Named for the skylark, Tenjaku Gin is an unusual mixed base gin— 66% grain, 34% cane, and it features a rather typical Japanese inspired botanical bill. Green tea? Yep. Yuzu? Naturally. Sansho pepper? It’s in there too.
The most unusual botanical in Tenjaku Gin may be the peach, which calls a comparison to the Dutch Distilled Nolet Silver, one of the most famous brands to use peaches in their gin.
The brand launched stateside in 2022 on the coattails of being named Japanese Distillery of the Year.
Aroma: A distinctive, but subtle yuzu note highlights a nose brimming with honey, juniper (slightly reminding me of Barr Hill Gin) and a creamy, unctuous richness. Very inviting nose.
Flavor: Slightly more spice forward on the palate than in the aroma. Low volume star anise and fennel seed early. Mid-palate citrus comes through with pepper and orange notes. Late, the citrus becomes more Seville orange and hints of jasmine tea.
Finish: While there’s juniper in the background notes throughout the entire sip of Tenjaku Gin, it’s most pronounced on the finish where some terpenic hints of pine offer balance to a coriander and sansho dry out.
Smooth texture with little-to-no astringency. Tenjaku Gin is easy going and light on heat.
Cocktails and Recommended Serves
Try Tenjaku Gin in a Spanish style Gin and Tonic, paired with Fever Tree light and garnished with pink peppercorn to bring out some of its inherent spice notes.
Its lightness lends itself well to a Martini. Try a 7:2 ratio with Dolin Vermouth, garnished with an olive or twist.
Overall, Tenajku Gin
Tenjaku Gin is a light, balanced and accessible gin. Pleasant juniper that isn’t over-shadowed by the other botanicals— but it’s also not a classic juniper-forward gin. It walks the line between the two nicely. While I’d say Tenjaku Gin leans slightly contemporary, it will appeal to fans of both styles.
Overall, balanced and easy to mix with.
4 thoughts on “Tenjaku Gin”
This sounds like an entire cocktail in itself.
This first started appearing locally in the summer, I wanted to like it, truly, but the fruity flavors just felt “wrong” to me as a gin and more like a cocktail itself. I ended up drinking it (or sharing it) over ice with nothing else, and it went over middlingly, no poor reviews but Roku Gin went over better in my social circle. I think it’s a reflection on how sweet it is, I adore dry gins and dry drinks, but this is very, very sweet – at least to me – perhaps owing to the cane sugar base. Despite being perhaps even more contemporary, I find Roku, with its dryness, much better.
I have just tried this myself and actually liked it more than Bombay Sapphire, Aviation and Beefeaters. It’s very smooth. I usually drink gin in Aviation cocktail or something I just mix up with various liqueurs, but this one I tried with a bit of tonic and lemon, and it was amazing. A bit strange that the same bottle I found had only 37.5% proof, though. I can see on the Google search that there are two version with 43% and 37.5%, guessing the latter one is for Europe only?
Yes, for markets where the lower strength qualifies under the legal definition of gin, you’ll see the 37.5% variant. Stateside, we only have the higher strength.