Published on April 14th, 2014 | by Gavin1
With my love of rum, bourbon and all things that are aged in barrels, it may come as a surprise to some that I’m a big fan of the gin revolution. Compared to its bland cousin vodka, gin has such an interesting history and the process of creating good gin is akin to a chemistry class. And when it comes to the spirit business in general, there are very few people more passionate or knowledgeable than Alexander Ferrand. Alexander is the owner and master blender for some of the finest spirits in the world including Cognac Ferrand, Mathilde liqueurs, and Plantation 3 star rum; but what I didn’t know is that he also has his own gin that goes by the name of Citadelle.
Citadelle is a 44% ABV London Dry Gin made with 19 botanicals including fennel, star anise, and liquorice. It has the unique characteristic of being the only gin distilled in small Charentais copper pot stills over a naked flame. All other commercially available gins create heat through steam or column stills, which probably doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to most of us; however Alexander insists otherwise:
“Do you like your steak cooked in a pressure cooker or cooked in a pan? Both cooking methods will essentially give you the same result (a cooked piece of meat) but with very different taste! Wouldn’t you rather the steak seared on a skillet over a flame that produces that tasty caramelisation?”
Having tried Citadelle for myself, it’s hard to disagree with his reasoning. A citrus hit initially, closely followed by spicy notes as it slides down the throat; it’s perfect for a refreshing G&T garnished with an orange peel.
Being the mad scientist he is, Alexander also makes a limited number of barrel aged gin for the Citadelle Reserve vintage collection. Aged in oak casks for several months, Citadelle Reserve takes on a yellow tint and is much mellower than regular Citadelle but with a smoky vanilla finish. The complex spirit works well in slow sipping cocktails, and I was given a particularly well made extra dry martini. Each bottle has the year of creation and bottle number embossed on the side, so for any keen drink collectors, it could be worth buying two and keeping one in storage.
To try an expertly created cocktail for yourself, ask for Citadelle at The Luggage Room in the Grosvenor Square Marriott Hotel and the Experimental Cocktail Club in Chinatown.
Citadelle 70cl and Citadelle Reserve 70cl are available from Bibendum and all other leading spirits wholesalers and web retailers, selling for around £29.50 and £37.50 respectively.