Introducing Citadelle Gin Juniper Décadence

In 1996, Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel unveiled Citadelle Gin, the first handcrafted French gin. Since then, Gabriel has shaken up the world of juniper spirits with the launches of experimental and category-breaking gins like wood-aged Citadelle Réserve, fruit-infused Citadelle Jardin d’été, and exclusive limited editions. With these introductions, Gabriel has consistently demonstrated his boundless creativity.

citadelle gin

Today he continues to write the story of a gin that has revolutionized an entire category. To mark the occasion of Citadelle’s 25th anniversary, Alexandre and his team have built a new gin distillery in Cognac. With this new, state-of-the-art creative “tool,” Alexandre says his imagination is free to create even more avant-garde limited editions and launches a highly innovative limited edition: Citadelle Gin Juniper Décadence, an expression that perfectly embodies the spirit of the gin de château.

Juniper Décadence pays tribute to its terroir and to the juniper tree so dear to the brand; a large portion of the juniper berries used in its composition were grown in Cognac, a short distance from the distillery. Juniper Décadence is also an ode to the art of ageing, which Alexandre practices with the zeal of a virtuoso. This time, his gin is aged in small juniper barrels.

Since the juniper is a modestly sized tree, its wood is not suitable for making long, curved staves, as it is too hard to bend. But it takes more than that to stymie Alexandre’s creative impulses, so special small casks were built with straight sides. These very special barrels have been toasted to accentuate the vegetal, minty and slightly smoky aspect of juniper wood. Maturation in these barrels enhances Citadelle’s original recipe, with its progressive infusion of 19 botanicals, and heightens its notes of sweet orange peel, which meld wonderfully with juniper’s vegetal and smoky aroma. Naturally bursting with juniper, Citadelle Juniper Décadence stands out thanks to its herbaceous notes and striking freshness.

Citadelle Gin Juniper Décadence is now available in select markets across the U.S. and is bottled at 44.4% alcohol by volume (88.8 proof) for a suggested retail price of $34.99 (700ml).


The new Citadelle Gin Distillery is housed in a stone building at Château de Bonbonnet that dates from the 18th century. This enormous space had already housed a distillery in the 19th century before being transformed into a stable and then an ageing cellar. The plans were conceived and designed by Alexandre Gabriel himself and the work performed by the château’s in-house teams, an unheard-of feat. Manu, Ludovic, Christophe, Stéphane, Olivier, Thierry and Grégory put in more than 30,000 hours of work, all according to state-of-the-art practices that honor the architectural heritage of Charente.

No fewer than nine stills (eight 25 hl stills and one 50 hl still) have a new home in this superb facility. They were built in the region more than 50 years ago, hammered and riveted in the old-fashioned way by local craftsmen. These master boilermakers used to sign their stills, which makes it possible to trace their unique history today. Previously used for distillation of cognac, they are now exclusively dedicated to the production of Citadelle Gin.

To accommodate the entire distillation system in the best possible conditions, it was necessary to construct huge cut-stone arches while preserving the original style of the building. Some are more than eight meters high; the effect is that of a true “cathedral” of gin, a structure conceived and constructed with the utmost attention to detail, including a basement that conceals a network of almost 2 km of pipes whose joints are individually polished by hand.

TASTING NOTES: Citadelle Juniper Décadence

Nose: Fresh and intense, it opens on juniper berry and orange zest with herbaceous, mentholated, woody (cedar, fir needle), almost smoky and balsamic notes. It then evolves to blackcurrant buds as well as flowers (violet, iris root), then to sweet spices (cardamom, cubeb pepper and grains of paradise).

Palate: Silky and oily with a bittersweet, smoky profile of juniper, pepper, coconut, ginger and nutmeg. Camphor, angelica, cinnamon, anise, licorice, cypress and celery become more and more present.

Finish: Very long, fresh and spicy, herbaceous and woody at the same time with mint, bitter almond, thuja, orange zest, eucalyptus, rosemary, coconut milk and mastic.


On a beautiful autumn afternoon in Cognac during the early 1990s, as workers gathered to enjoy lunch at the foot of a still, Alexandre Gabriel imagined firing up his beautiful copper stills all year round. This was a crazy notion at the time, since the legal distillation season for cognac starts in September, after the harvest, and comes to a full stop at the end of March. But there’s more: the young Master Blender for Ferrand Cognac envisioned himself distilling gin, of all things.

Alexandre’s “anything is possible” mindset inspired him to create Citadelle, the pioneer of handcrafted French gin, a driving force in the overall revival of the juniper spirit.

This gin de château, born in the village of Ars, embodies not only the passion and creativity of Alexandre Gabriel, but also the spirit of Charente. Back in the 90s, creating the first handcrafted French gin was no easy feat. Alexandre notes that it took five years of negotiations to obtain the authorization to distill gin from April to September in small Charentais copper stills, heated over an open flame. Mission accomplished – Citadelle is indeed distilled in these stills traditionally dedicated to the production of cognac.

Citadelle is the first gin in the world to earn a patent for its progressive infusion technique. This unique method adapts the maceration time and alcohol level for each of the 19 aromatics in the recipe. The intricate process preserves the organoleptic qualities and captures the ultimate aroma of each berry, spice, and citrus fruit.


Respecting the environment and favoring local products is a priority for Citadelle. Opposite the new Citadelle Distillery, 2,500 juniper trees have been planted on nine hectares. Cultivated using 100% natural methods, the trees are in the process of being certified organic.

Lemons also play a vital role in the Citadelle recipe. With the goal of self-sufficiency, Alexandre Gabriel is designing a greenhouse next-door to the distillery where lemon trees will grow in the local soil. This spacious greenhouse, with its huge windows, will be heated via a system that repurposes the heat generated by the stills during operation.