Merchant’s Heart – Light Tonic

Merchant’s Heart Light is a reduced sugar, classic tonic from Suntory.

Cost: ££+
Type: Tonic Water
Sweetener: Sugar, Acesulfame K, Sucralose
Nutritional info (100ml):
Kcal: 21
Sugar (g): 4.8

The name Suntory is unlikely to be new to you, and though the Merchant’s Heart brand was established in 2015, it’s a relative newcomer. In the UK at least, I hadn’t heard of this mixer before 2019, but thankfully it’s becoming more widely available. It’s part of a larger range that includes flavoured tonics and mixers.

The name comes from the ethos of Shinjiro Torii, who founded Suntory in 1899 and grew the company but, as the quote goes: “We may have grown from shop to company, but we must always be a tradesman; we must never forget our merchant’s heart.”

Merchant’s Heart Light Tonic Water is available in 200ml bottles and 150ml cans.

Tasting Notes

When first pouring, the glass positively froths with bubbles, which quickly fizz away leaving an impressive amount sticking to the base and sides. The bubbles range in size, and rise continually.

The aroma is lovely and sweet, with an almost sherbet essence to the light citrus. It takes me back to the sweets of my childhood, and the anticipation of that bite of citrus alongside the sweetness, all promising to make your mouth water.

To taste, it’s fresh and light, with a burst of fizz on the tongue. It’s not at all as syrupy as the aroma might suggest, and the powdered notes remain. It has a clean citrus edge that’s not too bitter, but enough to keep the sweet notes at bay. The quinine is prominent in the aftertaste, leaving a pleasantly dry bitterness that lingers. It tastes great.

With gin (2:1 Beefeater with a slice of lemon), there’s a real expansion of flavours with some darker, greener, more bitter herbal notes coming through which comes as a surprise, albeit a not unpleasant one. It comes across as a very sophisticated G&T, with the juniper really shining through along with some more earthy tones. It’s nowhere near as light and sweet as I was expecting, which for me is a little disappointing, but it’s very refreshing.

Overall

What started out really well on the nose and on its own, has thrown a bit of a curve-ball in the G&T, and let’s face it, that’s the most important element here. If you like a dry G&T I think you’ll like this a lot. For those, like me, who have a slightly sweeter tooth, it’ll be a bit more experimental. I still think it made a very good G&T, and will no doubt go well with almost anything. I would also say it didn’t feel like it ‘suffered’ for being a ‘light’ tonic at all, so that’s a definite bonus.

4 / 5 Feathers

Add half a feather if you really enjoy a dry G&T

Merchant’s Heart Tonic Water is available in some shops and online

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All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and payed for by the author, unless otherwise stated.


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