La Distillerie Les Fils d’Emile Pernot

Location: La Cluse et Mijoux, Pontalier, France
Founded: 1890
Website: Emile Pernot

Based in Pontalier, France, the Emile Pernot distillery can trace its lineage to the first producers of Absinthe. In fact, Major Dubied, who had previously founded the Pernod distillery with his son-in-law, Henry-Louis Pernod, trained Fritz Duval, whose distillery eventually became Emile Pernot.

In 1895, the Deniset-Klainguer distillery was founded in Pontalier, France. The distillery became known for its absinthe and other liqueurs, including a very distinct herbal pine-bud liqueur. Herbal liqueurs such as these became extremely popular around France around the turn of the century, and the sapin liqueur produced at Deniset-Klainguer is the original sapin, produced using the same recipe they purchased from Cousin Florentin, the creator of the first sapin liqueur.

However, just over 110 years after it was founded, the distillery was in jeopardy of closing. Emile Pernot, a producer of distilled absinthes also from Pontalier stepped in to help. In 2006, they acquired the small family distillery to preserve its legacy and started working with their staff to revitalize their products, focusing on macerated absinthe and, of course, their wonderful sapin liqueurs.


Sapin Liqueurs

Traditional sapin liqueurs from the Pontalier region are complex herbal liqueurs, similar to the wonderful monastic liqueurs of the Chartreuse Mountains. Over a dozen herbs are macerated in neutral sugar spirit which is then distilled to release the delicate flavors of each botanical. The distillate is then diluted and sweetened. Young fir buds are then added to the maceration barrels in a process very similar to dry hopping a beer. The result is a refined aroma that brings you to the forest coupled with the distinct flavor of Alpine botanicals.

Un Sapin 40% “Specialité”

Emile Pernot’s sapin liqueur came soon after the Deniset-Klainguer liqueur was released. A bit stronger in flavor and less sweet, it works well in cocktails.

40% ABV
Bottle Format: 1 liter

Un Sapin 55% “Grand Liqueur”

In the area around the distillery, bakers, candy producers and ice cream makers love working with the flavors of sapin liqueur. The folks at Emile Pernot decided to make a stronger version, higher in alcohol and botanicals while lower in sugar for these confections. We actually had to convince them to let us bring this in as a liqueur, but after seeing the response from a number of bartenders who had a chance to try some samples, they’re happy that they decided to bottle it for us. Distinctively herbal and lightly piney, it works beautifully in variations of the Last Word or in a swizzle.

55% ABV
Bottle Format: 1 liter

Fraise des Bois

Crushed wild strawberries are macerated in alcohol to gently extract their intense ripe flavor, before being blended with sugar and water to create a perfect taste of the summer. Blend into your favorite ice cream or sorbet base to make an amazing dessert, or combine with gin to make an amazing rickey or bramble variant.

25% ABV
Distillery: Emile Pernot
Bottle Format: 1 liter

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