Recently I participated in a small contest of the German spirits mail-order house Vidamo and fortunately won a bottle of gin. My gin of choice was a bottle, which I was very curious about since its recent launch: the Jinzu Gin. Therefore I could actually write an article only about this gin and thus add a further contribution to the category “Pure Spirits”, but as this promising distillate also imposes usage in a classic Gin & Tonic I will also publish an article about that tomorrow. But let’s have a closer look on the spirit itself.
The Jinzu Gin is a Japanese-inspired Gin, what has been the primary impetus for me to choose this gin, as I have almost always had very good experiences with Japanese distillates before and because I am generally a very great friend of culinary impressions from the Land of the Rising Sun. Furthermore I was always fascinated by the Japanese culture in general and will always keep many awesome memories from a journey to Japan I did three years ago (I will come back there for sure!).
But on closer inspection the Jinzu Gin turns out to be no Japanese product at all. Far from that, this gin was distilled in London, in the distillery of the same name: Jinzu Distillery, Lakeside Drive, Park Royal, London, which was founded by the world’s biggest spirits company Diageo. Beyond that it was bottled and reduced to drinking strength in Scotland.
The bottle reveals, moreover, that it is a British style gin which comes at 43% alcohol. Strictly speaking, it is just a reference to the category of London Dry Gin, but makes no legally binding independent classification. Thus the Jinzu Gin, in contrast to a London Dry Gin, can include artificial flavors. But he does not need to. If it has any of them inside I could not find out that easily. Nevertheless this named after Japanese Jinzu River Gin promises a very interesting flavor profile, which relies on the Japanese yuzu fruit. In addition, it was enriched in the distillation process with sake and cherry blossoms. This definitely promises to be interesting!
By the way it was created by the British bartender Dee Davis, who won a competition organized by Diageo and was in this context allowed to create and promote her own gin for Diageo (of course with profit sharing).
Nose: My first impression was the scent of distinct juniper, so the Jinzu is less eccentric than some purists might suspect after reading my description above. Then clear citrus notes come through with a tangy side note and in deed some sake.
Taste: Smooth and creamy with complex citrus tones in addition to the ever-present juniper not, a fine floral fruit (possibly from the cherry blossom) meets flavors of a light rice wine. The Gin keeps what it promises: It’s a British inspired gin with a Japanese twist.
Finish: Soft and long. Sake turns out clearest in the finish.
Buying Sources: The Jinzu can be found in specialized stores or online (approx. 35 Euro).