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Imagen Interview with Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, the man behind G’Vine and Gin 1495

Interview with Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, the man behind G’Vine and Gin 1495

Coctelería Creativa

Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, œnologist, master distiller and founder EWG Spirits & Wine (the world’s leading specialists in the creation, production and distribution of word class, grape based spirits,) talked with us in the presentation of its latest project: Gin 1495, a grape based spirit gin found in a recipe from 1495 and replicated today in 2014 (more info here).

TO CREATE

  1. You’ve got a large experience within the spirits sector (LVMH Wines & Spirits, Moët Hennessy, and more), why did you decide to create your own company?

I’m a wine maker and when it was time for me to go back to some of the assets of the family, I wanted to do something totally different. It’s the blue ocean. Try to find a territory when nobody is. Vodka from grapes was my first big project, with Diageo (Ciroc). Then G’Vine...Grape is a noble fruit. Wine is elegant as well. It was not done because is very expensive; three or four times more expensive than wheat. So, if we have to do something in the luxury world, we have to use the right ingredients and we have to carry the right values.

Spirits experts Gaz Regan, Dave Broom and Philip Duff together with Robicquet have recreated one of the earliest gin recipes on record. They replicated the original 1495 version and created a modern interpretation. A limited number of bottles of Gin 1495 (100) were produced, with two versions, “Verbatim”, the original 1495 recipe and the modern interpretation, “Interpretatio”. The packs will be for auctions in gin museums and have no commercial objectives. More info here

  1. The recipe of Gin 1495, your latest product, dates back to that year...can you explain to us why “is an important record in the evolution of gin from a medicinal product to a recreational spirit”?

By taking this recipe apart and refreshing it for our modern era, we will learn so much more about the long and circuitous journey the spirit has taken through the centuries. GIN 1495 is the fundamental expression of our business. It represents a search for knowledge, an insistence on quality, and a reliance on the skills that we draw from our heritage. We see the birth of gin, with a wine based spirit, in 1495 and its rebirth today in 2014. We love the idea of renaissance, of creating the future by understanding the past, of discovery, improvement and the creation of something excellent; this lies at the heart of all of our products.

  1. Why creating a gin without commercial purposes?  

It’s a common project. When you get together all these people, it’s an exercise more than a marketing plan. Sharing this kind of passion for gin and for me for grapes... I brought them in my grape world. And then you don't sell it. It is also to illustrate the creativity we can do in Villevert, the inspiration. The fact we can do things just for the beauty of it. Originally is to highlight our creativity in what we do and reinforce our flag in wine territory.

  1. How and when did Gin 1495 project started?

Philip Duff was working with us and I told him to organized the ideal contest for bartenders where we could share all our values, family spirit, our work, the learning... that was the inception of the GCP (G'Vine Gin Connoisseur Program). The first GCP was around the history of gin. Because I firmly believe that grape has been part of the spirit culture, but also civilization, specially Europe... And found the first history of gin and in this history of gin was the 1495 reference manuscript. Because everything we do is around grape, this is not only about G'Vine... we had to make this one, to recreate it. That was when we started. It took us long time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. We did several attempts on recipes and the translation was difficult. In the end we decided to regroup a bunch of experts. The more we are the smarter we can be. That was between 2013 and 2014.

TO INNOVATE

  1. What have you learned from G’Vine to Gin 1495?

I have flatter my ego because G'Vine was an idea and the fact I have the option to justify “yes we are making things from wine and it was made in that way in the past”... This is 500 years of history. And the beauty of this 500 years of history...it’s just egomaniac. It’s just a gift for the industry. All the starting point are the same. And 1495 is one of them.

  1. In terms of flavor, tell us about Gin 1495.

Is about having an experience. Hopefully people will enjoy it. I like to have it (both versions of Gin 1495) frozen. Or over ice. It’s a kind of liqueur thing you have to drink it in small proportions. You get use to it, the first sip is strong but then you get use to it. Its is almost addicted. Verbatim is the exact replica, the Interpretatio is more palatable. What would be the interpretation today? The difference is the proportion, the citrus, the angelica which is going to bring further smoothness.

TO SHARE

  1. What is your favorite cocktail at the end of the day? Or you prefer a glass of wine?

The only thing I don't like with wine is the fact you need to understand it. It’s a kind of an ongoing things that you need to learn. With spirits is very simple. So probably at the end of the day I will start with a Negroni or a Gin Tonic, a Martini, Vesper, that kind of things.

  1. Most of our readers are from Spain and Latin America, which countries on this area are next market? Are you interested at all?

Yes we are. We are interested specially in Colombia. But the bases where we are working is Europe: London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Roma...that is where we want to be.

  1. What is going to happen with the Gin & Tonic revolution?

My view on that in general is that in order to create a brand, you need to have three pillars: 1st one, and think of it in fashion, leather, maroquinerie, perfume, is the same story. The man behind it and its passion. The second pillar: a liquid, the quality of the product itself. And the 3er pillar, is the interaction with the consumer. These are the three elements that you definitely need in order to have a brand sustainable. If you imagine that by creating more and more gin, coming most of the from the same distillery in London, you can tick the three pillars, that means I’m wrong. So I think that after the war, once the war is over -the gin war, the vodka war, etc.- you will have those products with the proper interaction, the proper credentials, the proper passion or man or team behind it. There will be there. After the war in gin, you will have a gin from grapes behind the bars, that will be G'Vine. Who else? You will have a modern gin maybe, Hendricks, why not; maybe a great traditional, could be Tanqueray. It will be reduced to two or three. If there is real passion, if there is a real story, there will be there. But at least in Spain, there will be G'Vine. I’m talking about the super premium category.

  1. Are you interested in creating new categories?

It’s very tempting but expensive. Creating new categories is...you need a lot of money. G'Vine is a gin but is something else. Can we create a category? Yes, I made vermouth of Charente, because we are only one. You can push the envelop so the blue ocean is trying to go where are no sharks. I am not on the stock market so I don’t have to answer to anybody. It is just what I like, what I want. As long it makes sense.



About EWG Spirits & Wine
Founded in 2001 on the outskirts of Cognac in the heart of the Charente region by Jean Sébastien Robicquet, EWG Spirits & Wine has an ambition to develop innovative spirits focused around vines, wine and long-standing traditions.
The EWG Spirits & Wine portfolio embodies the richness of the region, the traditions of terroir, and the creativity of the premium spirits industry.

  • G’Vine: a French Gin made from grapes, a benchmark in the ultra-premium category. Two varieties:Nouaison and Floraison.
  • June: a French Liqueur made from rare vine flowers, which is both elegant and delicate.
  • Excellia Tequila: a Tequila Grand Cru, 100% pure agave aged in barrels used for grand cru Sauternes wines and Cognac. Three varieties: Blanco (white)Añejo (aged) and Reposado (rested).
  • La Quintinye Vermouth Royal: a French Vermouth made using Pineau des Charentes and up to 28 botanicals. Three varieties: BlancExtra-Dry and Rouge.
Picture by EWGPicture by EWGPicture by EWGPicture by EWG

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