From Medicinal liquors to gin
Yomeishu Seizo, here is a house which certainly evokes nothing for you, and yet is immensely famous in Japan. Their factory "Yomeishu Komagane" is located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, on a rocky plateau where the air is pure and the water is of excellent quality, a very soft water because it is slowly filtered through the granite rock of the surrounding mountains.
Its history goes back to the very beginning of the 17th century, in 1602 exactly, in Nagano prefecture. It is at this date that the factory commercialized for the first time a medicinal liqueur based on the use of plants, and in particular of a local shrub called "Kuromoji". The first registered trademark under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the "Yomeishu" liqueur saw its reputation gradually spread to the whole Japanese territory, making Yomeishu Seizo, four centuries later, the undisputed leader for this type of product.
Yomeishu medicinal liquor is made from 14 kinds of plants. It is the flagship product of Yomeshu Seizo, a four hundred year old success story and a promise to improve blood circulation and metabolism.
If Yomeishu's reputation is well established in the field of medicinal liqueurs, it is a great challenge that it takes up here: to rely on its expertise in botanical formulation and the use of Kuromoji to undertake the production of spirits. And it is quite logical that its first products are gins, thus following a real trend in Japan, as everywhere else. Nevertheless, we have here incredibly original and really qualitative products that we are happy to present to you for the first time in France: Kanoshizuku and Kanomori gins.
A BOUT KUROMOJI
Before talking about gins, it is interesting to look at this plant, the Kuromoji. Of its scientific name Lindera umbellata, the kuromoji is a deciduous shrub of less than 3 meters belonging to the family Lauraceae. It is cultivated in Japan where it grows wild in the coppices of the mountainous regions, places nicknamed "treasure mountains" so much this shrub is considered as precious.
Kuromoji takes its name from the fact that its young branches are dark green with black spots ("Kuro" = black). These branches are used to make luxurious wagashi spikes, the cakes that are eaten during the traditional tea ceremony or "Sado". But it is especially for its exceptional perfume that the kuromoji is used, in particular in the production of essential oils recognized for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as for their soothing action, of facilitation of the sleep and their digestive virtues. The use of this shrub is the foundation of Yomeishu Seizo's reputation.
THE GINS FROM YOMEISHU SEIZO
In the production process, in order to extract the aromas in the best way, the botanical elements are separated into several batches: three for Kanoshizuku, four for Kanomori. One of these batches is composed exclusively of Kuromoji. These are distilled separately, then assembled before a final adjustment by dilution with water and not by adding alcohol, which allows to express all the subtleties of the elements, while preserving their richness. Their formulations are directly inspired by oriental medicine and are combined with the use of very pure water, filtered as it flows through the granite rock of the Japanese Central Alps.
70 cl - alc. 40% vol.
Yomeishu has selected 11 plants among 130 at its disposal: kuromoji, lemon peel, juniper berry, coriander, liquorice, angelica, ginger, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, cardamom and caraway, or meadow cumin.
Kanoshizuku is a dry gin that allows to fully appreciate the refreshing and light aromas of Kuromoji. Its delicate, sweet nose evokes mountain herbs, reminiscent of genepi, before asserting itself on much more pronounced medicinal notes. The mouth is soft then becomes lively, spicy and powerful. The botanical elements are expressed in great complexity. Dry and round at the same time, the finish is long, leaving the mouth deliciously perfumed.
70 cl - alc. 47% vol.
For this top-of-the-range vintage, Yomeishu uses no less than 19 botanical elements prepared in four separate batches, including one containing only Kuromoji.
The elements used for Kanomori: branches, stems and leaves of kuromoji, juniper berries, rosemary, pine needles, cedar leaf, cinnamon, bay leaf, sage, mulberry, Sichuan pepper, orange peel, angelica, goji berry, ginger, lemon peel, licorice, anise, blackberry, cardamom, gum tree.
When tasted, Kanomori is very smooth, characterized by an intense taste and a long finish, literally giving the impression of walking in the forest. The nose is complex, spicy, with hints of herbs and citrus fruits clearly standing out. The palate is powerful, animated by subtle hints of citrus, wild herbs, medicinal notes, imprint of kuromoji. A remarkable complexity which tends towards more roundness and unctuousness afterwards, towards a long, persistent finish, both round and spicy.