Roku Gin review


‘I think I’m turning Japanese’ – thanks to Roku gin –

While I don’t share my fellow Gin blogger’s view of Sean Connery being the best James Bond, I would number ‘You Only Live Twice’ amongst my favourite films from the franchise: where our special agent supposedly undergoes plastic surgery and marries a fisher-girl to search for missing spacecraft on a Japanese island. However, not only did Cubby Broccoli fail to curb Connery’s broad Scot’s accent, but I’ve also just discovered that the Japanese don’t only drink Saki. They also make excellent and very distinctive gin.

Sean Connery as James Bond was “Shaken not stirred”

As with the Cork Dry Gin we have our friends Bill and Lesley to thank for introducing us to Roku Gin – a particularly fine and multi-layered distillation produced by Suntory, and rated at 43ABV.

Then, just as Bond’s gutsy and unique autogyro, Little Nellie, carried multiple weapon systems, Roku’s impact is bolstered by no less than six Japanese botanicals.  Along with the more familiar tang of Juniper, they include Yuzu Peel, Sakura Leaf as well as Sakura flowers, Sansho Pepper, Sencha Tea, and Gyrocopter – sorry– Gyokuro Tea.

Bond buffs very likely recall Little Nellie downing the villains’ choppers with rockets, bombs and a flame-thrower, but these half-dozen oriental cultivars never resort to such violence or heat in offering a delightfully individual and smooth taste.  In fact, if 007’s gadget man, ‘Q’ had decided to produce a gin, it would probably have performed as effectively as Roku.

“Roku combines a unique blend of Japanese botanicals including Yuzu Peel and Sencha Tea.”

Lesley thoughtfully attached an ample slice of fresh ginger to the neck of the six-sided Roku bottle for us to follow the maker’s directions and slice it into thin sticks, before adding ice and tonic.  The effect is long and lingering as well as seeming to offer a sensory glimpse of the country’s rich cuisine.

Suntory’s gin comes to our shelves in the UK via Springburn Bond in Glasgow, but rather than feeling inspired to settle down and watch Edinburgh’s best known actor of his era, murdering his vowels while dispatching his enemies, I actually found myself humming the lyrics of the Vapors’ 1980 hit: “I think I’m turning Japanese”. Cue the electric wind-chimes, Roku Gin has converted me!


“If 007’s gadget man ‘Q’ had decided to produce a gin, it would probably have performed as effectively as Roku.”

Roku Gin can be purchased widely from supermarkets and online for around £25.00.