|Perfect Serve||With mixer|
From the bubbles in your tonic
to the garnish in your glass
There are many stories to be found in the hills and forests of the Nagano Prefecture. You just need to know where to look. Fables of enchanted Yokai, magical Kodama and mischievous sprites are as much a part of the land as the endangered flora and fauna that are now thriving.
The majestic Mount Kurohime (Black Princess) takes its name from a time when eruptions, floods and tempests ravaged the land, and a black dragon fell in love with a beautiful princess. So it should be no surprise that the Afan Woodland provides the stage for our own story. It was here in the tranquil wilderness that a man, an adventurer, a wrestler, a writer, a singer, a man of infinite wisdom and sagacity called Old Nic revealed the heart-warming, tongue-tingling powers of the Sansho berry to his family.
This small berry is what gives Kokoro its distinctive flavour. A citrusy zing balanced by a warm and peppery finish. It’s the soul of the forest, at the heart of our gin.
More about the Sansho berry
The Sansho berry is a peculiar thing. You may not know it by name, but it is undoubtedly one of the world’s oldest seasonings. Indeed, the people of Japan have been harnessing its magical properties for over 3,000 years.
And magical it is, for Sansho is a natural flavour enhancer that stimulates the taste receptors in your brain, making everything taste better, from the bubbles in your tonic to the garnish in your glass.
The berries grow wild in the Afan Woodland in the Japanese Alps, where C.W.Nicol (aka Old Nic) introduced them to his nephew James in 2014. James immediately recognised the zingy combination of citrus and pepper was the perfect complement for gin, and Kokoro was born.
Today we pick the berries by hand at the start of the season when they are at their freshest, flash freeze them and pack them in dry ice back to the UK.