While most of us were watching Japanese whisky set new records in that Ichiro's Malt Card Series auction, Japanese craft gin has also now set some new price ceilings.
On Friday a certain shop on Rakuten took the curtain off a new gin series called "Ki no Jyu" out of the beloved Kyoto Distillery. The price? 50,000 yen for a bottle! That's another zero away from being the most expensive gin in the world, but easily the most expensive Japanese gin we've ever seen.
Let's look at the gin itself. "Series 1 Gyokuro" focuses specifically on gyokuro green tea. The Kyoto Distillery seems to have sourced an even higher-quality variety of gyokuro green tea (matcha) from their long-time gyokuro partner, Hori Shichimeien. Ki No Bi itself uses gyokuro from the same tea maker, as does their tea-focused Ki No Tea. But only Ki no Jyu here specifically uses this Oku no Yama tea, reportedly only from super old trees. Oku No Yama goes for about 3000 yen for 30g, so as teas go, pretty steep.
Even so, perhaps the main justification for the price is the rarity here -- only 108 bottles of this are being made. That seems reason enough for many, as the bottles have already sold out from this particular Rakuten shop.
As mentioned, Ki No Jyu is going to be series of Kyoto Gins. That's a slightly different name from the standard "Kyoto Dry Gin" that is Ki No Bi. Presumably we'll see similar focus on other Ki No Bi botanicals like yuzu, ginger, sansho, or shiso. A little bird told me that the name of another upcoming release might be 金の美 or "Kin no Bi." Perhaps super-premium yuzu, then?
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