Ki No Tea

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The name tells you the first thing you need to know— this is a tea flavored gin from The Kyoto Distillery. It features both Tencha and Gyokuro Green teas grown in the Uji region by Hori-Shichimeien, a tea grower and blending company that has continuously operated since 1879.

Beyond the signature botanical, Ki No Tea also features Yuzu among its citrus and Akamatsu, a type of Japanese pine.

Tasting notes

Aroma: Vivid green tea aroma springs from the glass. Hints of citrus lend Ki No Tea a hint of Earl Grey aroma with some pine accented juniper along the edge.

Flavor: Sweet and somewhat creamy early. Ki No Tea is not a single note flavored gin. Hints of vanilla and yuzu custard. Then a bold strongly juniper and pine forward heart. Hints of orris root complement it, contributing a faint touch of distinctive violet and iris florals. Late, the green tea becomes grassier, greener, and dryer.

Finish: Long and quite warm with a crisp grassy dryness, touched by freshly brewed green tea

Ki No Tea has a striking and clear journey on the palate— it evolves quickly and distinctly, with each phase having its own unique and sparkling moment. Sipped neat, it’s quite outstanding.

Cocktails and suggested serves

Ki No Tea is a gin you build cocktails around, rather than force it into. Bar programs would be best advised to develop a specialty drink around it— while there are some classics it may work in: The Last Word for example or Martini. The gin truly demands its own special treatment.

I’m not particularly a fan of how it works in a gin and tonic or gin and soda. I found it hard to pair because of the bright green tea flavor and the complexities it adds.

If you’re going to buy Ki No Tea, do so because you want it to have neat or on the rocks.

Overall, Ki No Tea

It’s not a cocktail gin in my opinion— and that’s okay. There’s too few gins that excel primarily on its own. This is one of them. Ki No Tea is a beautifully constructed gin that unfolds on the palate in a harmonious and unusual way. Fans of classic gin will be delighted by the bold amount of juniper. Fans of green tea and unusual contemporary gins will love the way it showcases the signature botanical without shying away from what makes a gin and gin.

I quite like it. Ki No Tea is best treated as its own thing— a green tea flavored gin. At that, it truly is a winner.

Highly recommended in its category.


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