Ever find yourself wondering the shelves of your local off license, wondering what vodka to get?
Maybe save a few pennies and go for a paint-stripper derivative, a medium range (re-distilled variety) or the creme de la creme (so pure it is practically medicinal sort). Being the most popular of the white spirits bought worldwide, I am sure I am not alone in my confusion at all the varieties on offer, but my oh my have I been missing a trick.
Tucked away in the south of France is Le Logis, the home of Grey Goose. A grand 17th century chateau surrounded by rolling fields, a house dedicated solely to the premium vodka. Extravagant? Certainly not!
Le Logis functions to entertain, and boy do they do it well. Whether you fancy topping up your tan by the pool, taking a stroll through the sleepy village or picking fresh fruit from the Mulberry tree, the house of Grey Goose offers it all.
A handful of dedicated vodka drinkers were fortunate enough to enjoy a few days at this French paradise. The stunning white stone building, so bright it hurt your eyes, was our home for two nights.
On our arrival we were assured that this chateau, worthy of a king, was just as much ours as it was theirs and we were to treat it as our home.
Bikini: Beach Riot
Whilst our every need was catered for, (and we spent three days with our livers swimming in vodka), I took away something a little more sentimental. The genuine admiration that all of the grey goose team had for their liquid elixir was inspirational. There was an abundance of passion and pride, and not for one moment did it ever feel forced.
Francois Thibault, the ‘maitre de chai’ (literally meaning ‘cellar master’) spent a morning teaching us the history of Grey Goose.
The beginning of Grey Goose’s creation came about by Sydney Frank, a famous American liquor distributor, who set him the monumental task of making a french grain-based vodka. Vodka had previously been associated with Russia and Eastern Europe so this was relatively untrodden territory for the men… especially ones working and creating the drink of the impressionists in the prestigious cognac region.
French from the grain to bottle, we learnt that the wheat is harvested from a region in the North of France. From here it is transported back to Cognac and filtered with water from 500m below ground. Here lies the crux of Grey Goose; the soil is filled with limestone which creates their unique and delicious flavour. Not the only the vodka but the bottle, labels and boxes in which the mighty drink sits is French produced as well.
The extent of superiority of this brand stretches further than you might imagine however. Francois shared that in order to create the fruit varieties (cherry, orange, lemon and melon flavoured vodka), the fruits are taken to a parfumerie in Grasse where their flavours are extracted. From here the essential oils are returned to Cognac where they are then combined with Grey Goose vodka. No sugar syrups are involved, and again, the quality of the ingredients was paramount to the product.
Throughout the entire morning I was captivated by Francois and the his fellow employees. They spoke of his achievements like proud children and interjected every now and again to emphasis just how talented Francois was. They knew every single detail about Grey Goose and their excitement and willingness to share such information was infectious. I left thinking that this evident love and passion for the work they do is inspiring, not least for the incredible quality of vodka produced at the end.