Citadelle Gin

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Citadelle Gin is half revival, half new innovation: the revival is based on one the first gin produced in France at the “Citadelle.” The innovation is in the where and the how.

Maison Ferrand Distillery and the SW corner of France is best known for its Cognac. But perhaps the boldest part was the revelation that during the offseason when they legally couldn’t distill Cognac, they could distill gin. The government finally relented in ’95, and so began the magic of open flames and pot stills: Citadelle Gin was thusly born.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, hints of violet, sweet orange, coriander and floral brightness. Leans slightly citrus, but there’s another side here as well, with hints of a spicy/floral deeper notes: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. Nice and contemporary in character.

The taste begins quietly until the aromatics re-enter the nose. The middle begins with fresh bright juniper, turning more crisp and bold. The finish is what sets Citadelle Gin apart from its peers: really bright, a touch sweet and strongly aromatic: cardamom, angelica, nutmeg, a wide array of baking spices which melds into a more sharp licorice and fennel on the finish. Generally spice forward and slightly contemporary with a juniper base.

Nice, but for those of you keeping a historical perspective, this would have been way out there back in 1995. Nowadays we take for granted that a gin can go this direction. But this would have been really unlike nearly anything on an English or American gin shelf at the time. Citadelle Gin and Bombay Sapphire are probably on the short list of those that helped bring gin out of its late 80’s dark ages.


We begin with the Moonlight Cocktail. NIce overall, with lemon and spice cake in the low notes. Floral up front, citrus in the middle, and spice on the finish. This gin quite elevates the cocktail in my opinion. Recommended

Oh Gin and Tonic! It changes the overall perspective of the gin. Instead, we have a bright citrusy body, with a crisp lemon and orange freshness. The spice on the finish has a touch of nutmeg and wet cinnamon.

With Kina Tonicwe felt that Citadelle Gin was a touch overpowered here. It didn’t pick up as many of the notes from the gin. The tonic syrup and the gin were both bringing the same flavors and aromas to the picture. So it wasn’t bad, but it begs the question of why Citadelle here? It could have been any other gin.

In terms of with tonic, we liked the way it added a touch of the spiced notes to a tonic water, but found it didn’t stand out when paired with a syrup as I think both are introducing the same novel characters to a cocktail.

We then pulled out the Gin Fizz, and found it clean and citrusy, but again, I didn’t pick out the gin as brightly here. Good, nice touch of juniper to round out the drink, but again, I didn’t find it as a stand out. Surprising how the sweetness/bitter of the tonic can bring out different notes that just carbonation and lime couldn’t.

We went all the way over to the citrus side and picked out a GimletCitrusy up front, with the finish warm and creamy. Vanilla, butter, sweet cream, cinnamon, and even this out-of-place but quite good coconut note at the very end. Overall, quite nice, robust and flavorful. I think this drink really probes beneath the surface citrus and juniper notes and highlights the spicy profile that makes Citadelle unique.

Overall, Citadelle Gin

I like a lot of what I tasted in Citadelle Gin. It works really nice on its own, in martinis, or adding complimentary notes to floral cocktails. It does get lost in some drinks though. That being said, fans of the classic style who don’t mind some spice in their finish will likely find a lot of like here. Fans of the contemporary style who like more juniper on their palate will find things to like here as well. It’s a good middle-ground gin that takes cues from both styles, and ultimately, still produces a good gin that is both memorable and well priced.



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9 thoughts on “Citadelle Gin”

  1. Simply, the BEST Gin I have ever sipped. and it comes in the most attractive bottle ever produced.
    Commander Rand Wintermute, Cercle National Des Armees, France

  2. Picked up a bottle on spec as I had a discount coupon. A 16:1 martini with Miro Extra Seco Vermut was outstanding. I think I have a new favorite. An Aviation not so much. The Citadelle just gets lost, I’ll stick to my standby Bombay London Dry for that. And yes, the bottle is very cool…

  3. Hmm, I didn’t get this at all. Just bought my first bottle. It was terrible neat, made a mediocre Martini and an even more mediocre Gin & Tonic.

  4. I’ve tried a few gins. Beefeater, tanqueray, Bombay, and a local distillery called dillons(very good). But this citadelle is in a league of its own. Brought up my gin and tonic game a lot. Good and flavourful in a martini with dolin as well

  5. It has a wonderful taste. I use it for martinis. Best I’ve had so far and have tried many gins. This ginmakes me feel happy

  6. My first time discovering this website, in response to a search for Citadelle Gin Reviews, thanks for hosting such a terrific resource. Just returned from a long trip to France, I’m flat out of gin, and this happened to be on sale at our local liquor store. Otherwise it wouldn’t have occurred to me to even attempt a gin made in France. Very happy that I did. For starters, if you haven’t purchased the 1.75 liter bottle, humor me and buy one. What I learned after a week in the Champagne region is that no country on Earth takes their alcohol labeling more seriously than the French. The 1.75 liter bottle Citadelle spells out in detail what many gin makers force you to guess (every ingredient, the distilling process, etc.) to me that honesty itself warrants buying their product. In terms of gin flavor and quality, no reviewer has mentioned “value” but for what I paid I don’t think you can find a better gin on Planet Earth, and that’s based on about 30 years’ worth of exploration. Assuming it stays within the price range that I paid, this will become my go to gin. Final thought: the 1.75 liter bottle, far more than the 1 liter bottle, is indeed exceedingly beautiful, you might want to put it out on display. Enjoy!