Citadelle Gin - The World’s Only Charentais Copper Pot Distilled Gin

Citadelle Gin

Citadelle Gin was born in the late 18th century, when Louis XVI authorised two distillers to make gin in the Citadelle of Dunkirk, it then became the French royal distillery for many years.

The two distillers had 12 traditional copper pot stills made for the distillery, which were the first of their type in France. Producing around 1000 litres a day, the Citadelle distillery was positioned perfectly for access to botanicals such as juniper berries and exotic spices brought by vessels arriving from the Orient. At the time nearly all the production was destined for England and was imported across the channel by English smugglers.

By the 19th century gin had become pretty bland, losing much of its complexity and refinement as it was produced in industrial quantities. At this time Alexandre Gabriel of the Pierre Ferrand Cognac distillery, decided to make a handcrafted gin from copper pot stills according to the techniques used in Dunkirk centuries earlier.


In the heart of the famed Grande Champagne Cognac region, Charentais pot stills make some of the World’s finest Cognac at Pierre Ferrand.  However, with the strict AOC laws of the Cognac region only allowing distillation of Cognac between November and March, the pot stills were left inactive for much of the year. So with Alexandre Gabriel's quest to move the gin production methods of the 17th century to Pierre Ferrand, the Citadelle gin distillation would take place between March and November.

Citadelle gin is now the World’s only Charentais copper pot distilled gin made by heating the stills with naked flames. This unique production method imparts great texture, aroma and flavour not found with other distillation means. This process enables the distiller to select the heart of the gin, eliminating the unwanted heads and tails.  While the Charentais pot still’s relatively low swan’s neck shape enables the concentration of essential oils, which contribute to the gin’s refinement and aromatic complexity.

The Botanicals

The gin starts life by distilling wheat from France, before adding a unique blend of 19 botanicals to add aromatic complexity. The long list of exotic ingredients includes: Juniper and violet root from France, coriander from Morocco, Dutch cumin, Indian nutmeg and Mediterranean fennel.

Tasting Notes

Citadelle, 44% ABV

Citadelle is characterised by a delicate and fragrant nose of jasmine, honeysuckle and cinnamon, plus strong herbaceous aromas of anise and cinnamon. On the palate, juniper is dominant, with an elegant and soft finish. Perfect G&T material!

Citadelle Reserve, 44% ABV

Matured for several months in old Pierre Ferrand Cognac barrels, the Reserve has the freshness of Citadelle, but with the body and depth of old, cask-aged spirits. With its pale gold colour, this is unlike most gins out there. Citadelle Reserve is also produced in very low quantities; in 2010 only 11,250 bottles were produced. Perfect over ice, or added to a Martini.

Citadelle Cocktail Recipes

Here are two interesting ways to drink Citadelle, one from the team at Citadelle and the other from Bibendum’s Will Lowe.

Exotic Gin & Tonic

Created by Citadelle’s Spanish team.

35ml Citadelle gin
140ml Tonic
Liquorice root

In a wide glass, place two slices of orange. Pour gin then tonic.  Add the liquorice. Garnish with orange peel.

Aramis Martini

Check out the video of Bibendum’s Will Lowe creating a Martini with a difference.

Rob Pickard
14th November 2013

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