Roku Gin review and tasting notes of a delicious Japanese spirit
The Roku Gin comes from the Suntory distillery, the same company that also produces Hibiki whiskey, famous for the grace and precision of its malt distillates. And this gin also follows the path of the other Suntory products, offering graceful aromas, a strong but elegant taste, pleasantness and a very delicate finesse of aromas.
It is not a classic London Dry gin, do not expect the strength and muscularity of English gins, it looks much more like American gins, full of delicate flowers and aromas, designed not to weigh down and plane the palate, but to caress it with a cascade of petals.
And in fact, the peculiarity of Roku Gin is that everything revolves around the number 6. Roku means 6, the sides of the massive bottle are 6 and, in addition to the classic botanicals such as juniper, orange peel, cardamom and cinnamon, also the Japanese botanicals used to make this gin unique are 6, all strictly Japanese. Everything has been studied in detail to distill each essence individually and condense the aromas and flavors of the four Japanese seasons and also a certain alcoholic stillness in this gin. The Japanese whiskey distilleries, the producers of sake, of beer, but also of wine are renowned for their precision, the care of the product, the spasmodic and fetishistic search for an aesthetic and maniacal technical perfection, at the cost of making the products stylized. The beauty of the Japanese is that they also interpret spirits through their eyes, traditions, their sensitivity and then replicate them, shape them to their liking.
For this, they are able to take a usually rough and vehement distillate like gin and turn it into an alcoholic haiku. From a Breton-style epic poem to poetry under the cherry trees in bloom. Everything is delicate in the Roku gin, don’t expect a battle or earthy gin.
Botanicals used to make Roku gin
Let’s start with the classics: juniper, lemon and orange peel, cinnamon and coriander. To be able to bottle the flavor of Japan, however, Suntory went further and this effort to create a gin with a strong territorial imprint must be recognized. Particular botanicals have been collected, a symbol of Japanese culture, seasons and tradition, at the peak of their ripening-flowering. And as mentioned there are 6: leaves and flowers of Sakura, which is the Japanese cherry tree, represent spring. Two types of fine green tea such as sencha and gyokuro represent summer. Sansho pepper represents autumn and is excellent for giving freshness and mentholated flavors and aromas. But don’t be fooled, it’s not real pepper or chili, but only Sichuan pepper, which has almost nothing spicy. And then we close with what is the most typical fruit of Japan, the yuzu, which represents and ripens in winter.
The bouquet of Roku gin
Delicate nose, punctuated with floral finesse. Juniper dominates, the most aromatic and pungent, but the beauty of this gin is that it opens like a fan, offering a thousand shades, many faces, petals of perfumes that fly in an incredible kaleidoscope. The aromas are clean, sharp, citrus and pepper chase each other, green tea, chlorophyll, ginger, the slightly smoky tones of pepper and then obviously there are spices to frame. The tone is very cold and pungent, but extremely elegant.
The taste of Roku gin
On the palate, it is sharp as a blade, cold in its mineral development and super mentholated, but never aggressive. It moves gracefully, alternating resinous and peppery flavors that give warmth and modulate a measured elegance. Although it has 43 degrees, it is not a particularly explosive distillate like alcohol, it does not explode in the mouth, it does not burn your throat, but the sensation is much silkier than one expects. The rhythm is good, the volume is there, it is not boring and the finish is clean and crystalline. Adherent to the bouquet and well done.
Cost of Roku gin
30-33 euros: a very acceptable price that you pay “willingly” for a gin of great texture, consistent and well defined by a commendable anthropological and stylistic choice.
Cocktail to make with Roku gin
Being a gin with a cold and sharp connotation, it is excellent for Gin Tonic, but also in combo with juices, liqueurs and fruit syrups, so Bronx and Bramble and gin gin mule are welcome. If you want a particularly elegant Ramos gin fizz, this is the right gin. Very good with dry vermouth, less with bitter, which suffers from the overwhelming taste.