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An old name

Citadelle gin is one of the latest additions to our gin collection. Pierre Ferrand, who also make Cognac, have been distilling Citadelle gin since 1995. The brand dates back to the 18th Century when Louis XVI authorised the opening of a genièvre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk and give its owners a 20-year monopoly. Production may have ceased long since in Dunkirk, but Pierre Ferrand have kept true to the original production methods.

Drawing of the Citadelle at Dunkirk, France

The Citadelle at Dunkirk as shown in a contemporary illustration.

 

An old method for a very modern gin

Ferrand use a unique process to distil Citadelle, using small pot stills and naked flames. This process is slower than modern, industrial distillation methods allowing the gin to develop more flavour. It is a brave move though, raw spirits and naked flames are a dangerous combination, and for that reason steam jackets that allow precise control and an element of safety are the norm elsewhere. The team at Pierre Ferrand insist their method has an impact on the finished product.

Production only takes place between March and November, and the botanicals are brought in fresh for each ‘season’. The botanicals are therefore at their peak freshness before use. Along with the other 18 botanicals juniper is cold-infused individually. Head distiller Alexandre Gabriel describes this as being like “cold-pressing olives for oil”.

Citadelle gin bottles

Citadelle is strikingly packaged in blue bottles

The resulting gin is balanced, aromatic and fresh with deep botanical flavours and a light floral nose. As you’d expect juniper is dominant but there are pleasant hints of orange and cinnamon as well.

 

How we serve Citadelle

On our gin collection menu we serve Citadelle with lemon, lime and pink peppercorns. The latter really bring out some of the delicate spicy notes from the gin’s botanicals. We also serve it with Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic, so it is a perfect choice if you’re watching your calorie intake.