The ‘Old Tom’ style of gin dates back to the 18th century when the addition of sugar gave balance to some of the harsher spirits of that time. Uncertainty surrounds the origins of the name but the image of a tomcat was common on barrels and pub signs; the style lies somewhere between Dutch Genever and London Dry.
Old Tom became less popular as distilling techniques improved in the 19th century, allowing for the production of ‘light’ spirits, but it has recently enjoyed a resurgence.
Based on an exclusive bottling – believed to be Japan’s first Old Tom – created by The Kyoto Distillery for the Tokyo International Bar Show, KI NO TOU takes their classic KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin and sweetens it post-distillation with kokutou (literally ‘black sugar’) from the Okinawan island of Yonaguni. Dating back to the 17th century, kokutou is made in such a way as to retain higher mineral content than other sugars; as well as sweetness it adds complexity.
KI NO TOU is a Japanese gin created, blended and bottled at their dedicated artisanal distillery in Kyoto. The label design features two kanji characters, one meaning ‘island’ and the other ‘sugar’, and has been produced together with KIRA KARACHO, part of the KARACHO karakami atelier founded in Kyoto in 1624.