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Suntory Roku Gin, 43% abv, €45.00 at 34 O’Brien’s Off Licences and O’Brien’s online
There’s a whiff of the evergreens when you nose this, floral and citrus notes also. Clean and freshon the palate too, the aromatics still pleasantly at play. Quite a backbone of savoury notes too as you realise that this well-balanced gin is a good one, one that lives up to its premium tag.
With tonic (Fever tree regular), the nose remains clean and fresh. Give the mix a bit of time and more of the flavours and aromas of this nuanced gin emerge before a dry lingering dry finish, a touch of tannin at the finalé.
Roku means six in Japanese and six, including the Kanji symbol, is all over the hexagonal bottle. Indeed, there are six Japanese botanicals inside: Sakura (cherry) flower, Sakura leaf, Yuzu peel, Sencha tea (green tea), Gyokuro tea (refined green tea) and Sanshō pepper. And each, delicately embossed, has a side of the bottle to itself.
“Each has been harvested at the peak of its season to extract the best flavour, and distilled to fully embody the blessings of nature.” Four distinct types of pot stills are used in a process unique to the "Liquor Atelier", the specialised craft distillery for Suntory spirits, whereby “the botanicals are distilled separately according to each feature of botanicals to extract the best flavour and maintain their individual characteristics. For instance, the delicate scent of cherry blossom is drawn out through vacuum distillation in stainless pot stills, whereas the deep flavour of yuzu is achieved by distillation in copper still pots”.
There is of course a big nod to the gin tradition so juniper berries, coriander, angelica seed and root, cinnamon, cardamom, bitter orange and lemon peel are also in the mix.
I’m certain the mixologists will find many applications for this excellent gin. Roku themselves offer just one recipe. They believe that the warm, pungent flavour of ginger further highlights the unique quality of the Japanese botanicals and so they give us the the Roku Gin and Tonic, their Perfect Serve that “evokes the style of Japan”.
Use six thinly sliced sticks of ginger
Pour 5cl of ROKU into a measuring glass.
Add the ginger sticks and ROKU to a long glass filled with ice and tonic water.
I've tried this GG&T a few times and it is indeed very enjoyable. I tried re-using the ginger sticks in the next glass as well and it seemed to heighten the partnership in this Perfect Serve. Or was that just the second glass effect?