Is Japanese craft gin too expensive for you? Suntory has an answer: Japanese Gin Sui.
The problem? It's not cheap!
Sure, $30 isn't even close to the more expensive Japanese craft gins we see around these parts. But plenty of people -- including many bartenders who just want to keep their G&T costs down -- simply refuse to spend more than like, $15 on a bottle of regular gin.
Suntory is now targeting that audience with a new gin called "Japanese Gin Sui." Yes, they deliberately left out the word craft this time!
Unlike Roku's six Japanese botanicals ("Roku" is Japanese for six) + eight traditional gin botanicals, Japanese Gin Sui is a blend of three steeped liquors:
- Green tea
It's blended to be refreshing and light, "to match the tastes of Japanese people," umm yeah okay. Presumably those three botanicals will be supplemented with more traditional gin botanicals. But we don't have the details on that part yet; Suntory hasn't officially announced Sui.
Update March 5, 2020: Suntory has finally officially announced Sui. As suspected above, it also uses eight traditional gin botanicals: juniper berry, coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cardamom seed, cinnamon, bitter orange peel, and lemon peel. Per the official site, Suntory is pushing it as a mealtime gin+soda rather than gin+tonic (Suntory's Kaku Highball is very successful as a mealtime whisky+soda). Given the price point, I expect to see it on Tokyo izakaya menus soon.
As for the name. The kanji 翠 (sui) also reads "midori," or green. You may notice a pattern with the names of Suntory's recent global liquor releases. Haku Vodka (haku, 白, means white), Ao Whisky (ao, 碧, means blue), and now Sui Gin with green. Perhaps we'll see something red or black soon enough.
Japanese Gin Sui one launches on March 10, 2020, 40% abv @ 700ml. MSRP is a mere 1380 yen before tax, making this an easily accessible bottle.
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.