Between city and countryside, in the city of Chaponost, La Forêt Noire has been revealing its decoration and cooking since September...
Gin lovers can be delighted: a newcomer just entered the fray and directly ranked among the premium category. The gin Lord of Barbès is organic, 50° and distilled in Cognac in the purest craft tradition. Everything started when Vincent Valton, an expert in spirits, met Hervé Lopez, a man with several hats: artistic director, decorator and producer of animated films. They are perfectly complementary. They made their dream come true and offer us the precious drink in an indigo flask with a skull on it. The tone has been set. More than a simple gin, it’s also a whole universe, rich in religious icons, nice skelettons and strange animals. In the ebony-coloured cabinet of curiosities of Lord of Barbès, Hervé has fun and gathers his numerous finds: rococo sofas, paintings of maharajahs and dolls. But always with a touch of humour!
Discover the joyfully strange world of Lord of Barbès here.
Can you introduce yourselves?
My first job was in movie production. I have been working with brands for a long time. I was first in charge of creation in an advertising agency called BDDP, and then I had an art house cinema with the aim of producing animated film for advertising.
As far as I’m concerned, I come from the world of spirits, where I used to work in operational marketing/public relations, especially for Bacardi Martini France and then for Pernod Ricard, in the West Indies. I came back in 2015 and since then, Hervé and I have been working together on this project.
What’s the gin Lord of Barbès?
It’s a scented, organic and quality gin. We tried to work with the bests, at every single step. We created the recipe with the help of the cellar master from the distillery of Bercloux, a small craft company in Cognac, which is in charge of the production.
In the recipe, there are botanical elements and basic flavours: juniper berry, cardamom and coriander. We also added dried mango and one ingredient: the monkey bread, which is a wink to our neighbourhood, Barbès, since we find monkey breads everywhere here. It’s the fruit of the baobab; it has an acid taste and above all it has a lot of properties. It’s antioxidant, rich in vitamin C but also in calcium.
Then, we had fun designing the universe around the gin. For the bottle, we chose among a lot of flacons and bottles in the flea markets, which has inspired us to design our flacon. It reminds a bit of the chemist’s flacons and its cobalt blue colour is not anecdotal. It has a protective property for liquids. The website is rich in animations and animated avatars made by the South African artist Kim Rose. She makes wonderful botanical plates with a pencil.
How was this idea born?
It was a bit of a whim, but mainly because I love it. I am of Spanish origin, and in Spain, we drink a lot of gin. It’s one of the European countries which drink the most this alcohol. I have regularly been there since the 80’s and there were obviously a lot of gin during the parties! So, the idea came from this: both a strong taste for this beverage and a wish to create a product from A to Z. After having worked for a long time for other brands, I wanted to have my own product. It was a way to come full circle.
Can you tell us the story of this place?
At the beginning of the XIXth century, it was the boutique of a wine merchant. I initially set up here with my production company. Then we transformed the place into both a boutique and a depot, but also a curiosity cabinet and production offices. I really love decoration and I regularly go hunting for antiques in second-hand stores and to the flea market of Saint-Ouen. I also collect objects coming from animated films, such as the cat from Alice in Wonderland. I love the idea that this place perfectly represents the world of Lord of Barbès, which is a bit crazy, mysterious, funny and original.
Do you have other projects in mind?
We dream of a field of baobabs in Africa. We also really want to dedicate ourselves to elephant protection, by using part of the profits to donate it to an association or to make a film to raise awareness about this issue.
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily