Comte de Grasse
A tale from the French Riviera
Comte de Grasse was born from a desire to create sustainable luxury spirits while redefining the future of spirit distillation. Its founder, Bhagath Reddy, a luxury industry enthusiast, first set foot in the heights of the French Riviera, in Grasse, with the aim of discovering the perfume capital of the world. What he found was the wealth of unique botanicals and local expertise, and he quickly spotted the different elements that would enable the creation of an exceptional gin. In 2018, 44°N gin became available to all. Developed in the Old Roure-Bertrand & Fils perfumery, this gin uses traditional perfumery extraction techniques, combining science and art, a true innovation in the industry.
What was the spark that kickstarted your journey with Comte de Grasse?
I originally wanted to create whisky for my father! I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do things differently, so through my research, I landed on the expertise of Grasse within fragrances. When I realised the similarities between distilling and extraction in both industries, I wondered how using these methods to create spirits hadn't already been done before!
What’s special about the city of Grasse?
There are two unique elements about Grasse. Firstly, the science and expertise surrounding the fragrance industry, which is a lot more precise and modern compared to how spirits are made today. Secondly, the climate. Precious botanicals can grow freely here as there is enough rain and abundant sunshine all year round. The mountainous landscape, close to the sea, plays an important role in the atmosphere of the region. This unique combination where tradition and modernity coexist is why Grasse is the worldwide capital of perfumery, recognised as a UNESCO heritage site since 2018. All the big perfume houses have a foot in Grasse and you can find the best noses in the world here.
“The aim is to challenge and revolutionise the way spirits are being made.”
All of these elements explain why 44°N gin is made from predominantly local ingredients, such as cade, rose centifolia, immortelle, bitter orange and mimosa. Marie-Anne Contamin, Scientific and Innovation Manager, introduced for the first time ultrasonic maceration, vacuum distillation and supercritical CO2 extraction in the distillation of the gin. This gives the liquid a unique complexity and delicacy. Plus, these methods use far less energy and natural resources than traditional gin production.
How would you describe 44°N? What was the idea behind it? What’s unique about it?
The idea behind 44°N was to embody the Côte d'Azur. The aim is to challenge and revolutionise the way spirits are being made. Our cutting-edge distillation and extraction techniques enable us to extract higher quality and precise flavour molecules, which play with your palate for a complete olfactory experience. This is part of 44°N's uniqueness but also the precious botanicals we use within its recipe: one of our key ingredients is Rose Centifolia, a very particular type of rose that only flourishes 3 weeks a year, in and around the region.
With their gin as the base, Comte de Grasse recreated some of the world’s most popular gin cocktails. Perfect for the times we live in, you can now experience and share the ‘joie de vivre’ of the French Riviera at home, with friends or simply, indulge by yourself. You can choose from five options: the Negroni ‘Divine Orange’ as a special take on the blissful-bitter Italian aperitif, the Martini ‘Explosion Floral’ using peach wine instead of Vermouth and adding Verjus to create an elegant French twist on a classic, the Martini ‘Fraise Suave’ and its perfect pairing between 44°N Gin and Alpine strawberry Vermouth, the Gimlet ‘Agrume Dorée’ encapsulating fragrant lemon distillate with clove, ginger and almond notes of Velvet Falernum, and finally the Parisian ‘Baies Sauvages’ putting Vermouth front and center with a touch of Crème de Cassis.
What was the creation process for the five very specific ‘ready to drink’ cocktails?
With 44°N as a base for each cocktail, we needed to make sure the quality was as premium as the liquid. Therefore, Marie-Anne Contamin, our Master Distiller, partnered with a local and renowned French mixologist to perfect a range of classic cocktails with a twist. Each cocktail has a reference to Comte de Grasse and combines the botanical heritage of Grasse with precision blending. I enjoy all the cocktails, but the floral martini might be my favourite.
What’s next for Comte de Grasse?
We have a lot of exciting plans! We just started the renovation works to the building in order for it to become a visitor center in time, and also create more space for distilling more spirits. We are launching a new spirit as soon as this summer, look out for the first 100% French Vodka Rosé.