These past few months I’ve been working closely with a French range of liqueurs and helping to develop the general awareness within both the bar community as well as customer focus. It’s fitting then that it’s about time I check the range and feature them within my site, exploring the reasoning why Gabriel Boudier are launching a huge awareness campaign here in the UK for 2015 and beyond, backing up its winning titles from the International Spirits Challenge Liqueur Trophy as best producer in the world for 2013 and 2014, and in 2014 The Supreme Champion Trophy.
Gabriel Boudier is a family owned company, founded in the house of Fontbonne in Dijon, France back in 1874. Back then, there were over 50 companies in Burgundy creating and producing fruit liqueurs, but in modern times that number has dwindled down to just six, with Gabriel Boudier the only independently owned. In 1909, Gabriel Boudier took over the house of Fontbonne and renamed it with his own name, whilst keeping the making of Crème de Cassis de Dijon and liqueurs. He established the business at Boulevard de Strasbourg in Dijon where it continued to develop until his death in 1918. In 1936, his widow sold the house to Marcel Battault, who made the decision to keep the Gabriel Boudier trading name. After eventually handing the company to his nephew Pierre Battault, the company moved to Rue de Cluj in Dijon in 1969 to allow for expansion and development.
So what do the Battault family pride themselves upon to create Gabriel Boudier?
The picking baskets are designed by Gabriel Boudier to ensure that the fruit is not crushed when harvested, and avoiding early oxidisation. The fruit is then preserved the day of the harvest by utilising a freeze drying technique, and then batch producing throughout the year to ensure every production is a fresh as it can be. Once the batch of the required fruit is sent to the distillery, it is gently crushed and macerated within a water-alcohol solution for a certain amount of time depending on the fruit. The use of a water-alcohol mixture acts as a solvent and preservative primarily for the aromas within the fruit’s pectin, the natural sugars or fructose. The finished juice is sweetened with sugar to be classed as a liqueur.
If the intended liqueur is more of a citrus base, distillation methods are used. For example, the Poires Williams is a blend of the two methods, the first being maceration to give the colour of the pear, the ‘oil’ texture, natural sugars and its ‘heady’ aromas, whilst the subtle aromas of pear are created by the form of distillation. Once finished, they are brought together and sweetened with sugar.
The company prides itself upon using fresh fruit from all over the world, with strictly no artificial flavourings or additives. With this ethos, they have been creating what is termed the ‘Iconic’ range, including the highly acclaimed Crème de Cassis de Dijon, since the beginning. But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis de Dijon – 20%
Made using three varieties of blackcurrant: Noir de Bourgogne, Royal de Naples & Blackdown, all picked at optimum ripeness. The liqueur is made by a unique process: first, the fruit is frozen within one hour of picking to avoid any possibility of oxidation. The frozen fruit is then released from cold store and macerated as required (six times per year) and when fully saturated it is bottled at 20% abv.
Rich blackcurrant aromas upon the nose, with dark kicks blending with a fragrant finish of stemmed currants. Incredibly rich and fresh on the palate, with a little tartness coming through. Slightly dry, but with a long finish.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Pêches – 18%
Obtained by macerating selected white peach varieties, including the vine peach. Sweet aromas of peach on the nose, with the rich freshness coming through. Light peach on the palate however, fragrant and short with a dry finish.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Fraises a la Fraise des Bois – 20%
Obtained by macerating selected strawberry varieties, including the wild strawberry. Sweet aromas of strawberry on the nose, like strawberry cheesecake. Fragrant on the finish. Rich with a very sweet texture on the palate, producing a lingering fragrant finish.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises – 20%
Obtained by macerating selected raspberry varieties from Scotland and Burgundy. Fresh, tart aromas of raspberry on the nose, with an herbal scent coming through slightly. Well-balanced on the palate, with the sweetness coming through alongside the dryness of the fresh raspberry. Thin on the long finish, albeit a little dry.
There’s one other within the ‘Iconic’ range which I am yet to experience, Crème de Mûres Sauvages. Gabriel Boudier also prides itself upon its ‘Bartenders’ range, introduced in 2008 following extensive discussions and research with top bartenders around the world into what they required for their professional work.
Gabriel Boudier Passion Fruit – 20%
Rich, fresh aromas of passion fruit and mango on the nose, with an underlining sweetness. Thin, tart texture on the palate, with the passion fruit kicking in to a sweet, long, rich finish.
Gabriel Boudier Lychee – 20%
Soft, sweet hits of lychee on the nose. Creamy texture on the palate, with very thin notes of the lychee. Fragrant, velvet and incredibly dry on the finish.
Gabriel Boudier Pink Grapefruit – 15%
Incredibly fragrant, with sweet, ripe grapefruit aromas on the nose. Very thick upon the palate, with fresh bursts of the grapefruit create a very dry finish.
Gabriel Boudier Apricot Brandy – 24%
Fully ripe apricots are macerated in brandy. The apricot flavoured spirit is then removed and a small dose of sugar added as well as a tiny amount of peach.
Fragrant, sweet aromas of apricot on the nose. Scents of the brandy follow nicely. Thick, creamy texture on the palate, with the sweet apricot creating a sharp, ripe finish. A little dry as it lingers.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Melon Vert – 20%
Uses green melons from Honduras and China. Very rich, with a slight fragrant tartness on the nose from the melon. Thin texture, with the fresh melon giving a clean-cut palate. A fragrant finish that carries for a while, with a little sweetness.
Gabriel Boudier Cherry Brandy – 24%
Made by blending black and bitter cherries of three different varieties. Dark cherry aromas on the nose, stemmed with a deep biscuit base. Bold, slightly tart with a dry cherry finish. Short, clean and plenty of subtle cherry flavours.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cacao (clear) – 15%
Obtained by distilling previously roasted Ivory Coast cocoa beans. Rich cocoa on the nose, with a slight sweetness followed by milk cream aromas. Very thin texture upon the palate, with the natural cocoa bean flavours dominating to a long creamy finish.
There are many other flavours available within the range, including curaçao bleu, triple sec, crème de menthe, pomegranate, ginger, mango and rhubarb. Another sub-category so-to-speak, is the Bernard Loiseau range. This range of premium liqueurs was launched in the UK in Spring 2010 and were developed in collaboration with Gabriel Boudier by Chef Patrick Bertron and Sommelier Eric Goettelmann at the 3 Michelin stars Relais Bernard Loiseau in Burgundy, in memory of the eponymous Chef who died in 2003.
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises & Thym – 20%
A great blend of fresh thyme and subtle tart raspberry upon the nose. Light, thin texture with the thyme dominating first upon the palate. The raspberry flavours come through, offering a base finish that’s slightly sweet with a dry herbal finish.
Others within the Bernard Loiseau range include morello cherry & chocolate, peach & hibiscus flower, blackcurrant & gingerbread as well as apple and earl grey tea, seen as perfect for digestifs and even in the French style of aperitifs.
Looking away from the liqueur category a little, Gabriel Boudier entered the gin world with the release of Saffron, a French colonial recipe of eight natural botanicals rediscovered by the brand. This handcrafted, small batch pot distilled gin is made from natural botanicals – saffron, juniper, coriander, lemon, orange peel, angelica seeds, iris and fennel.
Saffron – 40%
Light on the nose with a sweet honey coming through. Rather floral on the palate, essence of perfume is present, but rather short.
Phew, quite a range here, which as you can imagine, throws into the arena some great recipes to enjoy –
90 ml of Curaçao Triple Sec Gabriel Boudier
90 ml of Cognac
60 ml of Liqueur de Framboise
Some fruits according the season
1 bottle of Champagne
Pour the whole Champagne bottle in a big container of ice. Add the cognac, the liqueurs, the orange juice and the fruit cut in small cubes. Stir, pour and serve.
50 ml of Saffron Gin
25 ml of Gabriel Boudier Raspberry Liqueur
35 ml of white of the egg
Crush the raspberries and mix all the ingredients in a shaker. Shake over ice and fine strain into a Martini glass.
Some great ideas, and a truly unique range where they pride themselves on the use of fresh fruit. I also like the interaction with the bartender world, being able to listen to the demands and create a flavoured spirit in response. Ultimately that means that the customers are broadening their palates, with Gabriel Boudier at the beck-and-call to bring those tantalising flavours to reality. Grab a couple of bottles for your collection and be a part of the French revolution this year!
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.