Gin Review: KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin 45.7% ABV

KI NO BI Kyoto Dry gin has us very very excited. We’d heard about it a while ago and were very intrigued by the idea of a Japanese Gin. After all there are Japanese whiskies on the shelves of prestigious Whisky bars rubbing shoulders with the finest single malts and so how would an artisan Japanese craft gin fair in a crowded marketplace?

The first thing of note is the base sprit, KI NO BI Dry Gin uses a rice base spirit. Then there are the botanicals, the team at Kyoto Distillery use a selection of Japanese botanicals sourced where possible from in and around Kyoto, the obligatory juniper accompanied by orris, ginger, bamboo leaves, red perilla, lemon peel, yuzu peel, sansho pepper, kinome leaves, Gyokuro green tea and Hinoki wood.

So it’s true to say that for us tasting this gin was going to be a completely new flavour experience, and so how does it taste?

The nose is bright and has intriguing subtlety. It leads with fresh eucalyptus juniper accompanied by round green herbal notes, there is an underlying sweetness and a hint of ripe fruit.

Tasted neat the lead is crisp bold juniper followed by dry spice and a very pleasant wave of pepper activation which yields to a full mouthed warm round sweetness. This gin is really very, very good sipped neat on ice. The creamy mouth feel comes into its own and the flavours build as you sip with a subtle warmth and the tea notes coming through with successive sipping. This is a rewarding gin that deserves to be sipped, contemplated and lingered over. It will make an exceptional Martini (we will switch out the vermouth, watch this space!).

With Tonic (Fever-Tree regular, we added less than usual settling at a 1:1 proportion) the bright bitter notes really pop at the start, the citrus and floral top notes are accentuated and pleasing biscuit tea notes come through in the linger. Hints of warming ginger comes through with successive sipping but never overwhelm.

KI NO BI Kyoto dry gin sets a very high bar for artisan craft Japanese gins and we look forward to welcoming to our shelves.

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