The epicentre of world perfumery, Grasse, nestled in the Côte d’Azur, has a new claim to fame with the release of 44°N, the first flagship product from ground-breaking creator of exceptional spirits, Comte de Grasse.
The gin, which has been created using age-old perfume extraction techniques melded with cutting edge distilling technology, is set to challenge conventional thinking on both flavour creation and sustainability in the world of luxury drinks. The product is available to buy online direct from the distillery costing €75 for 50cl bottle (44% ABV), excluding postage.
Located in the ancestral home of Roure, producers of raw materials for the perfume industry dating back to 1820, the distillery is positioned with unparalleled access to rare botanicals and technological know-how for flavour extraction.
The result achieved by Master Scientist & Innovator Marie-Anne Contamin of introducing ultrasonic maceration, vacuum distillation and CO2 supercritical extraction into gin distillation for the first time is a liquid with phenomenal complexity, delicacy and a long, refined depth of flavour. These methods – codenamed Grasse HYPRX distillation process – use substantially less energy and natural resources than traditional gin production to acquire the desired effect.
With its own microclimate, Grasse is a place where intriguing botanicals grow freely, blessed by a collision of constant sunshine and warmth. Cade (juniper oxycedrus), bitter orange peel, immortelle, mimosa, jasmine, rose centifolia petals, lavender and local honeys are just some of the 20 precious ingredients sourced from the local community, including Renouer, a cooperative specialist in hand-picking, preparing and drying.
The mission of the cooperative is the professional integration of the local community following years of decline with much of the town’s perfume manufacture moving to industrial zones. The distillery also benefits with the purest mountain water from the Alpes Maritime ambling down to its local spring water source.
Commenting on the release of Comte de Grasse’s first product, CEO & Founder, Bhagath Reddy, said: “Terroir is more than just the soil from which plants grow, it is the wider environment in which fine ingredients are produced in France. Here in Grasse we are blessed not only with fertile lands for growing intriguing and rare botanicals, but also extraordinary people with gifted knowledge all contributing to the creation of 44°N. Our shared ambition to work together in creating methods of production that best serve our local environment, both social and physical, has been a real success of Comte de Grasse.
“Utilising practices from the perfume industry for producing our gin has resulted in a flavour like nothing else we’ve tasted. On the nose, bright, tangy lemon and grapefruit give way to lovely seaside sentiments from the samphire. The unmistakable woody characteristics of the cade is the juniper calling. A deep floral body follows with jammy facets of the native bitter orange tempered by herbaceous angelica and warm pepper rounding off the middle notes,” added Bhagath.
“The base offers tangy warm spicy notes with the honey sweetness holding its own as floral rose and citrus notes mingle. My personal recommendation for enjoying the delicacies of 44 Degrees North is an extremely dry martini with a lemon twist,” finished Bhagath.
Bottled in stunning Bleu Klein glass, with shimmering yellow accents and a refined presentation box, the gin’s Provençal heritage beams brightly. Given the nature of the production, just 1,500 bottles are available before Christmas 2018.
Supporting Comte de Grasse with its research and development is the University of Nice and Sophia Antipolis Research Lab who have supported the transfer of knowledge from perfumery to distilling.
- Cade (juniper oxycedrus)
- Bitter Orange (citrus aurantium)
- Verbena (aloysia citrodora)
- Everlasting (herichrysm italicum)
- Rose (rosa centifolia)
- Alexanders (smyrnium olustrum)
- Samphire (crithmum maritimum)
- Honey (apis melifera)
- Juniper (juniper communis)
- Angelica (angelica archangelica)
- Coriander (coriandrum sativum)
- Lemon (citrus limon)
- Orris (iris pallida)
CO2 extraction from essences: Everlasting (herichrysm italicum), Lavender (lavandula augustifola), Mimosa (acacia dealbata), Rose (both rosa centifolia and rosa damascena), Grapefruit (citrus paradise), Jasmine (jasmin grandiflorum), Patchouli (pogostemon cablin), Pepper Sichuan (zanthoxylum schinifolium)
Top notes: Fresh zingy lemon peel and grapefruit. Marine breeze and samphire punctuated by touches of mimosa. Cade adds woody, piney facets.
Body notes: Floral body with hints of Grasse’s rose centifolia and jasmine.
Jammy facets of bitter orange countered by the herbaceous punch of angelica.
Base notes: Spicy notes of alexanders. Orris and honey sweet and musky finish, with persistent floral and citrus notes.