Jin Jiji India Dry Gin Review
Flavored with cashew, holy basil, black tea and chamomile, this gin pays tribute to its Indian origin.
Jin Jiji India Dry Gin Review
Made in: Goa, India, by Blue Ocean Beverages PVT Ltd.
Method: Copper pot distilled.
43% alcohol/86 proof
Botanicals 9: Himalayan Juniper, Macedonian Juniper, Coriander seed, black tea, angelica root, orris root, cashew nut, tulsi (Holy Basil), chamomile.
Style: Modern gin.
Pronounced Gin Jee-Jee, which roughly translates to “lust for life”. This gin uses a base distilled gin, to produce a gin that focuses primarily on botanicals from India itself.
This is a small producer made gin from near Goa, India on the Arabian Sea, and I can promise it wasn’t available on my last trip to Goa, or I certainly would have noted this one. With the exception of Juniper from Bulgaria, you can count this as a wholly Indian gin. From the botanicals, to the distilled gin base that the gin uses.
That influence can be seen on the bottle, which (at least to my untrained eye) looks like traditional Indian design, which shapes and designs that certainly remind me of details I saw in India.
Like many boutique gins, this gin relies heavily on locally sourced ingredients as a big part of their story to attract buyers.
This is a very nice sipping gin, just add a few ice cubes, and this gin transforms from something with a bit of heat, to a nice cool flavorful gin.
Juniper is the predominant scent from the gin, but behind it are some surprising notes of citrus (which isn’t something noted in the botanical list) floral notes from the chamomile flower, as well as notes of pepper, and clove.
This is a heavy mouthful of gin. While juniper is clearly the dominant flavor here, you can taste a lot of spice, including black pepper, black tea,and coriander followed by a slight nutty aftertaste, it finishes with spicy bittersweetness.
The mouthfeel is slightly dry with a certain sharpness.
I liked this a lot on the rocks, but how well would it mix? I was especially interested in seeing if the nuttiness and the tea would come through in more mixed drinks.
And it did in a 5:1 martini between Jin JiJi and Noilly Prat. A not quite classic martini with a delightful cashew undertaste, along with the dark notes of tea and pepper that add weight to the flavors inherent in the juniper, fitting in well with the vermouth.
Because of the dark, heavy nature of this gin, my first thought was to try this with an elderflower tonic. But then I thought, heck, it’s an Indian gin, why not try it with an Indian style tonic? Then I thought, well actually I have an open bottle of Fentimans traditional tonic. Why not use that?
In The end I tried all three. Of the three I liked it most with the elderflower, which quite unexpectedly brought to mind melon, darkened with the essence of the black tea. It was overwhelmed by the bitterness in the Fentimans which was my absolute least favorite - as it quite thoroughly obliterated the back end notes of the gin. With traditional Indian style tonic, it was workmanlike - almost classic, but with perhaps a hint more in terms of floral notes, and pepper.
Based on that experience I decided that a Gin Old Fashioned might be the right drink to try this with next - a drink I’d typically do with a aged gin, or an old tom, but this gin was bold enough that I felt it could stand up to it (disclosure, I decided not to go with Angostura here, but felt that Scrappy’s black lemon bitters would mesh with the ingredients a bit more. Here the Jin JiJi stood out with the black tea and essence of cashew really coming through to add depth and flavor. Based on this I suspected this would be an excellent gin for a negroni, especially a perfect one, or a Vesper (but perhaps that is related to the fact that one of the Daniel Craig Bond films is on TV as I’m writing). You’ll lose a bit of the nuance of the gin in more citrus dominated cocktails.
This is a pretty good gin. Maybe not exceptional but certainly a cut above average. It’s flavor profile is exotic and will appeal both to lovers of classic juniper dominated gins and those who enjoy uniqueness in the taste profile and good layers of flavor. The tea, holy basil, and cashew all add some wonderful characteristics and flavors not commonly seen in other gins.
It’s an excellent celebration of India, and evidences the flavors, botanicals, and exotic nature of that subcontinent. It’s a boutique gin that does a wonderful job of living up to all it’s hype.
At the price point I’d reach for this gin for more delicate cocktails, or a good martini night.
Overall rating: 84. A good solid gin you’ll be happy to drink and which will hold up to what you throw at it, but which will be best in cocktails that don’t use too many intense flavors.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.