Water of Life - KI NO BI gin
Gin has experienced a renaissance and celebration the extent of which is yet to subside. Craft and micro distilleries are popping up left, right and centre including novelty ones and questionable variants.
Now, I have expressed my deep respect and interest for literally anything that comes from Japan, specifically when it comes to spirits, so needless to say that I was beyond intrigued when I first heard about a new distillery from Kyoto that is exclusively dedicated to channelling its alchemy in gin.
Kinobi roughly translates to the “beauty of seasons” and if Kyoto Dry Gin, the first emissions I was introduced to, is any indication, the seasons and the botanicals they produce are beautiful indeed.
The Dry Gin variant could be categorized as a London Dry variant with a Japanese twist, i.e. apart from the foundation that rests on the shoulders of the juniper berry and pepper tree buda, an interesting dimension is added with its similarity to sake as far as the rice base is concerned as well as sansho berries, Gyokuro green tea leaves, Yuzu citrus, Bamboo, Hinoki wood shavings (Japanese Cypress), et cetera.
The nostrils are tickled with fragrances that carry something idiosyncratic Japanese and what materializes on the palate is a rich melange that a lot of other gins are lacking, with an elongated finish reminiscent of the warming qualities of a nice green, slightly sweet tea.
The emphasis on tea is taking up a few notches with the more exotic KI NO TEA Kyoto Dry Gin, which evolved from a collaboration with Kyoto tea-grower and blender, Horii-Shichimeien, who selected a range of rare Gyokuru and Tencha teas to create a delicate green tea DNA that reverberates through this drop in a manner that made it even more enjoyable for me than the more traditional Dry Gin version.
When it comes to spirit, I usually prefer it neat, but it was interesting to see that Kinobi’s Dry Gin shines despite the subtleties of its flavours in a G&T and especially Martinis as well, as its citrussy elements dominate the conception in the best manner possible.
Despite the slightly higher investment, Kinobi’s expressions are something that anyone remotely interested in gin should experience, no matter if it is the regular Dry Gin or the even more robust “Sei” variation, which is the British Navy Strength variant and packs more of a punch without lacking harmonious elements.
image from company website