Inside Bordeaux’s artisan distilling company
Head distiller Frédéric Roginska is changing the traditional taste landscape of Bordeaux.
“Oh, hello!” says Frédéric Roginska over the noise of an excavator as he climbs out of his tent laboratory. Half the premises of Bordeaux Distilling Company are still under construction, but head distiller Roginska is making good use of the other half.
In his greenhouse-like laboratory, Roginska has been sampling herbs and coffee roasts to develop the first two products launched by the 18-month-old company: a grape-and-wine-leaf-based cocktail bitter and a cold brew coffee liquor.
Roginska, a Paris native, was lured to the west coast of France by Olivier Carsoule, Antoine Gravouil, and Eric Lafon, owners of the Bordeaux Distilling Company, in early 2018. He immediately quit his job at the hyped Parisian micro-distillery Distillerie de Paris and took the first train there.
“They said it’s like California here,” says Roginska, with a hearty laugh.
In the summer months, the region indeed basks in a warm golden glow, while winter is the period of indoors and innovation. For Roginska, finding new collaborators and friends seems to happen almost organically−and the slower rhythm of life leaves time for experimentation.
“Bordeaux is an area of many traditions, but we chose to abandon them all. Traditions can easily turn into gimmicks in modern business. I want to explore things that haven’t been done yet,” he says.
Roginska approaches his work like a perfumer: he combines his ingredients intuitively to achieve the nuances and moods he is after. “Oftentimes your ideas don’t work, but then you get it right and you have a beautiful structure of aromas.”
Text Elisa Suokko
Photo Heli Sorjonen