Japanese-inspired London Dry gin launches

Jul 3, 2017by Annie Hayes

Inspired by a skiing holiday in the Japanese Alps, two entrepreneurs have created Kuro – a London Dry gin containing silver birch bark, spruce needles and bamboo-activated charcoal.

Kuro – 'black' in Japanese – is the brainchild of Craig Fell, the founder of a marketing agency, and John Thomson, who has experience in business management. Created after a trip to the Hakuba Valley region, the gin contains bamboo activated charcoal, silver birch, spruce needles, coriander, orange, orris, nutmeg, juniper, angelica, lemon, liquorice, and cinnamon. The liquid is crafted at Langley Distillery by master distiller Rob Dorsett in a 300-litre copper still. "Kuro has been 18 months in the making and we’re delighted with the end product," said Fell. "This is something completely different in the world of gin, and I hope to have captured the experience of the Hakuba Valley alpine slopes in every serve of Kuro. "What started off as an idea during apres-ski has developed through many stages and taste tests, and I’m keen to hear the trade and industry verdict on our unique blend of botanicals. "The thrill of the slopes, beauty of surroundings, and overall sensory experience has been contained in each of the 12 botanicals, namely the three lead ingredients, silver birch bark, spruce needles and bamboo activated charcoal, which make-up Kuro’s core identity as an earthy, aromatic Japanese take on a London Dry Gin, which brings an intriguing alpine freshness to a classic spirit. "In the next 12 months we aim to secure national listings in premium bars, restaurants and selected retailers across the country, and establish Kuro among the British gin drinkers’ repertoire. International stockists are also among our first year targets, and I have an ambition to take Kuro back to the place it was conceived, Japan." Described as "complex", with a "smooth and creamy mouthfeel", the gin's suggested serve is with Fentimans Aromatic Tonic and a juniper berry, apple and mint leaf garnish. The gin is presented in a black misted rectangular bottle, with a single cobalt yellow stripe running down the centre. The back is decorated with a Japanese-inspired monogram, visible when backlit. The gin is bottled at 43% abv and will be available in the UK from Impossible Manchester and Masters of Malt as well as the Kuro Gin website at the RRP of £38. Produced in small batches of 3000 700ml bottles, Kuro will launch at Imbibe Live 2017 on the Hammonds of Knutsford stand, number A112.