This small perennial plant, known only to initiates, grows at very high altitude (2-3,000 metres), where sheer mountainsides and permanent snow cover inhibit all vegetation. It is mostly to be found in the French and Italian Alps, where it often shares its habitat with edelweiss, though the latter grows more readily in siliceous soil. It has a particular preference for mountain ledges, to which access is difficult or even dangerous.
For Reserve Citadelle Gin we use black genepi (Artemisia spicata), the most sought-after and highly appreciated variety. Relatively rare, it is powerfully aromatic and often grows on limestone shale in cool and shady alpine corridors. Black genepi grows at an altitude of 2,500-3,000 metres, the choice of altitude being decisive for the plant’s organoleptic qualities. Difficult to cultivate, it has been badly affected by global warming.
The harvest period, at flowering, is very short: only a few days in July while the plant is at its aromatic peak. Its aroma is on a par with its rarity, being both strong and refined. It gives off a fresh scent of absinthe with tannic notes which distinguish it from white genepi (Artemisia eriantha), with which it is often confused. It is used in mountain liqueurs renowned for their digestive qualities and is also one of the ingredients of Chartreuse.
Genepi marvellously complements the vegetal and fresh character of juniper and helps to give Reserve Citadelle Gin the structure which enables it to be matured for a few months in small oak casks.