What did you do before creating Mistral Gin?
Before creating Mistral Gin, I spent a large part of my career working with my partners in a wine business. I have spent the last 12 years in charge of export business for a prestigious French negociant – I covered many regions including Africa, the Middle East, the Netherlands. And, during the last 5 years in the UK, where I learned a lot about spirits and I saw the change of consumption in pub, we've gone from Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc wines to Gin & Tonic!
What made you decide to create Mistral Gin and what's the inspiration behind it?
Based on our knowledge of the terroirs of Provence and our know-how in the blending of wines, we decided to launch a new artisanal approach for this gin. This dry and craft rosé gin is the fruit of our passion for Provence and its way of life. Our enthusiasm first pushed us towards the wines and the great rosés of the region. Very quickly, we were fascinated by the diversity of plants in the region, especially juniper. After many months of local research, we thus decided to launch the first rosé dry gin from Provence focusing on the terroir and what it had to offer.
Can you tell us about the distillery and distillation process?
Established in 1898, our partner distillery is based in the heart of the Alpes de Haute-Provence region, not far from Luberon. There have been many investments in the distillery during the last few years which has allowed us to have very precise tools with modern distillation processes. In fact, we are using the century old distillation know-how, blended with brand new techniques!
We are pleased to use the 2 different stills there, bringing the key know-how from France in the distillation process: 1 from Cognac with the addition of a gin basket and 1 inspired by Armagnac giving us the chance to select the right one to adjust the extraction of every botanical depending of their ripeness.
Can you tell us more about the botanicals you use?
The nearby mountain, Montagne de Lure, offers an inexhaustible source of botanicals that have been growing here for thousands of years. Medicinal herbs have been gathered here since the Middle Ages, but it was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the frequent use of these plants intensified with the arrival of numerous pharmacists and apothecaries. We currently have access to certain botanicals harvested here by hand for Mistral Gin.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
When we worked on the recipe, it was a real adventure! Especially defining the blend of Provencal botanicals, the region is so rich in herbs that the selection was very hard. We understand fully now that some plants do not go well together…at all. It took us few months and many batches in order to obtain the best balanced and refreshing gin that we were looking for.
How would you describe Mistral Gin in 3 words?
Unique, balanced and refreshing.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
I am a gin lover and our Mistral Gin is made to be perfect in a G&T or cocktails. But, my favourite way to drink Mistral Gin is definitely quite simple, with a slice of pink grapefruit, a basil leaf and a great premium tonic. We developed some cocktail recipes in collaboration with bartenders that you can discover here: Mistral Gin Mixology.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
We recently discovered the gin of Mathieu Sabbagh - a crazy French guy focused on the Burgundy region! Even though we are not from the same French terroir, we love the fact that, a bit like Mistral Gin, he is pushing his region and is focused on offering a great experience to gin lovers. He is traveling around Burgundy visiting vignerons (i.e. winemakers), selecting grapes and blending together the distillates of very classic wine varietals such as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from prestigious appellation but cut at a very specific taste profile. We discovered them last year at Hospices de Beaune and it has been a great moment.
What's next for Mistral Gin - any exciting plans?
As you know a lot of new gin arrives on the market every day and it is hard to offer new and innovative propositions. We are working on couple of new projects currently like a premix drink for Mistral Gin. We are also focusing on a new gin brand which should be released for spring / summer 2021 and highlighting another face of the south of France, stay tuned.
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