From Japan’s first dedicated artisan gin distillery, KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin is packed with unique flavours that speak to its heritage. One of my all-time favourites, this magnificent super-premium gin makes for an outstanding martini.
Andrew Burge - GIN SOCIETY EXPERT
KYOTO DISTILLERY

KI NO BI GIN

BUY NOW | $130.00
KYOTO, JAPAN
Gin Society has secured a limited batch of KI NO BI Gin, winner of the Global IWSC Contemporary Gin Trophy. This rare, ultra premium gin is exclusively available for the special price of $130 (RRP $150) + free delivery.

 

Made in a recognisable dry style with a distinct Japanese accent, KI NO BI (‘The Beauty of the Seasons’) Kyoto Dry Gin is inspired by tradition and distilled, blended and bottled in Kyoto. The juniper complements and showcases the local Japanese botanicals, including gyokuru tea, yellow yuzu (citrus) and hinoki wood chips. A fresh aroma of yuzu gives way to a thread of sanshō pepper that lingers like a morning mist in a bamboo forest. Ginger root gives a slightly warming, spicy finish. 

 

KI NO BI has not only mastered the science of distillation but also the age-old art of blending, by separating the botanicals in this gin into six different categories – base, citrus, tea, herbal, spice and floral – and distilling each category individually. Each is then blended in perfect balance to create the distinct KI NO BI flavour.

 

Bottled at 45.7% ABV, KI NO BI uses a rice spirit base and water sourced in the famous sake brewing district, Fushimi.

 

KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin was awarded one of the highest honours at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2018 – The Contemporary Gin Trophy plus a Gold Medal in the Gin and Tonic category – and was ICONS OF GIN’s Craft Distiller of the Year 2019.

GIN SOCIETY TASTING NOTES

Despite the vast scattering of wildcard botanicals populating KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin, the initial sniff brings a great familiarity with it. Juniper is clearly present – oily, sappy and rich – but it’s the yuzu that quickly makes itself known, filling the nose with a sherbet flush that falls somewhere between orange pith and lemon flesh. The other botanicals aren’t quite quiet, but they all seem to blend together, with nothing too discernible save for a flicker of tea so subtle it’s almost as if you were dreaming it.


It’s not harsh or sharp or any mix of the two, but the flavours are so intense as to briefly stun. That lemon/yuzu combination dominates, joined by a briny sanshō taste and not-too-bitter tea. Sanshō and ginger conspire with a considerable 45.7% ABV to pack in some real heat, lighting a savoury fire in the chest that burns bright longer after the sip is supped. Juniper is present throughout the entire tasting process, cracking the whip every so often like a circus ringleader and ensuring none of the stranger ingredients get too carried away with themselves. It’s as strange as it is tasty, treading whole new boards for the category whilst weaving respect for its history into every sip.


by
andrew burge
Gin Society Expert

FLAVOUR PROFILE

JUNIPER
CITRUS
FLORAL
HEAT
HERBAL
SPICE

PUBLISHED TASTING NOTES

The Gin Is In

Could Japanese Gins be the next Japanese whiskey?

The Kyoto Distillery starts with a base of rice spirit, and then distills them in groups corresponding to their flavor profile. And those flavor profiles are nearly identical to the ones we classify each gin by when we review them.

Citrus includes Yuzu and Lemon. The Base includes juniper, orris, and Hinoki, a kind of Japanese cypress tree whose wood is sweet and earthy. Ginger is the spice ingredient. Floral includes shiso and bamboo leaves. Sansho pepper adds an herbal note, and a flavor similar to Sichuan peppercorns.
And then there’s the tea category. Each category of botanicals is distilled separately and the blended to make the final Ki No Bi Gin.

Gin Foundry

Ki No Bi is a beautiful offering, with the so-dark-green-its-almost-black bottle not only printed on directly with white and foil, but embossed with the distillery logo and capped off with a copper lid. It screams luxury, especially once housed inside its gift box package. Granted, £45 is a lot of money for a bottle of gin, but given that this really and truly takes its drinker on an adventure though the Japanese countryside, we think it’s well worth it, and given its home country’s predilection towards collections, may well become something worth storing…

We’re excited by Ki No Bi. It’s a masterclass in making hyper local gin without making it hyper weird. If you compare the alien strangeness of the many Australian or South African gins on offer with the almost traditional elements of this Japanese offering, it shows just how well other, more unusual botanicals can combine with the beautiful juniper berry.

Distiller

Introduced in late 2016, with its international release delayed until 2017, is this dry-style gin from Japan's first dedicated gin distillery. Master Distiller Alex Davies of the Kyoto Distillery uses a spirit base distilled from rice and adds botanicals like yellow yuzu, hinoki (cypress) wood chips, bamboo, gyokuro tea, and green sanshō (Japanese peppercorn) berries that are designated into: base, citrus, tea, herbal, spice, and floral. Each botanical category is steeped into the rice spirit, which is then individually distilled before blending together. It is brought to proof using water from Fushimi, known for its purity. Ki No Bi translates to "the beauty of the seasons" and is bottled at 45.7% ABV.

COCKTAIL RECIPE

Andrew Burge, Founder of Gin Society, shares his favourite cocktail recipe to make with KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin. 

 

KI NO BI MARTINI

60mL KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin

1 tsp Vermouth

Chill a martini glass with ice.

 

Pour KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin and Vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir carefully.

Strain into the serving glass (dump the ice) and finish with your garnish of choice. 

by
andrew burge
Gin Society Expert

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