Roku Gin Uses Unusual Botanicals To Create Unique Flavour
Japanese craft gin Roku is now available in SA, and as one of the first Japanese gins to be sold here, it's sure to be a favourite with local drinkers.
There is a good reason why gin continues to be such a popular spirit. Once you have the base ingredients down, you are free to play, and this can create truly remarkable flavours. We've seen evidence of this in the wide variety of gins now available from all over the world, from the dry or cucumber-dominant gins of the UK to citrusy gins from the USA.
Here in South Africa, local distilleries have showcased a wide variety of local botanicals, resulting in really interesting flavours. And now Japan has added to the mix with Roku Gin – and it is unlike any gin you've tasted before.
Part of Japan’s revered Suntory stable of brands, one of the country's most awarded spirits producers, Roku Gin is one of the first Japanese gins to land in South Africa. Jeanette Edwards, Beam Suntory international brand director, says, 'We are honoured to bring Roku Japanese gin to South Africa to offer gin lovers a chance to share the experience of a centuries-old tradition as a part of Japanese hospitality, omotenashi. A perfectly balanced gin, Roku is carefully crafted by Japanese artisans with skillful precision and meticulous attention to detail.'
This attention to detail is immediately apparent when you take your first sip. Verging on the sweeter side, this is a slightly playful spirit that has a distinct balance of flavours.
Roku showcases the best of its country by making use of rare native flavours. 'Roku' means six in Japanese, and this is indicative of the six botanicals used to make up the flavour profile of the gin.
The gin is first flavoured with traditional gin aromatics such as juniper berries, coriander, angelica root, cinnamon, and peels from lemon and bitter orange. Then, to enhance the gin and give it a unique and distinctive taste, Japanese botanicals are added. These are sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, sencha tea, gyokuro tea and sansho pepper.
The Japanese botanicals are harvested in accordance with shun, a tradition of harvesting ingredients at their absolute peak to ensure perfection. Roku then distils the Japanese botanicals using a selection of of different pot stills, each chosen to ensure the best flavour is extracted from each botanical. This is a process that is unique to Roku.
The detailed craftsmanship that goes into creating the gin itself also extends to the bottle design. Its hexagonal shape represents the six Japanese botanicals that Roku is made with. The bottle is finished off with delicate embossing and on the label, you will see the Japanese kanji symbol for six as well as subtle touches of gold. The label is also made from traditional washi paper. All these little touches make it feel as if you are having an experience rather than just a drink.
Because of Roku's slightly sweeter flavour, you can enjoy it on the rocks as well as with your favourite mixer. And if you want to have a Roku gin and tonic the Japanese way, add plenty of ice and slices of fresh ginger to complement the refreshing, citrusy top notes of yuzu in the spirit.