You probably haven’t heard about the country estate run by Grey Goose in pastoral France. That’s because you haven’t been invited—yet. It may be one of the more difficult invitations to score, but if you’re passionate about premium vodka, we suspect you will find a way. Tucked away in the peaceful commune of Juillac-le-Coq in the Cognac region of France sits a countryside manor that dates back to the 17th century. Having exchanged hands many times over the years, the estate was a quaint bed and breakfast before Grey Goose acquired it in 2012. After a year of careful restoration, it now serves as a private mansion for the vodka brand that sees about 1,300 invitees a year, ranging from friends of the brand to esteemed professionals in the beverage industry.
Dubbed Le Logis (the home), the manor is a delicate mix of old and new. Its timeworn limestone facade, antique writing desks in each of the 15 uniquely designed rooms, and the rustic kitchenette—complete with a wood-burning fireplace—that’s stocked with delightful cheese plates at all times is befitting of the bucolic locale. But then you’ll find details like a brass étagère, leather-tufted ottoman, and modern dining chairs add a contemporary element to the home. Nods both subtle and bold to Grey Goose can also be found throughout the spaces, including its signature blue on pillows and throws as well as its logo embossed onto the floor of the outdoor pool.
But a stay at Le Logis includes more than just chic digs. Time well spent here calls for learning about the vodka through sight, taste and smell. Every visit includes a stroll around the grounds with François Thibault, the brand’s cellar master, which kicks off with a stop at the rolling vineyards that surround the estate followed by a discussion in a sleek, laboratory-esque atelier where the brand’s “crop-to-cork” philosophy is on full display. Here, guests discover the vodka’s origins; how it’s made using soft winter wheat from Picardy and spring water tapped from a natural well right next to the bottling facility in Gensac-la-Pallue; and where the fruit used for their flavored options is sourced, along with how they employ experts from Grasse, France—the perfume capital of the world—to extract the essences. This all culminates with a tasting of the entire portfolio, which includes VX, their most premium offering and an homage to Thibault’s time as maître de chai for H Mounier. With a touch of Cognac derived from the grapes grown on the grounds of Le Logis, the spirit possesses a mild sweetness with notes of apricot and wild honey, and a lingering finish much like the treasured brown liquor.
There are plenty of other experiences on offer, such as cocktail-making classes with the enthusiastic staff in the handsome bar clad with mottled mirrors to a bread-making class in the kitchen using the same wheat from Picardy that’s utilized in the vodka. It’s an indulgent couple of days for the lucky few who are welcomed to Le Logis, but a priceless one at that.