East Meets West At 135º

by The Tasting Alliance Team  |  06.07.2022

Crafted to merge East and West, 135º East Hyogo Dry Gin is an expression of Japan, through the lens of a London Dry gin. Named for the 135º meridian east which crosses Akashi City in the Hyogo prefecture, the Kaikyo Distillery is the home of this special spirit. Over 100 years ago, in 1917, the Yonezawa family had perfected the art of rice spirit distillation. Following in his family’s footsteps, Master Distiller & Blender Kimio Yonezawa now brings his passion for spirits to honor his legacy with the innovative 135º East Gin.

“With 135º East, my goal was to create a gin with a very strong personality, to echo Japan’s openness to the world in the 20s,” says Yonezawa. “I wanted to try and find that spirit of openness again, the insatiable curiosity and creative abundance that roused a whole generation.”

The confluence of cultures is expressed in a traditional English spirit, London Dry Gin, made in a Japanese way. The botanical blend of 135º East brings this to life, highlighting Japanese ingredients to create a sense of place, a new interpretation of a classic spirit. Through techniques both traditional and modern, this gin transports both in location and time.

An innovator at heart, Yonezawa pused the boundaries of what gin could be when developing 135º East.

“We tested more than 50 different botanicals, from all over Japan, and chose the finest ones,” he says. “I definitely wanted to find something new, by mixing influences and styles to create a gin that is instantly unforgettable.”

Each botanical is sourced from local farmers or specialized vendors in Japan, harvested at its peak.

Three traditional English botanicals — juniper, angelica, and coriander — meet five Japanese botanicals — sencha, yuzu, ume, shiso leaf, and sansho pepper — in a rice spirit base.

Each ingredient is distilled separately, through a painstaking and labor-intensive vacuum distillation process typically reserved for perfumiers. This detailed process allows for the most true flavors to be extracted from each of the botanicals, showcasing their most subtle and delicate aromas. The resulting distillates are then blended together with their not-so-secret-anymore weapon, a touch of Junmai sake, which rounds out the gin and brings all of the flavors together.

The gin starts off with a powerful floral aroma melding with citrus fruits. It has a silky and balanced mouthfeel with citrus, bitter, and floral notes coming through on the palate. The sansho pepper provides a warm, spicy finish with a bit of minty freshness from shiso. It drinks clean and smooth, with the roundess of sake mellowing out its 84 proof strength.

Perfect for cocktails, both classic and signature, 135º East is ideal for mixing. The different botanicals can be highlighted to produce a wide range of flavor profiles and offers bartenders and at-home cocktail enthusiasts a distinct base from which to explore. Try an herbal Rosemary Collins to compliment the shiso leaf and yuzu, or bring the heat of sansho to a Negroni. The possibilities are endless with this unique gin.

Learn more at akashisakebrewery.com.