The Paper Lantern Gin has the honour to be the first South Asian gin made from locally sourced ingredients of the highest quality. The manufacturer, Paper Lantern Distillery, is based in Singapore, and this incredibly specific and unique spirit is the “brain-child” of Simin Kayhan Ames and Rick Ames, the co-founders of the distillery.
Paper Lantern Gin is built from rice and combined with distilled Asian botanicals, which are hand-picked to reflect the best South Asia has to offer. Bottled at 40% ABV, and with a quite distinctive, spicy and citrusy flavour, the Paper Lantern is a gin you need to try for yourself.
It doesn’t fall under the London dry or Sloe categories. In fact, the founders would describe it as an international gin that maintains its juniper flavour till the last finishing note. However, as any international gin, the Paper Lantern distillation process leaves room for the other botanicals to claim their place on your taste buds.
The Paper Lantern Distillery has a quite modern and interesting story, and so does the gin they create. The co-founders, Simin Kayhan Ames and Rick Ames, husband and wife, wanted to be a part of the distillation business for a very long time, and when they moved to Singapore in 2012, the opportunity arose. Since there were no Asian gins, they thought it was high time to change that, especially with the abundant flora in South Asia. The botanicals were there, but nobody was using them to make gin.
They started an Australian crowdfunding campaign and shot the promotional video for the platform in order to gather $15,000. They reached that goal in 30 hours and doubled the money by the end of the month.
The company was founded in Singapore, and the distillation process is stationed in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Paper Lantern Distillery uses locally sourced rice and botanicals, grown from local farmers. Their end goal is to make the company fully sustainable.
The base of the Paper Lantern gin is rice, which makes it unique from the very start because usually, other distilleries use neutral grains. Plus, rice is native to the region, and it’s perfect as a base for an Asian gin. They also use locally sourced juniper berries and Sichuan pepper, with no flavourings, no colouring and no preservatives.
The pepper creates a distinctive aroma of pine and clove that features more fruity overtones of plum and lavender on the nose. The Ikhwan and lemongrass create the particular citrus note that balances out the ginger and galangal. This gin has a refreshing finishing note that comes of a little bit spicy because of the Asian spices and longan honey used during the distillation.
We would recommend the Paper Lantern gin to any exotic cocktails lover!
The distillation process of the Paper Lantern gin is the work of distillers Nikolaus Prachensky and Miko Abouaf. The distillation method they’re using is a lot more complicated than the traditional technique used for gin distillation. Once they gather the bags of rice from the local farmers, they mill and ferment them on site in the distillery in Thailand.
The distillers and the founders are very proud of the selection process as well, because they don’t use computers. Instead, they rely on their smell and intuition, in the same way, master distillers have been choosing the best ingredients for centuries.
Even though you might assume because of the rice base that the gin would have any similarities to sake, but that’s not the case. For the production of sake, koji fungus is used to break down the rice, and in the Paper Lantern case, they use distilling yeast (the one used for beer or cider.)
The trick, as with any spirit, is to find the perfect balance. Hence, the rice brings a softness to the gin that allows other flavours to become stronger and distinctive in the final product.
Paper Lantern Review
The Paper Lantern gin has a very peculiar aroma and flavour, mostly because of the rice base and the Sichuan pepper used in the distillation. As with any other spirit, the taste reflects the production area, which is only one of the reasons you should try it out.
Moreover, the Paper Lantern gin has won a few awards that reflect the high-quality and fine craft of the spirit:
- Best Contemporary Style Gin in Vietnam in 2019 World Gin Awards
- Double silver medals in the Super Premium and Contemporary categories at Hong Kong World Gin Masters 2018
The EC Proof can offer you a vast selection on some of the best gins in the world. You can choose between different style gins, from the Four pillars rare dry gin to the Brooklyn Gin. However, if you want to try a truly unique gin, the first one in South Asia, then we would gladly recommend the Paper Lantern gin. This gin will be a great addition to your home bar cart!