The House of Suntory has announced the launch of Japanese gin Roku in the UK – the first premium gin from the distiller famed for its Japanese whiskies.
Distilled and bottled in Osaka, it is named for the Japanese word for “six”, reflecting the use of six botanicals that are unique to Japan, on top of other more traditional ones including juniper.
The use of sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, sencha tea, gyokuro tea and sansho pepper give it a subtle, sophisticated profile with a smooth and silky texture punctuated by yuzu top notes and a crisp, clean, spicy finish.
Distributed in the UK by Maxxium UK, the gin was introduced last week in 50 on-trade outlets across London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Bars and restaurants include Gaucho and Sexy Fish in London, Montpeliers and Gin71 in Edinburgh, Anchor Line and Dakota Hotel in Glasgow, and Constellations and Pen Factory in Liverpool.
Johna Penman, Maxxium head of brands for Beam Suntory, said: “Distilled in Osaka’s Suntory Liquor Atelier, the high standards set out by Suntory’s principles of artisanship in premium whiskies have been applied to Roku to create an unmistakably complex and balanced gin.
“What’s more, we firmly believe that Roku will stand apart as the definitive Japanese gin in the UK’s growing premium gin category, both in the on-trade and off-trade as we look to expand the reach of Roku nationwide in 2018.”
Each botanical is steeped and distilled in a variety of pot stills to extract the best possible flavour before being carefully blended by master distiller Kazuyuki Torii. It is bottled at 43% ABV.
Each of the six Japanese botanicals has been harvested in accordance with the Japanese concept of “shun”, the tradition for enjoying each ingredient at its best and only harvested once they have reach peak flavour, ensuring the best possible flavour is imparted to the gin as part of the distillation process.
Taking inspiration from the Japanese tradition of “Omotenashi” – a philosophy which emphasises hospitality – the signature Roku gin and tonic is served with ice and six hand-cut slivers of fresh ginger to accentuate the yuzu top notes within the gin and provide a refreshing flavour.
Roku comes in a bespoke hexagonal bottle featuring one of the Japanese botanicals embossed on each facet and complemented by a hand-designed label printed on traditional Japanese “washi” paper.