In 1775, Louis XVI authorized two visionary Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a distillery making genièvre at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which became the royal distillery with an exclusive 20-year privilege. The two founders had 12 traditional copper pot stills made for the distillery, officially the first of its type in France. In 1989, gin had unfortunately become an industrial spirit and in some cases had lost its erstwhile complexity and refinement. It was at this time that Alexandre Gabriel decided to make a handcrafted gin, distilled in small copper pot stills according to the same techniques used two centuries earlier. After several years of doing research through old records and files in Flanders and then developing a modern plan to distil gin at the Maison Ferrand distillery, Alexandre Gabriel and his master distiller were successful in creating a gin bottled under the Citadelle name in the style that the original was produced after more than a century’s absence.
Citadelle gin is now produced in the South-West of France, the birthplace of another fine spirit. As it was produced in the 17th century, Citadelle gin is distilled in small copper pot stills with a naked flame. Using century’s old know-how passed down through five generations of master distillers, Alexandre Gabriel and the Pierre Ferrand cellar master have brought back to market a complex, refined and elegant gin.