Jai Anand who has been visiting Japan very frequently to meet his family. One of his trips to Kobe, in Japan, Jai observed Japan very closely and thought of launching first Indo Japanese Gin from Goa. Doja was born.
Anand explains the name: “There’s ‘do’ for Indo and ‘ja’ for Japan—I wanted to create something simple that easily conveys the collaborative spirit of the gin.” The founder of the Mumbai-based music curator agency Milkman, Anand found himself twiddling his thumbs with little to do in 2020. “I’ve always been obsessed with all things Japan and I’m a bit of a gin nut, so putting the two together was an obvious next step.”
What’s impressive about Doja, a pandemic baby, is that it has been created after much trial and error and distilling sessions conducted over Zoom, using native botanicals from India and Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. “There’s peppermint from Northeast India and cardamom from the South, as well as Japan’s hinoki chips, yuzu lemon and sansho pepper,” explains Anand, who with the help of his distiller in Japan, arrived at Doja’s final blend in India. “For months, we sent samples up and down between India to Japan—we were trying to recreate the magic of the blend in Japan here.” Doja collaborated with Nakano BC, a Wakayama-based distillery in Japan to create the first blend, which the in house distiller Victor then tweaked to adjust for India’s climate and specificities.
The small-batch, premium craft gin is distilled and produced by East Side Distillery in Goa for the Indian market and the supply to the international market will be distilled in Japan due to easier logistics, once the world begins to open up again.
What does it taste like?
On the nose, Doja has the aroma of grass, citrus peel, florals and a hint of spices. On the tongue, it’s smooth, owing to the single-shot distillation method and the unique pairing of essential oils in the spirit. The flavours of yuzu citrus blend with the fragrant sansho with delicate notes of pine that are backed by spices such as green cardamom, coriander and fennel.
“The first wave of Indian craft gin was exciting. There are so many unique players out there experimenting with the best of India’s botanicals. Now, we want to create a new wave of premium craft gin that honours the cultural legacy of the two countries in one sip,” says Anand. We’ll drink to that.
Doja is currently available only in Goa and will be available in Mumbai in early 2022. Rs2,050 for 700ml.