Citadelle gin is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a special spirit that has been aged in casks made from juniper wood. It’s called Citadelle Juniper Décadence and it’s…
Citadelle gin is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a special spirit that has been aged in casks made from juniper wood. It’s called Citadelle Juniper Décadence and it’s only available from Master of Malt.
The founding of Sipsmith in 2009 is generally considered the beginnings of the British gin boom, along with the loosening of regulations around the size of stills that gin producers were legally allowed to use. This opened the floodgates to the cornucopia of gins that were now take for granted.
Before the gin boom
Things were very different back in 1997. Most pubs would have stocked Gordon’s and Beefeater, Tanqueray if you were lucky, generic house gin if you weren’t. The consensus within the industry was that nobody needed any more gin brands. LIke British Rail, it was about managed decline.
This was the year that Cognac producer Alexandre Gabriel decided to launch a new gin called Citadelle (read the full story here). He was ahead of his time: “It was like a moon landing!” he said. ”There was nobody on the gin planet. In 1996 I thought the world was waiting for an artisanal delicious gin. It was not!”
A French gin, que c’est?
“I remember our importer in America looking at me like I must have gone mad. A French gin?! This decision was made purely out of passion and it was almost disastrous to our business. I have made many mistakes and I hope I am going to make less,” he says. “It looked like Citadelle wouldn’t work because it was out of time and it was financially painful. But, in the end, the two wrongs became a right. Now there is a new gin every week, right?” he continues.
The thing that put Citadelle on the map was when super chef Ferran Adrià from El Bulli, the world’s best restaurant, endorsed the brand. “In about 1997/98 Adrià was on TV. He said that Gin and Tonic is a gastronomic act and a beautiful aperitif and that you should use a great gin. He whipped out a bottle of Citadelle. We were like ‘wow’. That made a difference,” Gabriel says.
25 years of fine gin
Gradually, the rest of the world caught up with Grabriel’s vision. Now, as Citadelle celebrates its 25th anniversary, the gin landscape looks very different. The market is probably saturated with gins at all price points – I wouldn’t want to be launching a new product now – but Citadelle is well-established as one of the best premium products on the shelves.
It gets its distinct flavour from a unique process which Gabriel calls ‘progressive infusion.’ He uses a mixture of 19 botanicals including French juniper berries, orris root, French violet root, Moroccan coriander, almonds, Spanish lemon peel, and Mexican orange peel. According to Gabriel: “Each botanical is infused in neutral alcohol of French wheat for different lengths of proof and time, according to its aromatic function. While some require a strong degree of alcohol and a long infusion such as juniper berries, others infuse better in a weaker degree of alcohol, in a shorter time like star anise”.
Introducing Citadelle Juniper Décadence
To commemorate 25 years of juniper-infused excellence, Citadelle has released a new gin called Juniper Décadence. It’s made with the brand’s signature 19-botanical recipe but then the gin is aged for a period of time in casks made from juniper wood, before bottling at 44.4% ABV. This imparts a gentle smokiness alongside the bright, herbaceous gin notes. We think the subtle woodiness would work brilliantly with sherry in something like a Palo Cortado Martini. Only 84 bottles are available to the UK market and only from Master of Malt.
It’s the perfect way to celebrate Alexander Gabriel’s persistence and prescience. As the man behind Plantation rum and Ferrand Cognac, he’s one of the most innovative people in the drinks business and we make no apologies for the blog being somewhat Gabriel heavy at the moment – there’s a lot going on and more to come.
Let’s raise a glass to Citadelle’s silver anniversary. Santé!
Citadelle Juniper Décadence is only available from Master of Malt. Click here to buy. This is a strictly limited edition product, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
Robust oaky juniper, liquorice, grapefruit, a hint of dry smoke, toasted seeds.