Katherine Jenkins launches Cygnet 22 gin
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins OBE has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages and now the Welsh superstar has crafted her own gin – Cygnet 22.
Jenkins first discovered the ‘little-known’ Cygnet brand in 2021, and after realising it was made six miles from her childhood home she was inspired to create her own premium product.
“I love gin and I come from a family of lots of strong women who love their gin,” Jenkins said during her first interview for the brand. “In fact, my mum doesn’t know anything about this yet as it was top secret, so she’s going to be so excited when she finds out.
“My father also enjoyed gin because he was in the navy and with the ties to that background, and I was thinking about my own experiences of drinking gin. I felt that there wasn’t a gin that spoke to me. It was either ‘look at this handsome chap’ or ‘here’s this pink, sugary stuff’. It sort of talks down to you as a woman.
“So I wanted to create something that you can enjoy without having to hide it behind flavours or lots of sugary additions, to know that you’re drinking a really quality product, and that you can enjoy this in its simplest form.”
Cygnet 22 is distilled by sixth-generation distillers and brewers, Aster and Chris Sadler.
A key botanical used in its distillation is Manuka honey, an ingredient Jenkins uses daily for its health properties, produced by bees foraging in the Manuka forests in New Zealand, Jenkins has been a long-time fan of Manuka honey for its throat-soothing properties.
Other botanicals used to make Cygnet 22 include: juniper, calendula, cassia bark, white peppercorns, bee pollen, lemon balm, sea salt, rose petals, hibiscus and heather. It sits at 44% ABV.
The launch of Cygnet 22 coincides with the release of a repackaged and refined edition of Cygnet Welsh Dry Gin, which sits at 40% ABV.
“Aster and Chris were lovely to work with, hugely knowledgeable about what they do,” Jenkins said. “And they share my passion for quality and transparency.”
When creating Cygnet 22, Jenkins wanted to be able to sip the gin neat, and her preferred serve is Cygnet 22, chilled and garnished with a sprig of rosemary. The gin also works well mixed with tonic water, and in cocktails, as demonstrated during the launch event at Scarfes Bar, London, on 30 March.
Commitment to sustainability
Sustainability was a key consideration for Jenkins when designing Cygnet 22.
“We wanted to work with people who are as passionate about gin as we are, who respect their consumers, especially women, and who share a commitment to a better world,” Jenkins explained.
“One of the things they want is for the gin to come with a promise to walk the walk in terms of sustainability. So that’s an important thing for us of who we partner with and who we work with, that we work with people who get why that’s important.”
A bottle of Cygnet 22 weighs approximately 400g – up to 50% less than the average spirits bottle, meaning it takes fewer raw materials to make and less energy to transport.
Furthermore, the tall, transparent design has been crafted with reusability in mind; Jenkins hopes it will find a second life as an elegant water carafe or a single-stem vase.
In a nod to Jenkins’ Welsh heritage, the bottle is adorned with a dragon, the symbol of Wales, accompanied by white daffodils, the national flower of her native country. Her commitment to championing Wales worldwide is evidenced further by her role as an ambassador for the Great Britain campaign.
Jenkins designed the unique bottle with her husband, Andrew Levitas, an artist and social-impact filmmaker, and Eric Villency, the designer behind iconic brands including Peloton, and Rock Star Energy Drinks.
“I wanted the bottle to really speak about the quality, the transparency of the brand, to let people know that we’re not hiding anything in this gin – it tastes as delicious as it looks,” Jenkins said. “I also wanted the bottle to be elegant and different.
“I’m used to designing concerts and making music, but it’s been a really enjoyable process to design this bottle; I’m really happy with it.”
Music and gin combine
Gin and music lovers alike keen to get their hands on a bottle of Cygnet 22 can pre-order a bottle online at cygnet-distillery.com. The bottle will initially launch in the UK before making its way overseas later this year, and it will be heading across the Atlantic to the US in 2024, Jenkins confirmed.
Cygnet 22 will retail for £47.50 (US$58) per bottle, while Cygnet Welsh Dry gin will be priced at £35 (US$43).
Delving into the meaning behind the name, and it carefully ties into many important parts of Jenkins’ life. The name ‘Cygnet’ was inspired by a baby swan, the animal symbol of Swansea in Wales. The addition of the number 22 has a trifold meaning: 2022, the year Jenkins created the gin; its use of 22 botanicals; and Jenkins’ age when she was offered the largest recording deal in classical music history.
Her singing success is extensive; Jenkins officially became Britain’s most successful classical singer after being crowned ‘The Biggest-Selling Classical Artist of the Century’ by Classic FM, and she has enjoyed 14 number-one albums.
“With music and with performance, I want to create the best experience for my audience because I love and respect them,” Jenkins added. “It’s about the attention to detail, and making an ultra-premium product really is all about the detail; it’s a trial-and-error process.
“As a performer, the things that I have done the best have been when I have stepped out of my comfort zone, and really challenged myself and done the unexpected.
“This was a whole new experience for me, and adding the Manuka honey was something unexpected. We just went for it and gave it a try, and my gosh, it worked out.
“It’s just about being brave and not being afraid. Just going for it to see what happens.”