Kyro (formerly Napue) is a rye based gin inspired by wild nature, and designed to capture the Nordic spirit.
Price: ~ £30 (50cl)
Made in Finland by a group of friends who, after drinking rye whiskey in a sauna together, decided they should have a go at making some of their own, Kyrö gin is the product of their realisation that they needed something to sell while the whiskey aged.
Using an array of classic gin botanicals along with foraged ones, the group created a gin that went on to win the IWSC15 best Gin & Tonic. After that, their run sold out in two days, but thankfully they made more.
It’s hard to believe, but this bottle was my second ever Craft Gin Club box, and I have treasured (ok hoarded) it since that day. Lucky club members also got a 70cl bottle instead of the standard 50cl offering.
As stated, this bottle is larger than the standard which I think is a little shorter with more angular base and shoulders. Otherwise it’s a plain cyclinder, with a wooden stopper that has a nice nordic design lasered (I presume) into it. The labels are simple white textured paper with black print (except the name which is silver) though the team actually used the typeface from a stone memorial in a neighbouring church that dates back to the 15th Century, and it’s here that the gin got it’s name too: the 1714 Battle of Napue where locals fought against Russia. It’s a very clean cut, modern appearance, with there being no doubt it’s a bottle of gin! On the left is a bit about the G&T award and distillery, then over on the right the ABV etc. On the back is a little blurb about the gin itself, along with the usual info. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s simplicity and bold lettering make it stand out.
Sweet cranberry tinted juniper rises from the glass, full bodied and almost chewy, but lovely and fresh. Meadowsweet lay beneath, tightly woven into the aroma along with a leafy caramel that I think is a blending of the birch, liquorice, and sea-buckthorn. It’s a wonderfully complex and delicately shifting aroma that drifts into some beautiful sour herbal notes of citrus, dill, and aromatic spice. You could spend minutes smelling this then put it down, and when you picked it back up again you would get something different. Even now, after writing a little, I get hibiscus and a hint of caraway. It’s incredible.
Neat this is, to my mind, the smoothest gin I have ever tasted. There is so much happening on the palate, it is almost easier to simply let the flavours wash you away, because they all work together so well it’s a pleasure to let them take over. For a little clarity though, I get a lovely amount of peppery spice on top of a bright, fruity, floral tone. It’s deep reds, light greens and powdery whites, the cranberry and birch both a little earthy, lifted by the meadowsweet and tempered by the citrus. It’s sweet with the cinnamon and liquorice, but dry with the caraway and cardamom, then it’s fruity, and floral, and spiced, and earthy.
It is all things. And yet somehow, somehow, it all works together. It is perfection.
I have only ever drunk this gin neat, so we are heading into uncharted… water. The flavours hold up, but quieten down a little too. There’s a less intense but more robust earthy, peppery spice, and the fruit flavours are less bright citrus and more fleshy, berry-like. Cardamom comes through nicely, which is always a winner for me as does a hint of extra caraway and coriander. It feels a bit more grown-up. Less flashy, more serious. If the neat was a firework display, this is more a fine art gallery. A little more sombre, but taking your time leads to great rewards.
Finally, a G&T (2:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with a sprig of rosemary and dried cranberries to garnish). As you might guess from the IWSC award, it’s good. Incredibly, it comes through as a very classic, dry G&T: perfectly balanced, crisp and refreshing, with sweet herbal and floral undertones, you would never know this was half gin, and pretty strong gin at that. It’s absolutely delicious.
Kyrö gin is, in my opinion, perfect. To date, it’s my number 1, my desert island gin, my ‘if you could only have one gin’ gin.
It’s that good.
But here’s the but (which isn’t really a but at all)… If you are considering buying it (you should) even in part because it makes such a good G&T, I would honestly, wholeheartedly ask that you leave the tonic in the fridge. For me, this gin is too good to be drunk any other way than neat (or perhaps with a tiny drop of water). Your world will be better for it.
Kyrö gin is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.