The subtle alchemy of botanicals and wheat spirit
It is the botanicals that make the gin, they are the very essence of this eau de vie. But the nature of the neutral spirit in which the botanicals aromas are extracted before the distillation stage directly conditions the character of the distillate. The neutral spirit chosen therefore has also a decisive role in shaping the final character of the gin.
The first secret of Dry Gin de Provence Cicada : wheat spirit
The expression "Dry Gin" does not mean "dry gin", quite the contrary: Cicada is a mellow gin with many nuances that can be enjoyed as pure as in a cocktail. "Dry Gin" simply means that the brandy used to extract the aromas of the botanicals is of very high purity, having been distilled at more than 96%.
In order that all the nuances and subtle balance of Cicada Dry Gin can be expressed in the best conditions, during the first stage of its production, which is the maceration of the botanicals, we use wheat spirit that we have chosen for its purity and for the neutrality of its character.
For this reason, the most famous gins are the traditional expressions that meet the definition of "Distilled Dry Gin" and are produced from neutral grain spirit. It is after having collected the aromas of the botanicals during the first stage of the gin making process that Manon, our specialized alembic still, will come into play. It will fuse and sublimate the aromatic components collected during the maceration process.
The secret and delicate alchemy of botanicals
The dozen or so botanicals composing our recipe, developed after numerous trials, namely the eight main ones illustrated here plus four others which are part of Cicada's secrets, will macerate for one day in the wheat spirit which, being neutral in character, will not introduce any aromatic colouring likely to modify the delicate harmony of the botanicals.
As in a symphonic orchestra where all the instruments must play together to create the harmony sought, we believe that to achieve the symbiosis essential to bring the botanicals this same harmony, it is important that they are put to macerate all together during the key stage of maceration. Time is the magical and indispensable ingredient that alone will allow the good fusion of their aromas. The tests we have carried out have confirmed that this is the way to obtain the complexity and aromatic balance we are so attached to for Cicada.
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis) are a major component of gin that gives it its distinctive character. The essential oils they contain leave a light, sweet bitterness on the palate that is accompanied by a subtly spicy finish.
The bigarade (Citrus Auriantum) is a variety of bitter Provençal orange with a thick skin rich in essential oils, it brings to gin fresh aromas marked by the sweet bitterness of citrus fruits.
Coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum) are the second key ingredient in the aromatic profile of gin. They give it complex, sweet and spicy citrus aromas that harmoniously reinforce those of juniper berries.
The iris (iridis) is a bulbous plant whose name comes from the Greek Iridos, meaning the messenger of the gods, personification of the rainbow. Its crushed roots have a fragrant character that adds a subtle note of violet to the gin.
Olives (olea) are a symbol of Mediterranean and Provençal traditions through the richness of their history and through their use. The fruity and sweet aromas they bring contribute to the unique aromatic profile of Cicada Gin.
Lavender (Lavandula Officinalis) is a perennial plant of Mediterranean origin containing essential oils with a powerful fragrance. The best lavenders are harvested on the plateaux of Haute-Provence at the time of their flowering during the month of July.
The angelica (Angelica archangelica) or "herb of angels" was believed to ward off bewitchments and sorcerers could not resist its perfume. Its root contains an essential oil that helps to balance the floral notes of gin.
Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) takes its name from the Persian "Yasmin" which means "Gift of God". Its flowers, which must be picked just before dawn, release bewitching aromas of great elegance that contribute to the complexity of Cicada gin.
Distillation : Manon's Secrets
The distillation of the botanical maceration obtained represents a stage that is just as decisive for the quality of the gin as the elaboration of the latter. Many parameters must be harmonized to produce a distillate in which all the aromas of the plants are found in a sublimated form. This is what will give the gin its aromatic signature with its specific character.
Our alembic still exclusively dedicated to the distillation of gin has been specially made according to our specifications: with its four adjustable rectification plates and its purification stage it is a very sophisticated apparatus whose role is decisive in providing Cicada Gin its character.
Tradition dictates that all gin stills have a first name, we have affectionately named our own Manon. With Manon, Jean Donnay our master distiller represents another key asset for the distillation of Cicada with his twenty years of experience in the distillation of whisky and gin.