As Autumn Beckons, Open Up a Bottle of Apple Brandy (Calvados) from Christian Drouin

It all began in 1960… After buying an estate, planted with cider-apple trees, in the French department of Calvados, Christian Drouin Snr became inspired to produce his own calvados (apple brandy as designated by the appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC). Just nine years later, Christian Drouin Jnr joined the business and the pair began to take an interest in producing older, more rare calvados for discerning hotels and restaurants across the globe. In 2004, Guillaume joined his father, so continuing the family’s tradition. Today they are jointly responsible for both creating the blends and growing their export market.

A spirit with a spirited story behind it


Each spring, the Alleaumes, fruit-growers not far from the Drouin estate, hang 10,000 to 20,000 carafes in their apple orchards. A few months later, when the apples have ripened, the carafes are taken down, washed and filled with calvados. The result is the CHRISTIAN DROUIN Pays d’Auge Pomme Prisionièrre [see above].

The Alleaumes have been “bottling” pears for elite clients for four generations. Intrigued by the tradition, the Drouins approached them 30 years ago about doing the same with apples. According to the distillery, this creative experiment bears about a 40% success rate on average, which is why it is produced in limited quantities. To place your order, click here or visit one of our stores in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. Adriatic is an official distributor of Christian DROUIN calvados. (See below for more calvados on our shelves.)

Did you know?

Ó Christian DROUIN specializes in calvados Pays d’Auge. According to AOC, this requires extensive quality control and generally involves ageing in barrels for a minimum of two years; double distillation in an alembic pot-still (rather than single-column distillation); and production within the designated area in Pays d’Auge (among other criteria).

Ó Today the firm is the sixth largest calvados producer in the world and a specialist in old calvados. Thirty-five of their vintages date as far back as 1939 (this is made possible due to stock bought by Drouin Snr when producers of old calvados sold their estates).

Ó The orchards at Christian DROUIN have 30 different varieties of cider apples, ranging from bittersharps (20%) to bittersweets (50%) to sweets (20%) to sharps (10%).

Ó The orchard is maintained according to organic principles. For example, fertilizer comes from their resident cows.

Ó A cooper is someone who makes wooden barrels or casks (as well as other wooden containers).

More CHRISTIAN DROUIN products at Adriatic

#1 Christian Drouin Blanche De Normandie

“La Blanche” (a clear apple-and-pear-cider spirit) used to be a common drink for Normandy farmers (usually it was taken with coffee) until the appellation system recategorised calvados in 1942 as “brown spirits” and it lost favour. Fortunately it has enjoyed a revival more recently as barmen have expressed an interest in a tannin- and colour-free calvados for cocktails. Hence Christian DROUIN’s decision to relaunch its own apple-cider spirit in the Blanche De Normandie. Find more info here.

#2 Christian Drouin Calvados Selection

Perfect for those who love light spirits, this calvados is a blend of apples and pears and is aged for 2 to 3 years in old casks. Fresh and fruity. Find more info here.

#3 Christian Drouin Calvados VSOP

The intricate process behind this full and flavoursome brandy includes being aged in former Bordeaux wine barrels lined with cider, as well as in former port, sherry and Banyuls (dessert wine from southern France) barrels. Find more info here.

#4 Christian Drouin Hors d’Age Calvados

This classic calvados is aged for 15 years in small barrels, including former brandy barrels. Described as intense on the palate with both floral and spicy notes. Find more info here.

PS. In the mood for a fresh apple cider that’s light in alcohol? Check out their Cidre Bouché Brut. No added sugar, yeast or additives.

Sources: Christian DROUIN Press Release,

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