An atypical place for a project which is just as unusual. In a building dating from 1700, the Monaco Distillery is, since 2017, the first distillery in the history of the principality. She offers L’Orangerie, a liqueur made from bitter oranges; a citrus gin as well as Carruba, a liqueur made with carob fruit. In Ile-de-France, Daniel Gouzien, who previously worked on the artisanal portfolio of Pernod Ricard, distributes the products through his DGSA Distribution structure. 300 customers, mainly wine merchants, now distribute Monaco Distillery products. Founding son, Philippe Culazzo, tells us more.
Why did you want to create a distillery in Monaco?
I have a license in Irish law and in French law, I am passionate about wines and spirits. I have owned a trading company for twelve years. Monaco is a country well known in the world, but with few specialties on its territory. The history of the principality is really anchored in agriculture (olives, citrus fruits) with also a lot of maritime trade. The idea was to reconnect with this tradition and use the citrus fruits that grow around. There are 600 trees, including sour orange, which are planted in Monaco. We also produce fruit from the carob tree, which has a strong presence in the Mediterranean basin. It is a fruit that we dry, then we ensure the roasting. It has aromas of coffee, chocolate and caramel.
How did the project materialize?
The project was launched in 2012. There was a strong will on the part of the government to arrive, since we intended to recover citrus fruits that went to the dumpster, because they were not used. We collect between 10 and 15 tonnes of fruit per year. We also had to find a suitable room, being an urban distillery. We needed a ceiling height of 4 meters. To bring in the still (450 kg), made in Germany, we had to remove the windows. We explore 4000 liters of storage in stainless steel tanks, a semi-automatic bottling machine, a filtering pump, a pot still (traditional distillation), and a rectification column.
What are your products?
We have an orange liqueur (L’Orangerie) from Monaco, which is drunk well frosted as a digestif. There are no colors or flavors. The sugar dosage is at the minimum to be considered a liqueur. This product really recalls the taste of sour orange (candied orange, marmalade). We also produce Carruba, through roasting. It is very delicious (taste of coffee, chocolate, white chocolate), ideal as a cocktail, on its own or as an Irish coffee. We did the test with the caruba for a recipe that is inspired by it. We have a citrus gin (bitter orange from Monaco; sweet oranges and lemons from the Menton region; lime, grapefruit, citron, juniper, coriander, Sichuan pepper berries, fresh ginger, thyme) on a juniper base. We start with the juniper, before a nice finish with citrus fruits and spices.
Comment you want to develop?
We are four people. We are exporting to Asia, Europe, hopefully North America soon. We want to develop new products in connection with the territory of Monaco and the region, always with natural ingredients.