Text: Mamoru Tsuchiya, with tasting notes provided by tasters where noted
Photos: Ayumi Fujita (bottles)
Translation: Whiskey Richard
This article originally appeared in Japanese in Whisky Galore Vol.22 / October 2020.
Akitasugi Gin is from Akitakenhakko Kogyo, developed as a partially-crowdfunded industry-academic-government project. It uses Akitasugi (cedar) leaves and five other botanicals. The refreshing "forest bathing" aroma is its signature, and the packaging is quite attractive.
Japanese Gin / 46% abv / 500ml / Under 3000 yen / Akitakenhakko Kogyo Co. Ltd.
Flavor: Spice and dry on the tongue. Pith of grapefruit, the peel, and firm bitterness. Shrubs and green leaves. Pepper. Bitter taste with a citrusy finish.
Overall: The refreshing aroma and taste leaves an impression. Worth trying on the rocks or with soda. Should be good with food.
Flavor: Clean, delicate citrus peel, sweetness of hearty grain, faint pepper, a touch of cloves, and the alcohol warms.
Overall: Like a mind-body cleansing from a quiet forest. Definitely try it straight.
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Mamoru Tsuchiya is Japan’s foremost whisky critic. He is the Representative Director of the Japan Whisky Research Centre, and was named one of the “World’s Best Five Whisky Writers” by Highland Distillers in 1998. He served as the whisky historian for NHK’s Massan and he has published several books such as The Complete Guide to Single Malt Whisky, Taketsuru’s Life and Whisky, and The Literacy of Whisky. He is the editor of the bimonthly Whisky Galore, Japan’s only print whisky magazine.