We all know that 2017 is the year of Japanese gin, and announcements like this are why! Seemingly out of nowhere comes Japanese Craft Gin Kozue, which starts shipping tomorrow from of Wakayama prefecture.
The maker is Nakano BC, where the BC is "biochemical." Just so you don't get the wrong idea, this isn't the company's first time making alcohol for drinking -- they've had sake, shōchū, and other liquors for quite some time already.
This new gin's claim to fame is being the world's first to use koyamaki, Japanese umbrella pine, as one of the botanicals. Other botanicals from the local area include Mandarin peel, lemon peel, and sansho, and this is combined with juniper imported from Europe. We've seen pine, usually pine blossom, as a botanical before. But certainly not Japanese pine needles!
This one really popped out of nowhere as the distillery wasn't on my radar at all and they haven't been at any recent shows. In any case I managed to snag one of the first 100 bottles that's shipping tomorrow, so I'll be back with my thoughts soon.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.