A SADDLEWORTH hotelier has snapped up a world exclusive by buying the first ever bottle of a new ultra-rare gin - for a cool £4,000.

Phil Whiteman already offers customers a staggering choice of 1,258 different gins in his renowned Gin Emporium at the Old Bell Inn Hotel bar and restaurant, Delph.

But when Harvey Nichols, the luxury department store based in London’s Knightsbridge, announced plans to sell the only batch of unique Morus LXIV Gin, entrepreneurial Phil made his move.

He contacted the store, confirmed the purchase, and the distinctive porcelain flask was collected by Sam Griffith, the Old Bell’s events manager, who was attending a function in the capital.

Said Phil: “When I heard the gin was being sold I vowed to buy the first bottle.

“I just had to have it, particularly as there was only one batch of just 25 bottles distilled and for sale.

“It’s very comforting to know I actually bought and own the first flask of this gin sold in the world and is actually accredited Number One and now has a new home in Saddleworth.”

Said Sam: “When I collected the gin it felt like I was carrying liquid gold. We were even provided with a pair of white silk gloves to handle it.”

Jam Jar Gin, the company behind the premium gin, say the gin is distilled from the leaves of a single, ancient Mulberry tree.

And writing in Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, they say: “Distilled from the leaves of a single, ancient Mulberry tree (Morus Nigra), a single batch of this magnificent cask-strength gin takes more than two years of careful work to produce.

“Each leaf is hand-harvested and individually dried before being carefully balanced with further fine botanicals and gently distilled.

“Once the distillate is ready, it is rested to allow the complex flavours to combine before being prepared for ageing to delicately build and round the flavour.”

They add: “Every element is as painstakingly created as the liquid inside, produced by some of the finest craftswomen and men in the country.

“Hand-made porcelain jars, embossed and polished to a diamond matt finish in distinctive crisp white are perfectly paired with an elegant porcelain stirrup cup – a fresh take on the traditional British drinking vessel.

“However, like with fine whiskies, the full flavour is released when a little water is added. A first splash adds aromatic notes to the woody sweetness. A further splash and the intense juniper flavour comes to the fore.

“The stirrup cup is made precisely for this watering and tasting ritual, but Morus LXIV can also be made into delicious cocktails, three particularly fine examples are to be found at morusgin.com.”

Final word from Phil:”Despite being in a flask, the gin must be kept upright. It can’t be shaken or stirred in the flask.”

@ And Phil also owns a bottle of Cambridge Distillery’s Watenshi gin, previously thought to be the world’s most expensive, which is made in batches of six and costs £2,000 a bottle.