“British Gin, Japanese Heart” is how Kokoro Gin self-describes itself in its press materials. Distilled at Thames, it is produced in the London Dry style. Eight of the botanicals are very traditional. They’re staples of British Gin distilling over the last two centuries. But one botanical is different. Founder, James Nicol was inspired on a trip to Japan where his uncle introduced him to the Japanese culinary staple: the sansho berry. Camphorous and citrusy, they feature in a wide range of dishes from ice cream to eel (and most everything in between). That signature botanical forms Kokoro Gin’s Japanese Heart.
Aroma: Kokoro Gin smells strikingly classic. Orange, angelica root, juniper and coriander. Citrus forward, it’s welcoming, albeit a bit hot.
Flavor: Jammy citrus at first. The heart has sweet lemon, that eases into a spice driven back end. Licorice is high in the mix lending a sweet impression. Coriander leads, with hints of black pepper, angelica root, and pine blossom.
Finish: Slight pepper, unctuous licorice root and mild warmth with a typical citrus-forward gin note of bitter orange.
Kokoro Gin has a pleasant body and mouthfeel that lends itself well to Martini making. I’d recommend it for fans of citrus-forward Martinis, served up with a twist. But where I like it best is in how it complements a strong Indian Tonic Water in a Gin and Tonic. Bartenders should best consider Kokoro Gin a citrus-forward gin behind the bar. However, its flavor profile, while citrus-forward does not deviate too far from classic style gins and therefore works well in nearly all cocktail applications.
Overall, Kokoro Gin
A well made citrus-forward gin that showcases a single unusual gin botanical in the ways that it supports the traditional gin botanical accord. Recommended.