Sip and See

By Flora Buckley

Imagine yourself, for one moment, taking a sip of spirit and miraculously transporting yourself to the glamorous and picturesque destination that is Cote d’Azur. The imposing and magnificent rock face juxtaposes against the deep azure ocean that extends out in front of you. The searing heat beats down against your bronzed skin as you recline exuberantly into your shaded cabana, iced Gin Martini in hand.

Maybe the next thought that pops into your mind as you have your imaginary sip is what does this smell like? The Sun? The local herbs? Is this a strange question to ask? well yes and no. Our senses are of course intertwined so no emotive experience comes without sight, sound, smell touch, etc

So you have imagined taking the idea of sipping a gin a stage further where you are as inspired by the smell as you are by the taste, after all, it is often the smell that draws you towards wanting to taste something.

Then this gin becomes almost akin to perfume. Subtle aromas that drift towards and entice you. The aromas build a picture in your mind that sum up emotional experiences just as a perfume always does.

Well, this was exactly Comte de Grasse’s aim when creating the luxurious gin that is Gin 44°N. This is no gimmick. This is very much about a pure form of distillation for the highest quality gin that is as much produced in traditional ways as it is about with certain techniques and new technologies. Many of which are used in perfume making. Here we have the meeting of taste and smell utilising both old and new technology and where gin meets fragrance; in a sensual taste and scent combination.

They were able to create a perfume inspired gin, which enabled the nostalgic qualities that perfume possesses to produce a beautifully sentimental and transformative spirit. Alongside a totally superior style smooth gin that goes far past the ideas of what many would refer to in the fashionable gin circles as ‘botanical’ gins

Gin 44°N

The company looked to their heritage in Grasse when thinking about the production; the botanicals they included are locally sourced and the extraction methods were influenced by Grasse’s renowned perfume expertise. Grasse, an idyllic town set in the mountains of the French Riviera, has become renowned for its perfume industry given its adept microclimate, perfect for flower farming. Wanting to create a gin whose tasting notes embodied the local botanicals, Gin 44°N used perfume extraction techniques to achieve just that.

Rather than begin with a set of definite ingredients, Comte de Grasse envisaged their final product before starting the process; starting with the emotions and flavour they wished to create.

The gin is made from select botanicals that have been treated individually and with utmost care. 22 botanicals are infused in the gin, most of which were sourced locally in Grasse. Botanicals used in each process:
Macerated and distilled:  Cade, Bitter Orange, Verbena, Everlasting, Rose, Alexanders, Samphire, Honey, Juniper, Angelica, Coriander, Lemon and Orris. Wow, these are the sort of ingredients usually mentioned on a bootle of Eau Du parfum.

The first sip of Gin 44°N brings a zesty and fresh lemon peel and grapefruit scent. The aroma of a marine breeze, samphire, is interspersed by touches of mimosa and the Cade adds woody and piny facets. The body of the gin is floral, with accents of rose centifolia and jasmine. Finally, the base notes bring a spicy and woody essence, which blends perfectly with the floral and citrus.

Botanical Rose Centifolia

Not only did Comte de Grasse create a new technique in gin production, but the method is highly sustainable. The process undertaken involves ultrasonic maceration and cold vacuum distillation; a low- energy technique where microscopic bubbles are made to form. CO2 supercritical extraction then follows, where a high-pressure plasma of CO2 is pumped into each botanical to extract flavours without damaging the molecule. This also means the product has the best quality in taste it can possibly have.

As a result, Comte de Grasse has created a unique product, marrying the worlds of perfume and distillery. The subtle taste reflects back the layers of ingredients far surpassing the usual ‘juniper’ experience. Like a great perfume, this most aromatic of gins opens in your palette revealing each sensation of ingredient subtlely yet whilst leaving a taste sensation on the palette

The distinctive blue bottle has a hue of both sea and sky evocative hits of yellow represent the golden sun and the silver-coloured stopper with a cork inside. Most interesting of all is potentially the way in which the gin can be enjoyed. Sip it with ice and it can be enjoyed almost like an aperitif, mix it with (good quality) tonic an enjoy it as a long drink or mix it with a hint of vermouth for the most exquisite Martini. Very few gins have the variety of uses enabling the mix the highlight different facets of flavour dependent on what goes with.

This is the first venture by the company and it looks not to be their last as they are developing other products to add to the line. But for now, know there is limited production as this is a small niche company with only 1500 available right now until the end of the year.

Now rather than thinking and imagining the experience go do it for real.

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