In Cognac Country, Enjoying The World’s Finest Vodka In True Luxury Fashion
In the idyllic commune of Juillac-le-Coq, a handsome 17th century manor sits proudly among sun-dappled vineyards, the pride of Cognac country. Inside, however, it is vodka that anchors the essence of Le Logis, the painstakingly restored heritage building that was relaunched as a private mansion by Grey Goose in 2013. It is a beautiful home, as its French name suggests, for the exploration of the drink that was created by Francois Thibault and Sidney Frank more than 20 years ago.
Originally a Cognac Maitre de Chai, Thibault had cognac flowing through his veins having grown up in the region—yet, upon Frank’s proposition, he realised that his unique experience and steadfast dedication to utilising the best ingredients from the land would be able to create something entirely different. With his deep-rooted expertise in spirits making and passion for the produce of his homeland, Thibault was able to apply his knowledge to the art of creating vodka, rooted in the idea of provenance—every bottle of Grey Goose is built from single origin soft winter wheat from Picardie (the very same used by the best French bakers), and natural spring water from Gensac-la-Pallue, the result being a truly French spirit that is 100% traceable from field to bottle.
The story of Grey Goose therefore unfolds right in the heartland of the brand, privvy only to a select set of guests—between 1,000 and 1,300 individuals a year, ranging from industry professionals to friends of the brand, who are hand-selected and invited to discover Le Logis through a fully immersive hospitality experience. In essence, Le Logis brings the vivaciousness of the brand to life, showcasing all facets of the French spirit within a context that allows guests to partake in that quintessential Gallic lifestyle.
Thibault himself is often at the mansion, a humble yet enthusiastic host and master of the maison, ready to gently lead visitors into the world of Grey Goose—usually starting with a spirited introduction to the brand, as guests listen attentively draped in the soft morning light that beams into the plushly decorated Le Salon living room. This is the centre point of Le Logis, with its contemporary artworks, stylishly anointed furniture (including a piano, which can be played for post-prandial tunes should a guest be tempted to) and help-yourself bar stocked with the entire Grey Goose portfolio and more. Visit at different times of the day and you’ll find that the discrete staff will always ensure that the room is prepared with enough seasonal canapés for nibbling, and ice cubes are available for mixing drinks.
At Le Logis, vodka is for savouring rather than to be downed in quick succession; allowing the quality of the spirit to speak for itself through mindful consumption rather than blind voraciousness. Guests who stay at the maison will also enjoy a guided tasting of various Grey Goose vodkas, led by Thibault—an educational session that covers not only the unique history of the brand and the surrounding areas that produce such exceptional ingredients, but also the contemporary vision of Grey Goose by showcasing new products and flavours that are on the market or soon to be launched. Within this part of the property, the details of what makes Grey Goose so different from its competitors is put into stark relief—a mill put on display tells visitors that the maison still prefers to mill the high quality wheat on site at the distillery, rather than rely on purchasing raw white spirit to start the vodka-making process. Having utmost control over the product from beginning to end was something that Thibault found non-negotiable—even with heightened costs and laborious process associated with it.
While the classroom offers a 360 look at the DNA of the brand, it is the bar that guests can truly let loose and enjoy vodka at its best, in a beautiful room with ceiling-high shelving showcasing not only vodka, but plenty of other premium spirits. There, the resident bartenders are available to teach guests the art of mixology, showcasing classic and contemporary cocktail recipes that they can replicate at home—an espresso vodka martini, say, made with cold brew single origin coffee and vanilla Grey Goose, or the Le Fizz with its tantalising mix of elderflower liqueur, vodka, lime juice and soda water. Just behind is the terrace, overlooking the immaculately kept greens and centuries-old mulberry tree, and the azure-blue pool just beyond where guests can recline with chilled cocktails and enjoy an alfresco barbecue feast (incorporating fresh produce and herbs grown on the grounds of Le Logis) during golden hour. It is here, with a frosty vodka martini in hand, that you truly appreciate the story of Le Logis Grey Goose.
- Videography Tyrone Wu
- Photography Billy Ha
- Words Charmaine Mok