The Enigma Story
Distillerie Devoille at the end of the 19th century
The Devoille distillery in the present day
Enigma French absinthes are distilled at the Distillerie Paul Devoille which is located in Fougerolles, Haut Saone in North East France, close to the Alsace region. The distillery was founded in 1859 by Xavier Devoille, the father of Paul, and is considered one of the top 10 distilleries in France for fruit eau-de-vie. Distilleries such as Devoille produced absinthe in great quantities from the end of the 19th century up until 1915, mostly in bulk following specific recipes for regional absinthes as the demand for absinthe was so great at the time that more famous distilleries could not keep up with production. Thus absinthe was ‘exported’ from Fougerolles to other French cities including Pontarlier, to be bottled and labelled with local names. The distillery was purchased in 1985 by René de Miscault and is now run by his son, Hugues. In 2004 Liqueurs de France commissioned Hugues to make an exclusive absinthe and Enigma verte de Fougerolles became an instant success and was soon followed by Enigma Blanche de Fougerolles, the first absinthe made directly following a known historic and openly published recipe found in 19th century French distiller’s manuals.
Alembic at Devoille distillery
Drying Artemisia absinthium at the Devoille distillery
Blending and bottling at the Devoille distillery
The Devoille distillery produces absinthe by a unique process in which each individual plant is distilled separately to produce a single botanical. The single botanicals are then blended together and finished with an ‘esprit vert’ or green spirit – a natural maceration of additional plants in grape spirits, which is mixed in during the final colouring stage of production. The great advantage of this process is that it results in a consistent product between bottlings as variations in the individual plants can be smoothed out between batches, something that is not possible with small-batch distillation.