Aged: No age statement
Product of: France
Introduced in 2008 Citadelle Reserve is one of the first ‘aged gins’ of the modern age, with each subsequent vintage release being slightly different in style. This sixth Citadelle Reserve, resplendent in a new bottle, this is the world’s first gin to be aged using a solera system.
Citadelle Gin is made in direct fired (naked flame) Charentais copper pot stills in cognac stills using French wheat neutral spirit and 19 botanicals:
1. French juniper berries
2. Orris root
3. French violet root
4. Moroccan coriander
6. Spanish lemon peel
7. Mexican orange peel
8. Angelica from North Germany
9. Indian cardamom
10. Indian nutmeg
11. Cassia bark from Indochina
12. Sri Lankan cinnamon
13. Mediterranean fennel
14. African grains of paradise
15. Cubeb from Java
16. Chinese liquorice
18. French anise
The AOC laws of the Cognac region, which stated that cognac can only be distilled between November and March, left the region’s copper alembic stills and skilled distillers unutilised for six months of the year. Alexandre Gabriel, owner of Cognac Ferrand, lobbied the BNIC, the governing body of Cognac, to allow him to use his stills to produce gin during those months when he could not make cognac. Having succeeded he researched historic French gin production and discovered that in 1771 two distillers in Dunkirk, Carpeau and Stival, had made gin from juniper berries and exotic spices brought by vessels arriving from the Orient for sale to gin crazed England. Incredibly, their distillery was located in the Dunkirk’s Citadelle, the historic fortress protecting the town. Hence Alexandre named his gin Citadelle gin.
Knowing that gin was originally stored and transported in wooden barrels and therefore somewhat ‘aged’, in the mid-2000s Alexandre Gabriel began experimenting with barrel-aging his Citadelle Gin and introduced aged Citadelle Gin Reserve Limited Edition in 2008.
With each subsequent annual release of Citadelle Gin Reserve Gabriel has fined-tuned the aging process, experimenting with different types of casks and aging periods. Over the years he concluded that a blend of gins aged in different types of casks produced the best aged gin.
Consequently, Gabriel employed a technique of aging and blending known as solera. The newly made Citadelle gin is first placed in various different types of casks for anywhere from two to five months. The casks used include: rinsed ex-Cognac casks, ex-Pineau des Charente casks and American oak ex-bourbon casks.
After this initial aging period the gin is transferred to the mother solera vat to marry prior to bottling. The solera vat will only ever be half-emptied to ensure a consistent flavour profile.
Citadelle Gin Reserve is available in limited quantities in individually numbered bottles.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 12/07/2014
(bottle No. 02840) Clear, slight straw yellow tinge.
Delicate pine juniper, lemon thyme and orange citrus, spicy oak with cinnamon and floral aromas, practically violet.
Elegant piney juniper, sweet zesty lemon, cream of soda and dry delicatly spiced oak.
Long lasting with pine, gentle oak, lemon zest and lavender.