We’re a few years removed from the days of “Do you know Japan makes whisky?” But the days of “Do you know Japan makes gin?” are just beginning.
This September, Nikka, one of the two Japanese whisky greats, debuted its gin and vodka in select markets stateside. These spirits, respectively called Nikka Coffey Gin and Nikka Coffey Vodka, are made in continuous column Coffey stills—a trait they share with Nikka’s acclaimed Coffey Grain and Coffey Malt whiskies. Each is made in Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai, Japan.
Nikka Coffey Gin’s aroma features lemon, lavender, and black pepper. The first sensation on the palate is a sweet lime zest that’s followed by a burst of spice and black pepper. The spice quickly subsides, but a long, dry flavor of black pepper remains. The lime zest mixes with the black pepper, producing a unique dry finish with a juicy citrus undercurrent.
The dry peppery note makes itself known in a G&T, and provides an excellent counterbalance to the sweetness of tonic. Though it isn’t as prevalent when mixed, the citrus flavors still contribute enough to stand in for a missing wedge of lime.
— 47% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★