Ki No Bi Kyoto Old Tom Gin (Ki No Tou) ABV 47.4% 700ml
The gentle sweetness of kokuto (black sugar) from Yonaguni Island The “Old Tom” style of gin dates back to the 18th century, when the addition of sugar gave balance to some of the harsher spirits of the time. Uncertainty surrounds the origins of the name, but the image of a tomcat was common on barrels and pub signs. The style lies somewhere between Dutch Genever and London Dry.
Old Tom became less popular as distillation techniques improved in the 19th century, allowing for the production of “light” spirits, but it has recently enjoyed a resurgence.
KI NO TOU is based on an exclusive bottling – believed to Japan’s first Old Tom – created by The Kyoto Distillery for the Tokyo International Bar Show (TIBS). It takes our classic KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin and sweetens it post-distillation with kokuto (literally “black sugar”) from the Okinawan island of Yonaguni. Dating back to the 17th century, kokuto is made in such a way that it retains a higher mineral content than other sugars. As well as sweetness, it adds complexity.
The label design features two kanji characters, one meaning “island” and the other “sugar”, and was produced in collaboration with Kira Karacho, part of the Karacho karakami atelier founded in Kyoto in 1624.
< Tasting Note >
Brown sugar and sea mineral notes from the kokuto work harmoniously with the sweet, piney juniper, gyokuro and sanshō pepper to deliver a gin that is wonderfully rich and complex. Hints of date and juniper on the palate at first, followed by warming candied ginger and then a long-lasting yuzu marmalade finish.