The most recent novelty from the Gin world comes from Japan. Created and produced in the region of Kyoto, Ki No Bi is inspired in the tradition of the region, and its name can be translated as “the beauty of the seasons”.
The production of Gin is still little ingrained in Japan, but the country has a strong tradition of Saké and Whiskey production, thus the production of Gin has arrived relatively naturally in a creative process which is based in respect for the original concept but with the addition of the obsession of “making it well” and regional botanicals.
In Ki No Bi’s palette of botanicals we find juniper, lemon peel and lily root, almost obligatory botanicals in a classic London Dry, but that’s just the normal botanicals in it. Organised in six separate families, the complete list is: juniper, lily root and hinoki shavings (base botanicals), lemon peel and yuzu (citrus), gyokuro (tea), ginger (spice), bamboo leaves and red shiso (florals) and Sancho pepper and kinome (herbs). This division is also the rule in production which is made in six separate distillations, one for each of the groups, and only afterwards are they distinct spirits blended. This process, ever more common in Gin production, allow the capture of the best essence of each group of botanicals, due to its more individual treatment. Finally, the mixture is diluted with Fushimi water, the district famous for the production of Saké. Elegance and smoothness are two qualities normally attributed to drinks from Japan and Ki No Bi is no exception. On the nose it is extremely smooth and the bouquet is so rich that it takes us straight to the mountainous landscapes of Japan. Yuzu takes centre stage, always backed up by juniper and the slightly spicy and floral taste of the ginger and Sancho pepper.
In the mouth, Ki No Bi maintains its smoothness, due to its alcohol base being produced from rice. However, it is a Gin that is fresher than the nose might have anticipated. The strong presence of the yuzu, the freshness of the ginger, the acidity of the lemon and the astringency of the green tea, gyokuro, make delightfully a long and firm flavour on the palate.