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135 East hyogo dry gin

As a guy who loves exploring new and unique spirits, 'East' represents more than just a cardinal direction to me. It's a treasure trove of rich culture traditions and exotic spices that I love to embrace even when I'm not able to travel. While I've had Japanese whiskeys in my collection before, I have never had the opportunity to try a Japanese gin until now. With 135 East Hyogo Dry Gin from Kaikyo distillery, I just got my passport stamped for a tasty trip exploring the flavors of Japanese botanicals in a gin based on distilled sake.

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135 east gin bottanicals

East Meets West

This gin is a perfect example of "East meets West", 135 East Hygo Dry Gin is a unique gin that bridges the gap between traditional London Dry Gin with European botanicals and authentically Japanese ingredients including sencha, yuzu, shiso leaf, ume, and sansho pepper.

Not only that, but while London Dry gin is traditional based  on distilled grains such as barley and wheat that has been turned into a neutral spirit, here the base is distilled sake. 

To help preserve the essence of this unique spirit, they utilize a vacuum distillation process allowing the distinct aromas of each botanical, ensuring a taste of pure, unadulterated flavor.

One thing I was thankful for is that while tasting this spirit is a profound experience different from any other gin I have enjoyed recently, it isn't disruptive. It is a very pleasant experience even if you just simply want a gin and tonic and not a trip to the "far east". For many Americans, rice liquors can have a distinct flavor that is a bit awkward - I personally don't enjoy most sake or soju - here it is truly a neutral spirit. While you can taste the subtle difference, it adds more of a pleasant note of exotic flavor rather than a punch in the face.

135 east gin bottle

Honestly, you could serve this to a gin connoisseur, and they wouldn't identify it as anything other than a great gin. While its uniqueness can be appreciated by sipping, it also works great in cocktails.

For cocktail pairings, East Meets West is an excellent choice. It works brilliantly in martini variations, where the floral notes of vermouth complement the gin's herbal expressions. For a unique twist, try adding a dash of shiso or yuzu bitters, creating a cocktail experience that's truly one-of-a-kind.