William Lowe is the Master Distiller behind all the Gins of Cambridge Distillery. The first gin produced there inherited the name of the house, and Cambridge Dry Gin was born, a very smooth and fresh Gin. More eccentric Gins followed, like Anty Gin, Japanese and Truffle. At the same time, the company also turned its hand to tailoring Gins based on clients’ wishes.
William Lowe’s mind never stops and when, in 2015, he saw Japanese Gin being nominated as Gin of the Year by China Wine and Spirits, he knew that he had to develop something even more exclusive, more unique.
That is how began the creation of Watenshi, the Japanese Angel, using as its base the Japanese Gin, already inspired by the Far East.
The secret of Watenshi resides mostly in the use of cold water distillation. Exact details aren’t revealed but the company assures us that the pressure is half that found at the summit of Everest and the temperature is colder than has ever been registered at the South Pole. It is through this technique that Cambridge Distillery says it captures the “essence of the angel” of Japanese Gin which otherwise evaporates. Now one can begin to understand Watenshi’s market price. This because each distillation only results in 15ml of spirit. Doing the maths, more than 20 distillations are necessary for each bottle of Watenshi, and that is also why they only produce 6, yes, SIX, bottles of Watenshi per year.
Then there’s the bottling, in a beautiful blown glass globe bottle, produced in Cambridgeshire and designed by the Loris & Livia studio. The pièce de resistance is the silver angel feather, developed by Antoine Sandoz which hangs from the neck.
In its wooden box, also exclusively designed for Watenshi, are two small glasses made with the same white glass, their shape and delicateness a further reminder of the Orient.
All this for the modest sum of £2,000, about €2,250, and a waiting list of about five months and climbing.
At this price and this quantity it is difficult to get a sample or a bottle just to taste it, but we do know the Gin that gave it life, from which the “essence of the angel” was derived. Japanese and Watenshi have, therefore, the same oriental inspiration at their heart, with the same botanicals in common, like Sansho Pepper, Sesame Seed, Sisho and Yuzu leaves. Cucumber also enters the production of Japanese for a touch of freshness. Being the essence of Japanese Gin, Watenshi concentrates all the aroma of its parent. In the words of the creator “it is gin of unmatchable intensity and complexity, an expression of refined elegance which before was only found in the best mature Single Malts and Cognacs”.