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About Citadelle Gin
Citadelle Gin is produced by Maison Ferrand, a Cognac, France based spirits company that produces a variety of spirits including gin, cognac, and rum. With wild Juniper growing near the property of the production facilities, Château de Bonbonnet, this sparked the idea for Citadelle Gin, which launched in 1996.
The brand now grows and harvests their juniper berries on site, which are eventually included in the gin with 19 other botanicals. These botanicals are added one at a time in a patented technique called “progressive infusion”. It is then distilled in naked flame copper pot stills.
This particular bottle of Original gin is not aged before bottling.
❖ ABV: 44%
❖ Distillery: Château de Bonbonnet
❖ Aging: none
❖ Price Point: moderate price
❖ juniper berry
My Tasting notes
The aroma of this Gin was immediately fresh and clean. It smelled very citrus-y, with vague spices in the background. The spice notes were quite earthy on the nose. After reflecting later, I realized the mystery scent I was detecting was probably anise, combined with the other spices like nutmeg and pepper.
I took my first sip, and it was bitter at first. The flavors tingled backwards from the front of my tongue to the back, before melting into notes of sweet orange. Though the herbs remained bitter at the beginning of each sip, the flavors overall were not too harsh. The sweet, pleasant orange notes lingered between each sip, and slight cinnamon spice notes began to come out after a while.
For my drink, I wanted to seek out a french cocktail recipe – ideally something that wasn’t the ubiquitous French 75! I stumbled upon a drink called “Le Forum”, which is apparently the signature drink of the famous Bar le Forvm cocktail bar in Paris, France. Since there is no official recipe available to the public, folks seem to be making up their own ratios for this cocktail, and no one on the internet seems to agree completely.
This is what I imagine the ratios would be, assuming Le Forum is a variation on a classic martini. Sorry, it’s not an exact science. Hope you enjoy!
❖ 2oz dry gin
❖ 0.5oz dry vermouth
❖ splash of Grand Marnier liqueur
❖ garnish: orange peel
- Add the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
- stir to combine with a bar spoon
- strain the mixture into a small cocktail glass
- garnish with an orange peel if desired
Inside a cocktail, I found Citadelle Gin to be enjoyable, though I found myself wishing I chose a cocktail that wasn’t so vermouth-heavy to really judge the Gin. The vermouth was all I could taste! Alcohol-wise, Citadelle seems very smooth. I was able to taste underlying citrus notes throughout, and after a while, there were warm spice notes as well.
A few days after my official tasting, I was also able to try Citadelle in a simple Gin & Tonic, and it was very smooth and tasty.
Overall, Citadelle Gin is a nice choice for a solid mixing Gin. The flavor is fresh, mellow, and unobtrusive, and it blends in nicely to most cocktails. However, as a consumer, I do feel there are plenty of spirits companies that I would rather support when faced with the option to purchase another bottle of Citadelle.
This bottle was suggested to me by one of our readers, who mentioned that he had first tasted it years ago, and had since heard that it was sold to a larger company. Though my research didn’t reveal any buy-outs, that impression of the brand makes sense to me. Citadelle Gin launched at a time when the spirits giant Maison Ferrand was a relatively new company. Public perception must have shifted over the years. For me, I was a bit disappointed to discover that Citadelle is owned by Maison Ferrand, after reviewing the arguably problematic Plantation Rum back in 2021.
The same reader, who emailed in, made a point to mention that he thought the flavor of the Gin used to be better than it is now. I’ll take his word for it! Although the flavor was good, I thought it lacked a certain special-ness that I would expect from a 5 star bottle.
As always, drink responsibly.
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