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3 French (non whisky) distilleries you need to visit

thewhiskylady - 2015-05-04

France may be home to more than 20 whisky distilleries, I decided to introduce you today to 3 non-whisky distilling gems that I like to refer to as the “magic 3C” : Cointreau, Calvados & Cognac (I know I could have make it a magic square by adding Chartreuse but I’ve always prefered triangles… – the honest reason being that I just hate don’t like it.)

If you come to visit our delightful country (do I sound way too chauvinistic here ?), here are 3 non-whisky distilleries you need to visit :

1. Cointreau – Loire Valley

“The current Cointreau Distillery was first set up in 1849 by Adolphe and Edouard-Jean Cointreau, who were both famous master confectioners, when they started making spirits using only local fruits. The first liqueur to have success in the Cointreau distillery was actually not the now famous orange spirit, but rather a cherry liqueur (called guignolet).

In 1875, Edouard-Jean Cointreau’s son Edouard, distilled a spirit from sweet and bitter orange peels—a major novelty for the time since oranges had to be imported from Spain and other warm, dry climates. Edouard bottled the orange liqueur in an amber bottle, which remains the signature of Cointreau today.

By the turn of the 20th century, the Cointreau distillery was already selling nearly 800,000 bottles per year of the unique bitter orange spirit and Cointreau opens it’s first branches in Europe as well as developing the Pierriot character, which remains the symbolic image of the brand.

By the early 1920s, grandson’s of the first Edouard-Jean Cointreau, Louis and Andre, take over the family business and make Cointreau into a worldwide brand—exporting the liqueur to the Unites States, Canada and other countries and beginning a business model largely based on exporting the orange spirit.

Today, approximately 13 million bottle of Cointreau are sold each year in more than 200 countries and 95% of production is exported.

The Carré Cointreau, (the name of the distillery and museum) is open to the public for tours. While Cointreau is dedicated to keep their special recipe a secret to outsiders, visitors to the distillery can still tour many areas where the orange liqueur is made and visit the museum, where you can learn more about the history of Cointreau. Visitors also get a free Cointreau cocktail at the end of the tour.” (Julie Blakley)

Cointreau Museum and Visitor Center
Saint Barthelemy d’Anjou
Angers, France

Phone: +33 02 41 31 50 50

Price: 8 € – 10 €

2. Calvados Père Magloire – Normandy

Père Magloire opens its doors to 25 000 visitors each season. You will first be lead to the Museum of Calvados, where you will get acquainted with nearly 450 objects, the oldest from the 18th century (One of the room is showcasing wonderful examples of an old apple-mill and apple-press dating back to the 18th century !)

You will then be invited for a tour in Normandy’s countryside with the Cellar Master through a film presenting you all the wonders of different seasons of Calvados.

The visit to Père Magloire’s Cellars will let you discover the scent of all the Calvados, slowly maturing in oak barrels. Finally, you’ll be offered a free tasting of different expressions from the Père Magloire’s range.

Calvados Père Magloire

Route de Trouville


Phone: +

Price : 3.30€ – 10€


3. Cognac Rémy Martin – Cognac”

“Why is it only the town of Cognac that is able to make the Cognac drink? 

“Cognac is protected by a French controlled appellation, meaning it is the only place in the world where cognac can be produced. It refers to the notion of “terroir”, a French word describing the soil, climate, and all the steps of the elaboration process defined by a decree in 1936.” says international ambassador Lauren Beckett-Barbier.

What makes Remy Martin different to other Cognac brands?

Since 1724, the House of Rémy Martin has been driven by one quest – to capture the Heart of Cognac: Fine Champagne Cognac. Rare grapes from the most sought after vineyards, traditional distillation methods, longer maturation in the casks, and all the heart and savoir-faire of the Cellar Master combine to create a cognac of unique harmony, opulence and length on the palate.

Only 17% of the cognac shipped from the region meets the legal requirements of the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Fine Champagne Cognac. This Appellation recognises the unique quality of this blend from the two most sought after growth areas in the Cognac terroir.

For a long time, the house of Rémy Martin has exclusively blended 100% of its cognacs from Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne grapes. Today, Rémy Martin possesses the most precious reserves of Fine Champagne eaux-de-vie, representing some 115 years of the vignerons’ craft.” (Menswear Style)

The distillery is offering a wide range of tours from quick overviews to in-depth experiences as well as many events throughout the year and corporate facilities for seminars & meetings.



The Rémy Martin House

20, Rue de la Société Vinicole 

16100 COGNAC

Phone : +33 545357666

Price : 18€ – 1000€


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