‘Joy and pleasure’
Handcrafted Etsu Gin has to be one of the most sophisticated gins that have ever passed my lips: think of tea and the tart citrus tang and floral fragrance of the Yuzu fruit – then the spicy peppery finish and floral/herb overtones, and you’re there – bliss!
Etsu gin comes from Japan, and is every bit as good as the Japanese Roku and oriental tasting Ophir (made in London), which are two of your blogger’s favourites. We came upon it thanks to a friend, Mary, who’d received it as a Christmas present: knowing that we are gin bloggers, she brought it around one evening for us to share a tasting. We tried it with Indian tonic and a wedge of grapefruit, and all agreed it lives up to its name: etsu translating into English as ‘pleasure.’
The 43% ABV distillation includes what appears to be becoming Japan’s classic gin botanicals: Yuzu, Green Tea Leaves, Cherry Blossoms and Sancho Pepper. Interestingly, the Yuzu dominates – this being the citrus fruit, which provides the tartness upon the first sip: the distillers recommend balancing this tartness with a sprig of mint and serving it neat over ice, but we all enjoyed it with grapefruit, tonic and ice, our serve being 50/50.
This enigmatic gin, of which I could find no history or website, also throws up flavours of liquorice, bitter orange peel and coriander – the exact botanicals from the volcanic, northern island of Hokkaido in Japan where Etsu is created, have remained a secret for generations. The soft blues and golds of the bottle’s artistic label enhance this sense of mystery; the reflective geisha girl holding a lotus flower, a nod to history, peace, calm and, of course, pleasure.