A Sydney artist schooled in the ancient ways of Japanese tattooing and the founder and distiller from Archie Rose have collaborated to produce a series of new gins inspired by the Japanese seasons.

Each of the four gins will be based upon a custom artwork by artist Horisumi (Kian Forreal). The first release is autumn, with the bottle design capturing the mystical stories of the Kiku flower (a chrysanthemum), the fallen maple leaf and the strong Koi making its way upstream to evolve into a dragon, embodying pride.

The artwork for the label influenced the type of spirit that founder Will Edwards created. “Usually the spirit’s botanicals and style influences what we put on the label but with Horisumi driving the vision with his artwork, we had to work backwards from that point which was an exciting process for us.”

After testing 25 different botanicals for the autumn release, they have used the traditional Archie Rose gin botanicals as a base and added Sansho pepper (from the Sichuan pepper family), red miso, burdock root (lotus), mandarin, sesame and two types of green tea (genmaicha and sencha), resulting in an aromatic style of gin which is surprisingly floral on the nose. The flavours really embody the essence of Japan, a refined and delicate take on what are usually big and bold tastes. The saline characters on the palate from the miso and the preserved-lemon flavour from the Sansho give the spirit an aromatic lift among all the earthy, moss-like and slightly creamy flavours.

The gin will be available to purchase from Archie Rose Distillery, and it will be served behind the bar neat for customers to try, or in bespoke cocktails (like its twist on a Martini using umeshu or a Gin and Tonic with yuzu tonic).

There are only 3000 bottles of the autumn gin (the winter, spring and summer gins will be released throughout the year). The first 200 bottles will be bound in a custom-made Japanese cotton wrap featuring the Kanji script for the season and the symbol for the collaboration as well as the bottle number of the gin. There will only be one batch created for each season, so once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

The gin is available through their website now, and will be in the bar on March 1.