Often sipped with a slice of cucumber and tonic water or infused with winter berries, gin has had a rich and varied history since it began its life as a herbal medicine in the Middle Ages.
From causing riots in the street in 1736 when the Gin Act imposed high taxes on the spirit to people creating ‘bathtub gin’ during prohibition-era America, gin has maintained a loyal following.
Gin is created with a distilling process, one that has been around for thousands of years in many different forms. The evolution of gin distillation has created a vast market of flavors, all sharing the juniper berry as a collective ingredient – giving gin its distinctive taste. We’ve explored the world of gin to hand-pick the finest and most expertly made. (Image: Instagram @arnaudlf7)
The world’s most expensive – and most painstakingly produced – gin costs $2,490 for a 70cl bottle. Created by the Cambridge Distillery’s Will Lowe, the gin is created in a unique and innovative way. Despite having already created award-winning gins and being commissioned to distil specialist gins for the House of Lords and some of the world’s finest restaurants, Will wanted to create a more exclusive, unique gin. He discovered a way to capture the “angel’s share” of gin (a minute amount which is lost to evaporation during the distilling process).
To capture this “angel’s share”, The Cambridge Distillery’s Japanese Gin is used as a base. Created using Japanese botanicals – yuzu peel, shiso leaf, sansho pepper, seasame seeds and cucumber, alongside the traditional juniper – it was named gin of the year at the China Wine and Spirits Awards 2015. Distilling at temperatures colder than the coldest day recorded at the South Pole and air pressure less than half that found at the summit of Everest, a meagre 15ml is yielded per distillation. One bottle of Watenshi requires 50 distillations.
The result is a delectably complex liquid, with notes of sweet citrus and spice, paired with bitter juniper.
The extremely limited gin is presented in a decanter hand-blown in Cambridgershire, England, and designed by London’s Loris&Livia. It is adorned with silver pieces by jeweler Antoine Sandoz, whose other clients include Tom Ford, Chanel and De Beers. Only 36 bottles of Watenshi were created with only six going to any one country, and the first batch sold out incredibly quickly. (Image: Instagram @cambridgegin)
Nolet’s Reserve Gin
The esteemed Nolet family have been distilling the highest quality gin for over 325 years – nearly covering the entire expanse of time since gin’s initial creation. Every batch of Nolet’s Reserve Gin is distilled and bottled at the Royal Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Holland, using a recipe perfected over four decades by 10th generation distillery owner Carolous Nolet Sr who personally approves each batch of Nolet’s Reserve before it is bottled.
Carolous Nolet Sr was inspired to create the exclusive gin for “life’s special moments”, and encourages it to be savoured slowly to truly experience the skilled craftsmanship. The gin has a remarkable flavor that leaves a lingering impression and the recipe was hand-crafted by Carolous Nolet Sr using distinct botanicals – warm, spicy saffron (the most expensive botanical) and subtle, delicate verbena. The rest of the recipe is a guarded family secret.
These exquisite botanicals, along with many others, are individually macerated and then distilled using small copper pot stills. The result is the highest concentration and purity of the all-natural flavors, achieving a delicate balance of flavors and aromas.
This award-winning gin is allocated annually, individually numbered by hand and signed by Carolous Nolet Sr, and presented in a beautiful gift box. (Image: Instagram @noletsgins)
Silent Pool Gin
Silent Pool Distillers have created the largest and most expensive bottle of gin in the world. The thirst-quenching nine liter bottle is on display at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair, London, where it dwarfs the other comparatively modest-sized bottles. The bottle has been hand-painted by artist Laura Barrett and contains Silent Pool’s 24 botanical gin, a product borne out of years of trials and research.
Silent Pool Gin is the signature product of Silent Pool Distillers, based on the Albury Estate in Surrey, England, and created by master distiller Cory Mason. It takes its name from a nearby pair of ancient pools in the Surrey Hills, which according to folklore, are haunted by a beautiful young woman who was drowned by the evil Prince John (brother of King Richard) when swimming in the pools. This mythological tale, along with the delicate ingredients of the gin, is the inspiration for the strikingly intricate design of the bottle.
The spring-fed waters of The Silent Pool in Surrey are used to create the gin that shares its name. The gin itself is made up of 24 exotic botanicals such as Bosnian juniper, Bulgarian angelica, honey and grain of paradise, creating a classic, full-bodied gin with a fresh flavor. (Image: Instagram @charlienin)