Exploring Citadelle Gin with Alexandre Gabriel

We talk to Alexandre Gabriel about the unique blend of history and innovation that makes Citadelle Gin so popular

By: Tiff Christie|October 27,2021

It would be quite easy to say that Alexandre Gabriel has a unique sense about spirits. Not only did he take Maison Ferrand, a dormant Cognac house and turn it around, but he’s also created some of the most iconic brands in a variety of spirit categories.

One of the most notable is Citadelle Gin.

Created in the mid-’90s, Citadelle was a front runner in the craft gin movement and set an example that raised the bar for the category, an example that many have tried to follow.

Although Gabriel created the brand as a tribute to early French distilling, the brand has taken a unique approach to the production process from its botanicals through to its distillation.

To find out more, we talk to Alexandre Gabrielle about the brand, its philosophy and how best to use the expression in a cocktail.

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Tiff: It would be quite easy to say that Alexandre Gabriel has a unique sense about spirits. Not only did he take Maison Ferrand, a dormant Cognac house and turn it around, but he's also created some of the most iconic brands in a variety of spirit categories. One of the most notable is Citadelle Gin.
Created in the mid-'90s, Citadelle was a front runner in the craft gin movement and set an example that raised the bar for the category, an example that many have tried to follow. Although Gabriel created the brand as a tribute to early French distilling, the brand has taken a unique approach to the production process from its botanicals through to its distillation.
To find out more, we talk to Alexandre Gabriel about the brand, its philosophy and how best to use the expression in a cocktail.
Thank you for joining us Alexandre
Alexandre: It's a great pleasure to be here. And I was just listening, what you said. I blushed a little, you can't see it here.
Tiff: Now most people would be content with just reviving a cognac house, but you went on to create Citadelle. Why was adding a gin to the house's range important to you?
Alexandre: Maybe, we are the way we are, right? So maybe I'm a bit of a restless mind as far as spirits are concerned. I love the act of creation.
I had a mother who was an artist, and I love the act of creation. And I think spirits are really folk art. This is something that, if it's well done, it's distilled and it's made to be a shared pleasure. And I really enjoy doing this. When I go to a beautiful bar like I did last night actually, I create the instrument and these guys play the music. I'm trained in cognac as a master blender and I'm just was looking at pot stills. I was pretty young back then and when we went out we drank gin tonics. And let me tell you, I've drunk a lot of bad gin tonics in my life, I have to confess and I really thought 'what if we make the gin tonic', we know distilling, we have this beautiful stills right here and they're dormant for part of the year. I was like, let's create it.
So I went into a frenzy to learn everything about gin making. And the team was of course, by my side, we're like more of a community than a team. We live on the farm in Cognac and we created Citadelle and it took five years of work to really fine-tune it and launch it at the worst time to launch an artisanal gin, which is 1996. You couldn't pick up the worst time but we went on
Tiff: Now, I believe you had a bit of a battle being allowed to actually use the stills to create the gin.
Alexandre: That's very interesting, we're in a region in which cognac is an AOC, it's an appellation d'origine contrôlée, so it's controlled very strictly the way cognac should be produced. And that's great. It's been like this for hundreds of years, but we wanted to use these stills that we had, not during the cognac season, just to keep that very separate and very respected and that's fine. And I want to , of course, respect regulation.
So I went to customs and excise and I said, we're going to make this beautiful gin. And I was, imagine, young, passionate and I'm like, we're going to make this gin, and this is the recipe I found, this is how we're going to tweak it. And they looked at me like I was crazy and I said, what's the problem?
And they say, but this is a cognac still. I said it's actually the ancient still, this was everybody's still in the old days and cognac chose to stay with it for quality of course. And they said there are no rules that say you can use your still in the rest of the year. And, I dare to say but there are no rules that say that I can not. And they're like, we're government we say, and I'm like okay. And long story short, it took five years of discussion back and forth. Yes, five years. And if you would have told me, it's good I didn't know it would take so long. I thought, come on, I'm going to make all these very compelling presentations. We had so much historical documents. You might've seen the type of work I love to do. And so really, in the end, it took for a guy to retire and another guy to be, finding a way that legally we could use this still off-season.
Cognac can only be distilled when you harvest the grapes. That's normal, right? So October says, depending on the harvest. This year is a little late because of the weather. And then until the 31st of March. On 31st of March, if you're not done distilling, you cannot call it Cognac because it is recognised that the grapes wouldn't be as fresh as they should be. So there is a limit and a time limit, which I think is a good idea, by the way. And then onto this, we have an inspection and then, it's decommissioned for cognac recommissioned for gin.
In a way, it was a blessing. I didn't think it was a blessing, let me tell you, I was fuming. It made us better, adversity, sometimes a good thing. So we tried and we researched and I can tell you. We had the right to experiment, not to sell. And so we did so many experiments and so much work with this and maybe that's why Citadelle is like this today. So that was not all a bad thing.
Tiff: Now back in the nineties, why did you choose gin? I imagine at that time, vodka would have been considered an easier and more popular choice.
Alexandre: Actually, I think it's a great question because you're right. Everybody was about vodka, distilled 25 times or whatever, or, filtered through milk or, some crazy stuff. I have a lot of respect for marketing when it's really creative and very transparent and honest.
My job and our job at Maison Ferrand is to create spirits of flavours, spirits of intensities, spirits of emotion. And so to me, and all due respect, but vodka had a neutrality aspect. The definition of vodka, no need to every country, but the definition of vodka in the US, is the spirit should be tasteless, odourless and when you're a creator like us and like me, you want to create odour, you want to create smells and you want to create the emotions to that. So for me, technically, I was not attracted, and, of course, we make, a neutral spirit to distil the gin, but it's about the beauty of gin. And the only limit to gin is your imagination.
And I really love that free spirit gin had, and I love the fact you could create this beautiful hermetics, distilling different plants, different herbs, and also, as a young man going out, and gin was the thing when I was a kid growing up in south burgundy, probably only there, but that was the thing. And that it felt totally out of style, but we never worried. And I never worried, what is the people drinking now. We do things that we believe in. For us, it's a mission. So sometimes people see it and sometimes, as in the case of gin, it takes 10 years for people to notice..
Tiff: I can imagine at the time, there weren't a lot of people creating gin, how were you sure it was going to work?
Alexandre: Oh, I was not sure at all, but I felt, certain we could make a beautiful product and we pour ourselves into it. Sometimes we have this kind of level of passion where you think you're going to create something delicious and everybody's going to see it. And then you create it. And not so many people see it at first, but then, if you really continue, cruising on, I think in the end people notice. So that's the story of Citadelle for sure.
We created it and launched it. So we worked five years on it and we launched it in 1996 and the first years were tough because actually there was nobody that was doing artisanal gin. I was looking everywhere and there were other gins that were more mass-produced, they were there and some were good and some were, okay. But we wanted to create something exceptional. And I had nowhere to turn, but yet I went and met the other distillers to learn what I could learn, but I think I found even more studying, the old documents about distilling. That was the inspiration and really to connect back to when gin use small, little stills and things like that. So that's really how we took it.
Tiff: Tell us a little bit more about the documents that you found.
Alexandre: I got very lucky and I guess, we worked so hard. I looked in the archives. First of all, you're being told all gin is invented by a guy called Sylvius de Bouve, in Leiden University.
So I don't speak the old language there, but I sent young students that went and brought back and translated a lot of documents. And, that's what the gin book said back then. Just a couple of weeks later, we discovered that this poor gentleman that, actually seem to be a very interesting doctor, but had not created, the ancestor of gin, Genever. It was all over already back then when he was a doctor and he was actually recommending Juniper distillates as a medication. He didn't create anything with it.
So we're like, okay, let's look elsewhere. And we started researching and you could see that these spirits originate from the Juniper spirits from the Flanders. So that includes part of France, what is Belgium now, and what is Netherland now. And then we researched different cities and found old documents in a couple of cities in France, including Dunkerque a city in the Northern part. And we're in the Southwest of France and we have all these beautiful citadels, these forts on the water. And interestingly enough, and I love this type of coincidence. Most recipes we found were not, they were just bits and pieces. They were in a district called Citadel in the Northern part of France in 1775. So it was just very inspiring and being right next to these beautiful Citadels from the Southwest. I said that's a sign. We're going to call it that way and use some of these elements.
And what was great in these recipes is they showed that yes, you use Juniper berries, but you use other components, other botanicals to create layering complexity and make a spirit that's fully delicious and intense without being aggressive. And that was the goal, having a beautiful taste delivery, without that sharp, Piney elements that sometimes people don't like in gin. And that was the challenge
Tiff: Being a front runner, how difficult was it to sell your vision?
Alexandre: It's was preaching the gospel really. That's what it was. And I'm very lucky. I have a team around me and, we work together and we're more like a community than we are a company. And so everybody was like, we're so convinced and going out there.
So at first, everybody thought were crazy. French gin? Are you nuts? We love your cognac, stick to the cognac' kind of thing. And then the first break was when our distributor in Spain one day calls me frantic. He says you won't believe this. Ferran Adrià ... Ferran Adrià is like a rockstar chef from Barcelona who invented molecular cuisine and used to own a beautiful restaurant called El Bulli. And he said, gin and tonic on TV is a gastronomic act. Use a wine glass and use a beautiful gin. And at the time there was no artisanal tonic, by the way. So he made his own tonic and sure enough, we're on TV. He whips out a bottle of Citadelle. So my distributor said, I used to order just a few cases, a layer of a palette of your gin, I'm going to just go for it and order it pallet.
And I went oh, a pallet of gin, that's great. And that was the first break. And the second break is 1999. I remember, I still have this in the drawer of my desk in Cognac. Our distributor in New York wouldn't pick up the gin, and what happens is that, at that time, this wonderful journalist from New York Times and we're talking about the cognac and he tasted the gym that I had in my suitcase. And he said, this is delicious gin. And I told him my story and things. And then, a couple of days later, a beautiful article, Citadelle Gin Storms The Gate, and we're like drawing half a page in the food section in the New York Times.
And the rest is history because the same distributor that turned me down that week, called me back and say, by the way, can we taste that chain again? And then he picked it up and then, one thing led to another.
And then it was another crazy guy, Charles Rolls, who a year later, in 1997, purchased Plymouth Gin and did a great job with it. So there was like the British guy and a French guy. We presented our little craziness of doing, a better quality, high-end gin, artisanal gins. And then there was another guy that did a brand called Leyden Gin and he went out. So that was, were worried about this.
But together with Charles, we went on to talk about this and then he sold his brand when he started to do well. Of course, I'm a, I'm a creator. These are my babies. So I cruised on, he went on to create Fever-Tree, by the way, Charles, really is a serial entrepreneur for sure. And I have a lot of respect for him. So that's what happened. These little breaks that you get and then here you go, and then there was bigger, larger companies made more, showed that yeah, the big guys maybe could also believe in artisanal gin. And that was a good thing to open the category.
Tiff: Now, let's talk a little bit about the flavour of the gin. Using a cognac still, does that affect the flavour at all?
Alexandre: We call it a cognac still. Very rightly because this is, what's used to make cognac now, but the still that we use in cognac is actually used also for Calvados and was basically the original still. Most people give it up because it's very time-consuming. You've got to sit next to it. It's very slow. If you just deal with a huge column is gushing out of the still, here it's dripping, half the size of your pinky, so it's a very artisanal still. And so anything you distil in this type of still, you get some very precision distillate. And so that's what I thought was wonderful. We just had this beautiful equipment, some of which was 50, 80 years old, and we're just sitting there and, so to us was a way to make a very precise, delicious also because it has a lower Swan neck, you got oil, really oily, very rich elements from the botanicals you distil. It's not as sharp. So that's really started to define that style of having something that's a little more generous, and yet you have the intensity of the flavour, the beautiful refreshment and complexity without having the bite. And, as a distiller, I knew this, but it was so beautiful to get that first drop and verify all of this.
Tiff: Am I right in assuming that it's an open flame still?
Alexandre: Yes, we do open flame. We actually might evolve. We're looking because the open flame is a bit energy consuming and we are very environmentally conscious. So we're evolving slowly into a system that is actually with a coil inside the still. When we started doing it, it was an open flame, and we're going to slowly evolve this, we're very careful but originally was the open flame. You're right
Tiff: Now, you spoke earlier about your interest in creating aromas and creating flavours. What other botanicals, other than the expected Juniper, have you included in the gin?
Alexandre: Imagine, back then, it was like the big question, how we do this and to me, there's really the philosophy of Citadelle original, it's like a triangle at the apex, you're going to beautiful Juniper berries. They're very important because they're what brings you the style of the gin, the freshness, the beautiful taste. Of course, one part of the definition of gin it's a spirit with a predominant.
The flavour of Juniper berries. So without this, it's not really a gin. Of course, you have those elements at the point of the apex of the triangle. And then to the left, you'd have a citrus element. I love when the gins got this nice citrusy, refreshing and it triggers your brain into something, a little sweet, generous, and exotic.
And that to us is the second element that you find in Citadelle. And then to me in all the beautiful historical gin as we're dreaming them up, you have like a win of the very far away, something exotic. So think nutmegs since a little bit of cinnamon.
And it should really be subliminal. It should be like that very light wind that you see on wheat fields, just something that's there. But that doesn't explode there. And so that's how we built Citadelle with all these elements. And it's funny, you asked the question because. I remember we had five years on our hands to work it out. We didn't know what was going to be five years, but in the end, turned out to be five years.
So I've read and learned every method of distilling gin. And long story short, if you make real gins, I'm not talking about the neutral spirit in which people add flavours, which unfortunately can be called gin, I'm talking about the real gins and for the listeners, one of the indications is the price point, unfortunately, it's not all of the indications. But, when a gin is really cheap on a shelf and be careful, they cost you more money the next morning, when you wake up. But the true gin, where the taste comes from distillation, then you either put your botanicals in the still, or the day before the still, everybody has different elements doing, or actually, there's a friend of mine that they developed another part where you put the botanicals in a basket above the spirit that you're going to distil, it's called percolation. So all these were the two options. The percolation method while I respect it, I was not crazy about it because you don't get that nice, deep, intense, oily flavours I was looking for. And then there is guys who thought about it differently, they did sequential distillation. So they distil the different botanicals separately and they blend them together. And I've tried everything. And I couldn't find a method that I liked. They each had like their downside. Distilling them separately, blending, they just didn't have the integration that I was looking for. So, long story short, we said, we're going to, we're going to figure out our way of distilling gin. And I liked the fact and I understood from distilling when you distil the botanicals differently and separately, you realise they each have a style and a personality, like individuals.
So we actually developed and patented our own method where we actually infuse these different botanicals in the spirit, in the course of three, four days before distillation. But then after that, there's very delicate inclusion and the precise infusion is distilled.
So instead of just throwing it in the still before, or put in the basket or just doing separately and blending, we do have the advantage of respecting every botanical because they're thrown in there at different times. So we can have the perfect infusion for each botanical yet it's distilled together, so you have this great integration. So that's the constructions of Citadelle, to have these three key elements as the origin. And I got to tell you something, we wanted to be like that. And one of the early articles we got from a spirit writer, who's really a guru, Paul Pacult in the US, he's to spirits what Robert Parker is to wine in terms of writing. And then he said, he was going to review Citadelle. I was nervous and one of his line was 'Citadelle Gin was what gin was meant to be'. And when I read this, I got a little teary because this is really what we set our mind to do and the fact that the guy like him gets it, was like, wow. Very humbling.
Tiff: Now, let’s talk about what we can do with the gin. With the original, what sort of cocktails would you recommend?
Alexandre: As I mentioned before, I'm the guy building the instrument and you guys, when you drink it, play the music the way you want to.
Of course, I got my little favourites and I'll share some with you, but that's so personal because when you are the father or the mother of a product like this, like people may look at it differently because while it's your creation, it's actually something that will escape you once it's on the shelf or people buy it.
But i'll tell you, the original gin tonic is still a beautiful, simple, product that you can enjoy at any time and you don't need to be a genius to make a good one. You just need a great gin and you need a great tonic. And in our case, you take the skin of the lemon, as little white as possible because that's better and you just squeeze it on top. Make sure the ice cubes are big and it's delicious. So that's that's something that's really key, f or beautiful gin and tonic.
I love a French 75. There's a lot of different things you can do with Citadelle. And every time I go in a beautiful bar, I experience all these creations that people made. Also there are many gin cocktail classics.. That you can do with the original, and that was the idea because you both have the intensity of the flavours without having the bite.
In the Southwest of France, we also like to drink gin when you eat fresh oysters. In Southwest, we got all these beautiful oysters, so that's also one way for us to to enjoy it.
Tiff: Now, aside from the original, there are three further expressions. I thought we might go through each. First is the old Tom. Now that's traditionally a sweeter gin. What made you think to go there?
Alexandre: Well, you know? The old Tom is a very historical type of gin, you're right, that's a little sweeter. Very often old Tom is a little bit aged, slightly rested in a barrel. So I thought that was cool, and I'm a master blender by training, so I thought to really define and create a beautiful Old Tom, so that's what I decided to do and use different types of woods, like the reserve gin .
The old Tom refers, people think, to a cat, we have a cat at the distillery. Every distillery has a cat and we have our own called Little Tom, but now he's not little anymore, so he's not old yet. And so it was creating that reference. And I thought that was beautiful, to create that type of silkier, really beautiful gin, and that's like a sipping gin really in quite a way, so it can be served neat or over ice. Or it can be a fantastic Collin cocktail. Citadelle Gin Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, and you chill that with soda water, and it's delicious, that's also a beautiful drink with the old Tom.
Tiff: You mentioned the Reserve Gin, now, weirdly, I believe that's actually aged in a giant wooden egg?
Alexandre: I'm not a barrel maker, but as a blender, you have to do three months, so you know how to take a barrel apart and rebuild it. And in the process, I made a lot of friends who are like wonderful Coopers. They make beautiful barrels, right. Now when you're a master blender, it's good to have good friends who make beautiful barrels.
And so these four artists created this giant wooden barrel that really literally looks like an egg. It's really is an egg, and what it does, it actually creates convection, so there's no angle for the spirits to hit. So by nature and because of the differences of temperature in your cellar, the liquid is slowly moving inside, getting oxygenation through the wood, but also movement too, imagine it's like a beautiful natural stir.
And it creates a beautiful stir that creates a very seamless gin. That's what we use for the reserve, and also for the old Tom actually. So when I created Reserve Citadelle, we wanted to have the best of the best in terms of resting. And, obviously, you don't get these intense flavours of wood because it's a bigger, element. So you get these very delicate elements that are beautiful and that kind of round off the gin. And yes, it's a beautiful piece, it's called the ovum. It's a big wooden egg. If you see one, you would want one for your living room.
Tiff: Now, I believe recently you've released a gin that was based on your wife's garden.
Alexandre: Yeah, that's true. It's like a COVID baby. We have kids and Debbie's from the US and she wanted to raise the kids in a school where they learn English, not just French.
So the school she liked and she thought would be great for the kids was in Paris. And Debbie is more like a city person and I'm like the country guy. You know what? I really live at the farm back in Cognac. And with COVID and the kids being just grown up, left the house, she said I'm going to move in cognac with you full full-time. I'm like, okay, cool. That's great. I was like 25 years of marriage later, how's that going to work. And Debbie has been fantastic. She just started growing like this huge garden, we helped her. She grew tomatoes. She grew melons cantaloupe. She grew a lot of different things. And, we bought her like lemon trees and she was all excited doing this and did beautiful things.
By the end of the season, I had so many tomatoes, but they were delicious and fresh and I'm like that really inspired me. I said, these smells that you have in the Southwest of France in the summer, think about the Citronade, that you drink with your friends, think about this nice little cantaloupe, really super refreshing aromatics, figs and all these elements.
And I thought I could create a gin that just would be that. So we would be in summer every time we have it. You know, here, right at the Chateau de Bonbonnet, every time we drink one of these glasses. So we started distilling all the elements that were grown there. And we came up with this gin we call Jardin D'été, summer garden and that's in honour of Debbie. She really inspired me with this gin and when I had the team taste it and I worked on it with two people that are part of my team for research one of the person is funny. Her dream was when she was 12 years old is to be a novice for perfume. And when we launched Jardin D'été, she worked with me on it. She said I'm so proud, she has a PhD now in distilling. And she said my dream was always to be making it one of the most beautiful perfumes. And my dream has just come true because a beautiful gin should have beautiful, aromatic notes. And that's when we launched Jardin D'été, that's how it was created and we launched it and people seem to love it. So we're really proud.
Tiff: If somebody hasn't had a chance to try that particular expression yet, what sort of flavours?
Alexandre: The Jardin D’été, brings forward all that French thirst, quenching element that you get. It's a great question. Instead of distilling just the skin of the lemon, I've decided to take the lemons and slice them and distil the whole lemons. You get, those little acidity elements that you get from lemon, even though it doesn't distil through, it just gets through these aromatics.
So instead of just the skin of the lemons, which most people do and that's what we do in the original. So you get these very meditative, almost, lemon jam elements here, we distil the whole lemon itself. And that's beautiful because it's got that really refreshing thirst-quenching, beautiful taste.
Also, another element is cantaloupe. We have this beautiful orange lemon down Southwest of France and they're really refreshing. The only thing with the melon is that you can't distill it at warm temperatures, so we distilled them separately, so I was a little nervous of the result and it worked beautifully in a vacuum still. So you don't have to cook it. It's just fully natural. So you got that a little bit of it. Unless I tell you, you don't taste that it's just there to create that really refreshing feel again that I wanted to do. And she grew this beautiful melon and we just distilled them, I even distill a little bit of the skin of the melon. I just gave you a little secret here, those specific elements. So these are the two key elements, there are others, but that would be dominant
Tiff: Out of the four expressions, which is your favourite?
Alexandre: See I have three kids and sometimes I'm asked that question. These are my kids and it happens there's four of them.
It really depends on the moment. I get a lot of attention to the latest one we develop, so Jardin D'été, is certainly front and centre right now, but it really depends. Like for example, if it's the evening, I'm with friends we are playing cards, I would love to have the old Tom on a big ice cube in a snifter, that would be beautiful.
And that would be my preference at that time. I'm, outside and sunny and the Jardin D'été is incredible. . You want a beautiful, also gin and tonic, again, you can have this real classic with the original or, the reserve makes an incredible gin martini. You get the right vermouth, like French vermouth. The reserve makes a beautiful martini. So it's hard to tell you which one I prefer because you know, why give up the others? I would always have all of them.
Tiff: Excellent. Now, what are the future plans for the brand?
Alexandre: That's a great question. The old guys that trained me into the master distiller, master blender, have almost retired except one person, Luke.
Who's an incredible, gentleman's who'll retire next year, and I've surrounded myself with the next generation, very talented people and the plans is to continue creating beautiful expressions of gin. And we've decided that all these creations that we do, we create 5, 6, 7, this year, we created 10 new gins and they usually never make it out of the distillery. We just enjoy them and then move on to something different. We're going to launch every year, limited edition of some of these super creative gins, for example, there's one we created that's been sold at the distillery, it's sold out now. But Season Of The Witch, it's a rock song, that we think is fun, but we actually roast the Juniper berries on an open fire with little holes in the plate. So it smokes the Juniper berries. And so when you distil the gin, it's slightly smoky is delicious.
Oh yes. Delicious makes like a beautiful, slightly smoky gin and tonic or a gin cocktail. It's wonderful. So we did that for example. One day we'd created another gin that we called Wild Blossom. My grandmother grew up on a farm, used to do make infusions, like herbs infusions, with cherry flowers and cherry leaves, from the cherry tree. I love cherries. So we got an inspiration and the wild blossom is a gin where we distil the flowers and the leaves of the cherry tree in cherry season. We have a large cherry tree at the Château de Bonbonnet. And one of my friends made a barrel of cherry wood, and so we put it for just a few weeks, couple, three, four weeks into this cherry tree barrel to just get both the flower, the leaves, and it's like the trilogy of the cherry tree and it's got this nice red fruit notes that I love. Again, that was a limited edition. And we're not going to stop. We're going to continue like this, I could go on because there are 10 other ones but just wanted to give you examples.
So that's the future of the brand is for us to continue creating I'm a creator and making Citadelle is very much a gin that's alive.
Tiff: They sound amazing. I hope you do actually bring out the limited additions soon
Alexandre: Absolutely. And the last thing about Citadelle is the new generations of the guys working with me to said, Alexandre, we have to distil the gin for six months and the rest of the time we distil cognac. But what if we just have a little distillery, just for Citadelle, so we can do these experiments all year long. And of course, we didn't do it before for financial reasons, in all honesty, and we were there and we decided to bite the bullet financially. And we used a lot of reclaimed material, including the stills that are made from reclaimed copper, from old stills that I had. And we created at the Château de Bonbonnet, so really down the stairs from where I sleep and I live, the distillery Bonbonnet that went dormant 30 years ago, but it was a distillery for 300 years before that. And if you look on the internet, you'll see the pictures, we just integrated it last week, the Citadelle distillery with nine beautiful old stills, and so we're going to be able to do these experiments all year long, which is wonderful.
Tiff: Oh, that sounds amazing. So I assume we will be hearing a lot more from you very soon.
Alexandre: Yes, absolutely. You're going to hear a lot about all the new expressions.
Tiff: Excellent. Now I assume the gins are available in France, obviously. And in the US. Are they available across the US?
Alexandre: They're available across the US I don't know if it's exactly every single state, but pretty much probably 80 or 90% of the states. I'm not into the distribution, I'm the maker, but I know this because I've got friends asking me the same question in the US and they find it out there. And I'm proud to say that the team at sales have done an incredible job, putting it like in a hundred countries around the world, I would have never thought, in 1996, But it's very humbling to see as many people who embrace Citadelle because of the quality and they love drinking it.
And it's such a pleasure when you're the creator of the gin. You see my kids when they're real young and they were studying in Paris. Now they're back, they're living their life and they would pass a store and each time come back home, and if Citadelle be in the window, back in the shelf and they were like 10 years, 12 years old, we trained them.
They would come back and say, oh, daddy, mommy, Citadelle was in the store or, and so on and so forth would be so happy. And so when you see the products and people who really get what we're doing by inventing Citadelle back then, it's very humbling, but also very satisfying I must say.
Tiff: If people want more information on the brand, they can, of course, go to your website, which is or connect with you on your social.
Alexandre: Absolutely. Any question, anything, we love the sharing. There's a lot of gin fans right now, so I dreamed of that moment, that was 1996 when we were alone preaching in the desert. And it's wonderful to see now all these really young, interesting, smart people and of all ages, fascinated with gin and that's wonderful. I dreamed of that moment and that moment has arrived.
Tiff: Thank you, Alexandre for taking the time to speak with us today.
Alexandre: Thank you so much. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Exploring Citadelle Gin with Alexandre Gabriel

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