Established in 2017 in the world’s perfume capital, Comte de Grasse is taking a unique approach to its gin distilling to create a genuinely memorable tipple. Located in an early 19th-century building once belonging to Roure- Bertrand & Fils, Comte de Grasse’s founder, Bhagath Reddy, took over the old perfumery with the aim of creating a distillery that continues with the same aromatic spirit as its predecessors.
“As the capital of perfume, Grasse was an attractive home for Comte de Grasse, as the expertise, techniques and technology used in the creation of fragrances can be applied to the creation of spirits, which has not been done before in the region. The cultivation of precious botanicals and plants, the knowledge and processing of natural raw materials, and the art of perfume composition are inspiring, and we see this in the recent listing of Grasse as a UNESCO heritage site in 2018. We have been able to use precious ingredients provided by the terroir as well as maceration techniques found in the perfume industry to create a new style of gin, 44°N, which is undeniably from Grasse,” says Reddy.
Using production methods traditionally associated with perfume making, the gin undergoes a process using ultrasonic maceration, vacuum distillation, and CO2 supercritical extraction to obtain aromas from botanicals as they do with precious scents. This unique method pays homage to the region that has long been associated with the perfume industry, but it is also an incredibly sustainable and efficient technique. To achieve the desired effect, these methods use far less energy and natural resources than traditional gin production. Given that Reddy wanted to create sustainable luxury spirits while redefining the future of spirit distillation, it seems that he has achieved exactly that.
Named after the geographical coordinates for Grasse, the distillery launched its inaugural 44°N gin in 2018. Bursting with flavours and notes inspired by the Mediterranean, even the brilliant Blue Klein glass bottle with a yellow cap transports you straight to the French Riviera.
With its own microclimate, Grasse is a place where sunshine, warmth and the sea air allow captivating local plants to grow freely and abundantly. The list of local botanicals is extensive; lavender, cade (a species of juniper), samphire, mimosa, verbena, everlasting (a golden flower), horse parsley, grapefruit, patchouli and pepper are among a few of those incorporated into this aromatic spirit.
The result is a gin with zesty grapefruit on the nose, mixed with the salinity of samphire, warming honey and Alexanders, and the earthy notes of the cade. Bittersweet floral notes from rose, jasmine and lavender follow on the tongue before finishing with a fragrant peppery and citrus-tinged kick.
Given the location, inspiration, processes and bottle style, this gin is more like a stylish French perfume with its lingering earthy taste and fresh scent.
We recommend trying this delight in a classic G&T or Negroni to ensure every part of the Côte d’Azur is savoured on the taste buds. For cocktail lovers, we suggest a Gimlet or a French 44, Comte de Grasse’s play on the classic French 75 which combines Gin 44°N, sugar syrup, lemon and juice, topped with Champagne.
Find out more about Comte de Grasse at www.44gin.com