Hey, You All! Over the weekend, we took a trip to the Atelier Vie distillery on N. Broad Street in the Mid-City area of town. The distillery is actually located in the “Art Egg” building – a collection of artisan studio spaces tucked right under the Broad Street overpass. If you plan to visit, heed the advice on the website – don’t trust GPS! Check out their website here, for directions.
It’s an interesting spot, to be sure. We were greeted by Jedd Haas, who is, essentially, a one-person operation in this venture. It is only the second distillery to be established in New Orleans proper since prohibition (Old New Orleans Rum being the first). His studio space on the first floor of the building is a fully-functional distillery, albeit one that is fit for a small, boutique production like Atelier Vie.
Jedd was working on a bottling run of his “Euphrosine Gin” – named, conveniently, for the cross street on which the distillery sits, as well as being, in Greek mythology, one of the “Three Graces” and the goddess of joy or mirth. Seems about right for where gin can lead…
Taking measurements and readings of the Euphrosine Gin.
Photograph by Bryan Dias, NOLADrinks
Jedd, who by nature is an affable but also, somewhat shy fellow, was very hospitable and, clearly, passionate about his process and products. He showed us around the single, large room that is the production area. Since he was in the middle of a bottling run, we were able to see what was happening with the batches of gin as they went through the progression. This included some measurements and calculations of proof, as well, as several other steps required to bottle. It was quite interesting and we appreciated Jedd being so upfront and open about what he does.
The “Euphrosine Gin” is named, conveniently, for the cross street on which the distillery sits, as well as being, in Greek mythology, one of the “Three Graces” and the goddess of joy or mirth. Seems about right for where gin can lead…
From there, we ventured into the tasting room, which also doubles as Jedd’s office in the space – really, just a collection of a few chairs and small table set-up with a line-up of Atelier Vie’s currently available wares. Since we were the only folks there, it afforded us a nice time to chat, taste, and “muse” on the current (and past) state of the Louisiana liquor industry – for those who produce within the state, that is. These are, probably, stories best left for another time and segment(s), to be sure!
The gin bottling run (photos above). The absinthes and barrel-finished gin (below).
Photographs by Bryan Dias, NOLADrinks
We tasted the two current versions of the gin – “Euphrosine Gin #9” – both the regular and the barrel-finished reserve. Both were very nice. Neither had a preponderance of juniper and were just well-crafted, enjoyable, and approachable gins. The barrel-finished was very nice, golden in color deriving from the finishing in American Bourbon barrels, and rounded. It was very nice for “sipping,” as Jedd put it.
We then tasted Atelier Vie’s two absinthes – the “Verte” (green) and the “Rouge” (red). The red is the first absinthe to be distilled in NOLA since the ban (due to wormwood, and a ridiculous thing really…) on the spirit in the States that was instituted in 1912. Both were very good. The green was, to a degree, more “old world” in style with a more wormwood-forward characteristic. The red was very enjoyable and, somewhat, different from most absinthes available in the local NOLA market. It was more anise driven, though far more restrained than many in that regard. The wormwood notes took a decided backseat to the anise and floral notes in the spirit. Jedd describes it as a “new school American absinthe” that he also, occasionally, calls a “gateway absinthe for new absintheurs.”
Overall, our visit was fun and informative (and tasty!) Jedd and Atelier Vie are open for complimentary tastings and his casual tour each Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. You will want to drop him a line in advance (he is a one-person operation, after all!) to RSVP. Current products are also available for sale on the spot! Check it out!
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