The gin boom over the last decade has led to an unprecedented amount of variations being brought out. It feels like everyone and their mum has jumped on the gin train, riding it towards an alcohol nirvana. The Japanese market is no different, with the likes of Etsu and Roku duking it out for the attention of consumers.
Ki No Bi is another Japanese gin that’s enjoyed tremendous success. Introduced in 2016, this flavourful drink brings together the best of western and eastern brewing techniques.
A drink to be enjoyed in every season
Translating to ‘The Beauty Of The Seasons’, Ki No Bi is brewed in Kyoto using a rice spirit base and water sourced from the renowned sake-brewing district of Fushimi. Japanese botanicals are separated into six different categories: base, citrus, tea, herbal, spice and floral, and each category is distilled individually. Then, they are blended and create a unique mixture of flavours and aromas.
Some of the botanicals include yuzu sourced from the north of Kyoto Prefecture, gyokuro tea from the Uji region, hinoki wood chips and bamboo. Herbal notes of sansho pepper and kinome mingle with spicy ginger and the quintessential juniper berry extract.
Ki No Bi has a lot going on and there are a lot of flavours fighting to get to the surface. My first sip had a minty, herbal quality. But it was soon balanced out by the ginger for a spicy, medicinal mouthfeel.
A woody texture crept in and the full bouquet of the gin unfurled at a steady pace. Ki No Bi is definitely a slow burner. The kind of gin you want to take your time to savour and let the taste buds acclimatise to the clashing flavours. If you drink it quickly, you might lose some of the more complex notes. But what you have is a well-rounded gin that hits all the right notes, leaving behind a sense of satisfaction.