Alexandre Gabriel: artificial flavours ‘danger’ to gin

by Melita Kiely

Maison Ferrand founder Alexandre Gabriel has created a gin in “rebellion” against an influx of products made with artificial flavours and colours, which are “a danger for the category”, he said.

Citadelle Rouge joined French brand Citadelle Gin’s line-up earlier this month, when it launched in the UK. The gin is made with botanicals such as juniper, coriander, orange peel, cardamom and cinnamon, which have been complemented by fresh fruits such as cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and rhubarb. Gabriel said: “I created Citadelle in 1996, and in retrospect I had no idea what I was doing – I was just doing what I liked to do. “My dream was for a renaissance of gin to happen, for gin to be vibrant again. “And yet, I’m really worried about what’s happening because I see gin becoming bright red and green, and every colour of the rainbow, full of artificial flavours. That was not our dream. “I believe in freedom to create; spirits are all the product of agriculture and I believe that should be respected and honoured when making gin, or any spirit.” Focusing on natural flavours Despite the reference to red in the name – Citadelle Rouge, with ‘rouge’ translating from French into English as ‘red’ – the gin is a clear colour. “When you distil fruit it’s not red, it’s clear,” Gabriel added. “We still stay classic with the dominant juniper berries, and it shows you can make these beautiful expressions. “If we continue to let these artificially made gins happen, 10 years from now more serious people will say is sweet, sticky stuff that is bright red. I don’t want it to be that. “That’s why I thought it was really important to create something like Rouge, to say let’s make natural spirits and show you can do beautiful, 100% dry gin, and make it delicious. So that’s what we did.” Citadelle Rouge sits at 41.7% ABV and is priced at around RRP £37.95 (US$49) per 700ml bottle. The new release is also available in France, and will be extended to additional markets in due course. Citadelle Gin is available in 120 markets worldwide. “Spain has trailblazed the gin renaissance,” Gabriel added. “Then after, Belgium, the UK, and France followed. “The UK remains a very important market for us, and I hope people get what we’re saying. We need to pay attention and say no to artificial products; gin has got so much heritage and beauty.” In November 2021, Maison Ferrand opened a distillery for Citadelle Gin in the South of France.

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