The folks at Temple Distilling launched a new series of gins in 2017 called the Co-Authored Series. These gins are produced in partnership with a bartender who wins a cocktail contest. Co-Authored Gin No. 1 is the creation of 2017 winner James Wolf— lead bartender at Seattle’s Yoroshiku.
As you may expect from someone who is the lead at a Japanese themed bar, Co-Authored Gin No. 1 is heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine and botanical heritage. It uses ingredients such as shiso leaf and ume flower tea. Furthermore, it’s squarely on trend. 2017 was the year of Japanese Gin and the flavor of James’ gin is readily comparable other more widely available Japanese gins.
TL;DR: Juniper on the nose with a bold, very herbal palate and shiso-kissed finish.
The nose of Co-Authored Gin No. 1 has a readily present juniper note at the fore— but swirled in there are notes of bitter orange zest, and red shiso leaf.
Compared to some of Temple Distilling’s other offerings, James’ gin is far more contemporary and has a bold, almost overwhelming botanical presence on the palate.
Leafy green notes early provide a fresh, vegetal perspective. I get hints of romaine lettuce and somewhat bitter shiso. There’s a strong fennel mid-palate. Orange zest builds— it’s much more sweet on the palate than the nose, with the orange having hints of Neroli and Mandarin. The citrus is very loud mid-palate. Juniper is present in the background.
The finish, similar to some other Japanese gins on the market has a somewhat bitter vegetal closing note.
Co-Authored Gin No. 1 has a bold and unrelenting perspective that makes it a somewhat difficult mixer. It has so much herbal character that it becomes almost too much when paired with Absinthe, Chartreuse or vermouth.
This gin benefits from dilution and ingredients that extend the flavor. So rather than pairing it with strong supporting liquors, look to use Co-Authored Gin No. 1 with fresh ingredients like lemon juice or bubbly waters like tonic. I suggest a Gin Rickey, Gin Fizz or a gin and fresh squeezed lemonade.
Overall, Co-Authored Gin No. 1
The first gin in the Co-Authored Gin series is a bold botanical bomb. With a strong perspective— some might even find it too botanically strong— it’s challenging to mix with and maintain balance.
But for those looking for a Japanese inspired gin that you can sip neat, or for those looking for a contemporary gin that pushes the envelope, there’s plenty to like here.