Combier Distillery...

combier

© Sedecs/Terroirs-of-France/M. Durman

...its traditional liqueurs for over 150 years

In the heart of Saumur, The Combier Distillery, the oldest distillery of the Loire Valley has been making its traditional liqueurs for over 150 years. 

In 1832, Jean Combier and his wife Josephine Deste settled in Saumur and opened a confectioner's shop. In his back shop, Jean began to make liqueur. In 1848, giving up their activity as confectioner, the Combiers rented the site of the present factory and produced their liqueurs: the triple sec which is an orange based spirit and the Elixir Combier, a more exotic composition.

The recipes, the tastes and the philosophy has not changed. Today, Franck Choisne continues producing these spirits maintaining the traditional methods of liqueur making.

For the production of the Triple Sec, dried bitter oranges from Haiti are first dehydrated and macerated in alcohol for 24 hours and then distilled in 100 year old copper stills. The concentrated aromas are released from the zests during distillation producing a highly fragrant spirit. The triple sec is distilled 3 times and finally mixed with some syrup to reduce its alcohol content from 80 to 40 degrees.

distillerie

Originally, the Elixir Combier was a variation of the Liqueur Raspail, a recipe with medicinal virtues created by the famous chemist Francois Raspail.

Composed of aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron, it is used today as an ingredient in the Royal Combier. This blend of triple sec spirit, cognac and Combier elixir, is one of France's finest liqueurs.

© Harmonie Communication/CDT Anjou

Jean Combier had presented his product as 'La beauté du zeste' (The beauty of the zest). Today the production may also be called the beauty of the fruit, as the House of Combier produces a much wider range of liqueurs, namely fruit based eaux-de-vies and cordials.

The Guignolet Roi René is a cherry based aperitif, Pastis d'antan (pastis of yesteryear) is made of many plants and spices and a of course aniseed. Currants, berries, peaches, among other fruits have all found a place in Combier's bottles, some of which have been awarded gold and silver medals at the Metz international contest.

Visitors can discover the techniques for making liqueurs as the distillery is open to the public.

We would like to thank Mr Fabrice Choisne and his team for their hospitality and the information provided. We would also like to thank the CDT of Anjou.