We Harvest These Botanicals From All Over Japan: The Six Unique Flavors Behind Your New Favorite Gin | Japanese craft gin

The idea of ​​seasonality in what we eat has become popular in recent years, whether we think about the meals we prepare at home, or what we expect to see on menus when we dine out. But that’s probably not something many of us think about often when it comes to what we order at the bar. Yet more than a century ago in Japan, an innovative wine importer dreamed of creating spirits that spoke to the seasonal flavors of his country.

Inspired by the Western brands he was importing, Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii began producing new drinks calibrated to Japanese tastes. He did this by selecting ingredients familiar to the local palate that he could use in his liqueurs, and by adopting the concept known in Japanese as to avoid: the tradition of enjoying every food in its proper season, and only when the ingredients are at their peak.

In harmony with the seasons of Japan
From whiskey and wine, Torre moved on to gin, producing his first product, Hermes, in 1936. All these years later, with the added distilling expertise brought by nearly a century of dedication, his company, now known as the House of Suntory, remains true to see him. “He designed spirits for the Japanese taste and philosophy of life,” says Raffaele de Monaco, House of Suntory Group Brand Ambassador. “He was constantly striving to work in harmony with nature.”

The final product, served perfectly with ginger matchsticks

Which is why Roku Gin uses six unique Japanese botanicals – Roku means “six” – to create the perfect balance of flavors that represent the best of each season: those fleeting, delicious tastes and aromas that are themselves a distillation of a fleeting moment. In doing so, the craftsmen of the House of Suntory found a way to package an essence to avoid.

“We harvest these plants from all over Japan,” says de Monaco—but only at exactly the right time. summer scented tea; Sancho peppers, harvested in the fall; and the citrusy, winter-ripening yuzu fruit are all processed the same way: distilled quickly but separately, then blended to ensure every bottle of Roku is made with and by the seasons of Japan.

“We’re very proud of our expertise in the art of blending,” says de Monaco. “The team recreates the harmony of nature by arranging plants in one pure expression of the beauty and vibrancy of the Japanese year.”

Roku is a complex and elegant fragrance, with a floral and sweet aroma, a touch of subtle narcotic spice from sancho pepper and a juicy citrus undercurrent, all combined in a clear liquid of exceptional silkiness. Although it may take a year to make, it can be enjoyed at any time, and it is a complete Japanese experience to avoid.

Pairing notes
According to de Monaco, the best way to drink Roku is with a premium tonic, garnished with six fresh ginger matchsticks—”the same way you’d garnish sushi or sashimi,” he says.

Ginger is the perfect partner for the tart citrus of the yuzu, and the overall freshness and delicacy of the gin will work beautifully with similarly delicate dishes. “Roku and tonic are perfect with flavors of seaweed or with grilled prawns, and it will also enhance white meat dishes like Japanese-style chicken skewers.”

A bag of yuzu fruit
Citrussi yuzu is harvested in the winter

And, of course, it is the perfect companion for sushi and sashimi, as well as seasonal British dishes such as grilled asparagus and scallops or oysters. Matching with pleasures on the palate is the visual appeal of this iconic black and gold logo on washi paper. For the drinker, the authenticity of the cultural experience begins in the six-sided bottle, adorned with impressions of six Japanese plants that give Rocco its unique flavour.

“Hermès Gin was aimed at the domestic market, but Torrey’s dream was to create spirits that are Japanese in essence, yet recognizable everywhere,” says de Monaco. He’ll be proud of the dedication, expertise and carefully selected ingredients that together make Suntory’s Roku Gin a celebration of nature’s glories and, as de Monaco puts it, “Japan’s ambassador to the world.”

Roku is available to buy from Sainsburys

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