Japanese Whisky’s are known for their nuanced flavours and so we were keen to try Roku Gin, made by the Japanese distilling giant Suntory.
Roku is made with 6 traditional Japanese botanicals selected and balanced to represent the four seasons, with an underlying scaffold of 8 traditional gin botanicals (juniper, coriander seed, angelica root & seed, cardamom, cinnamon, bitter orange, lemon peel).
The Japanese botanicals are Sakura flower and Sakura leaf (cherry blossom and cherry leaf), Sencha tea (green tea) and Gyokuro tea (refined green tea), Sanshō pepper and Yuzu peel. Sakura, the ornamental cherry is the spirit of Japan with the delicate blossoms representing renewal and the brilliant and ephemeral nature of life. In Japan Sakura begin to bloom in late January, with the cherry blossom front moving north through the islands till April. As we are in mid blossom season, with a few blossoms in Regents Park despite the snow, this is perhaps an auspicious time to be tasting Roku.
The nose is delicate and inviting. There is fresh pine with citrus top notes. Fruity floral notes of sakura (almost vanilla) ebb through, with underlying green savoury notes of tea.
Tasted neat Roku is aromatic, clean and fresh. Clear heady fresh pine with fruit floral hints lead followed by underlying notes of green tea. In the mid palate there is a bold punch of fizzy, fiery pepper which yields to a long dry, citrus bitter linger which rounds out with a hint of light vanilla sweetness. This is a clean, refined, elegant gin which is very good neat and makes an excellent martini.
With tonic (Fever tree regular) the nose is clean and fresh. Citrus leads and the green tea notes open out to initially give a dryer profile with a clear pepper bite and a long citrus bitter, dry linger. Give Roku a little time in the glass and the fruit floral notes of Sakura open out and literally blossom in the glass.
An elegant, nuanced and refined gin which makes an excellent additional to our shelves.