What did you do before establishing Comte de Grasse Distillery?
In my previous life I was heading brand management and merchandising for luxury fashion brands in South East Asia. It was invaluable as I learnt a lot about bringing newly established brands to market etc.
What made you decide to create your distillery and gin?
I originally wanted to make whisky for my father! I knew I wanted to do spirits differently, My research and self education process led me to the perfume industry and city of Grasse, I found that there were many synergies that existed between perfumes and spirits. This curiosity led me to the discovery of the cutting edge science that goes into the making of fragrances today and this provided us with the building blocks to establish Comte de Grasse.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and distillation process?
The distillery is an old perfumery and is a classified building. It's recognisable by its long red-brick chimney.
We have a unique distillation process, starting with ultrasonic maceration which enables us to preserve the molecules of each botanical as much as possible, followed by using ultrasonic waves to accelerate the extraction process. The macerate is then vacuum distilled at low temperature, resulting in a refined distillation. Finally, we extract the flavours through CO2 critical extraction. This process gives great control and precision to develop the flavours we require. The liquid is composed of 80% local botanicals - one of our key ingredients being the Centifolia Rose, a very rare botanical that flourishes only 3 weeks a year in and around the region. We are also lucky to have our own juniper berry that grows freely around our area: cade.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
As all start-ups we have had our fair share of challenges - one of the most important learnings for us has been that as an industrial start-up your capital expenditure can be very high, so it is very important to phase your plans. Going too heavy on capital expenditure form the word go can inhibit your ability to invest into marketing and create awareness about your products among consumers.
Our greatest achievement so far has been developing the fantastic team of individuals who have come together to form the core team at Comte de Grasse. Every single one of them truly believes in the values of the company. It is this highly motivated team that is the reason why we were able to go from zero to setting up a distillery and launching our first spirit brand within 18 months.
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
French Riviera Taste.
What's your favourite way to drink 44N Gin?
Equal measure of gin and Mediterranean tonic with just 1 cube of ice, or in a Negroni.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
KiNoBi, Monkey 47 Distillers Cut, and Bertha's Revenge Gin are my other favourites.
What's next for Comte de Grasse and 44N - Any exciting plans?
We have set ourselves some very ambitious goals. Our goal is to launch 4 luxury spirit brands by 2025 and secure distribution in 30 key markets globally. Our next brand, which is an ultra premium flavoured vodka, has been launched this month (August 2021), so yes lots of exciting things happening.
You might also like...