Japan, where the traditional and contemporary co-exist in sublime harmony. The four seasons are also the inspiration behind one of Japan’s leading gins, a complex and sophisticated spirit that balances sweet and earthy notes to perfection.
While we typically associate Japanese liquor giant Suntory with its world-famous whiskies, it also has a long history of making gin, one that reaches back to pre-WWII. Complex, luxurious but undeniably Japanese, Roku Gin is the modern expression of that spirit’s heritage.
Roku Gin is named for the six Japanese botanicals used in its creation – sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, sencha tea, gyokuro tea (refined green tea), and sansho pepper – each of which is harvested by hand accordingly to the timeless tradition of “shun”, or enjoying each ingredient at its peak perfection.
These coveted botanicals, which are chosen to represent the seasons that define life in Japan, are distilled individually by Suntory master distiller Kazuyuki Torii to ensure the best expression. For example, fresh sakura flowers are vacuum distilled to ensure their delicate floral notes remain intact, while the bold yet elegant yuzu is distilled in copper pot stills to maintain a balanced aroma.
These distinctly Japanese flavours are then joined by distillate made with eight more traditional botanicals, including juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander and cinnamon, to create a spirit with a unique, balanced and multi-layered flavour profile, one that adds a wholly-new element to tradition gin cocktails.
The result, presented in an eye-catching hexagonal bottle that includes a label made from traditional washi paper and featuring timeless Japanese kanji calligraphy, is a complex yet approachable spirit with earthy, vegetal notes and a touch of fruity sweetness that is accentuated by a layer of peppery spice.
Ginophiles will discover hints of green tea citron, as well as touches of palate-drying tannin that ensure that Roku Gin lends itself to the classic Martini to perfection, although it also works well in an elevated Negroni.
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