[Premium] The Tasting: Akitasugi Gin, Stilldam Gin, Ichiro’s Malt & Grain 505

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

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.

88 Aroma: Comfortably woody, forest bathing, refreshing. Images of Japanese citrus and yuzu. Orange. Moist.
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.
84 Aroma: Wrapped by a pleasant citrus fruit, orange peel, fresh lime, floral, early-morning early-summer meadow, lemongrass, anise, coriander.
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.
89Akitasugi Gin is extremely fresh, and the first impression is the fantastic progression of the aroma. It noses of refreshing lemon, coriander seed, and cinnamon. On the tongue it’s soft and sweet, and well-balanced. It’s as though you’re taking a walk in a meadow just after the rain, or forest bathing, like a breath of nature itself. Cedar leaves had me thinking it would be a bit grassier or more raw, but that’s not the case. Take it straight or on the rocks, but putting it in a cocktail may be a waste. It’s a demonstration of the strength of Japanese craft gin.

This is an exclusive article from Whisky Galore, Japan's only whisky/spirits magazine. It has 9 more sets of tasting notes.

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