Meet Audemus Distillery, a small but highly creative producer that’s fast grown into one of the best loved, contemporary French spirit producers.
Based in France's Aquitaine, the Audemus Distillery is a little atypical for the region. Instead of the big copper stills serving the region's brandy production, they operate a vacuum distillery out of the distiller’s (Miko) living room in the centre of Cognac and have made a name in the Gin world. It’s a tiny operation that creates huge flavours, but in subverting the status quo and working with modern machinery, modern techniques along with modern ideas of what to create - they’ve managed to innovate from the heart of a region so famed from its staunch traditionalism.
Founded by Miko Abouaf in 2013, after several years working as a Cognac distiller. For him, Audemus is the realisation of a lifelong love for creating spirits; and his passion is present in everything he produces. The company now constitutes of a team of four in total.
Their flagship products are undoubtably their gins, namely Pink Pepper Gin, with frequent limited editions and one-off editions emerging adding to the fanfare that surrounds the distillery.
Pink Pepper Gin was born from Miko’s desire to create an aromatically bold new-style of gin and deliberately steers away from the dry juniper-lead style. To taste it’s almost viscous with sweet, perfumed tonka and vanilla, but the headline flavour is the booming notes of honeyed pink pepper. It's genuinely un-like any other gin in the world and remains easily identifiable even in blind tastings.
In 2019, the sister Pink Pepper Dry Gin was added to the range. With an intentionally dryer finish, more pronounced juniper core and overall a more classically styled profile, it’s more geared towards the purists.
There’s still the trademark pink pepper at the fore of the Dry Gin but with less sweetness on the finish, it’s one that’s worth trying out in a Martini with a lemon peel zest.
Both are unique and between them, offer up a distinct identity for the distillery while offering the drinker a very clear stylistic choice to enjoy. If gin is not your thing however, while they may be lesser known, Audemus’ aperitif and liqueur range is worth discovering too, in particular the Covert and the Sepia.
Fans of sweeter drinks will love the Covert Liqueur, which brings the fragrant warmth and complexity of fig leaves, spring honey and cognac. It’s evocative and richly perfumed, with a deep musky aroma, balanced with the brightness of fruit.
The big notes of jammed figs and lingering honey give it a depth of flavour and when served over ice, acts as a perfect digestif. If you feeling a little naughty and channeling your inner Nigela, it's also a great ingredient to add an extra touch of indulgence to a cake or tarte...
Sepia is a modern interpretation of an age-old French aperitif. They begin with a base of roasted French chicory, which provides a full-bodied and lightly bitter canvas, to which they add myrtle, fresh seasonal oranges, angelica root alongside a handful of other botanicals. The resulting bitter-sweet spirit combines the earthy, roasted flavours of chicory and myrtle and the ethereal brightness of orange.
You can use Sepia as the Bitter part of a Negroni as you would an Amaro, but our recommendation would be to combine it with a light beer (simply pour a shot and top with beer) to make an Amer Biere. This modern spirit makes for a compelling reimagining (and we think Oscar worthy resurrection), of a mostly forgotten French tradition.