“There are three crucial elements that define a vodka: the ingredients, the way it is made and the people who make it,” François Thibault, Maître de Chai (or cellar master) of Grey Goose Vodka tells visitors at Le Logis, the newly restored distillery and research atelier which is situated in a 17th century mansion in the Cognac region of France.
However, after an extensive tour, it is clear that there is a fourth crucial element that defines this particular vodka brand, the cellar master himself.
Thibault leads his visitors through the story of Grey Goose, providing samples of the different aged vodkas and explaining the process utilized to make the product. But it’s not until he places grey ‘Wellies’ on his feet, matching his impeccably tailored grey suit,and leads the way outside, to show the vineyards of grapes harvested in the region an overcast day, that the man comes to life.
Here is this incredibly busy gentleman, taking time out of his schedule to go trampling through the mud, to show how it is done. Thibault, being a third-generation native to the region, exudes love and passion as he speaks about his homeland. He mentions his father, a wine grower, who inspires him to make cognac, and his son, who also works in the industry. He refers to them both as inspirations to create a cognac ‘to be made by a father for the enjoyment of his son.’
At that moment, it is visible to everyone that Thibault himself is the secret ingredient to the company’s success. Developed in 1996 by businessman Sidney Frank, Grey Goose was named the best tasting vodka in the world by the Beverage Testing Institute In 1998.The company was eventually sold to Bacardi for US $2.2 billion in August 2004.
Grey Goose is the first vodka to be produced in the Maître de Chai tradition, which allows aromas to be produced in the distillation process specific to Grey Goose vodka. It is made from 100% French ingredients, including flavored versions of the vodka. For instance, Grey Goose La Poire was the result of Thibault’s relationship with a Parisian pastry chef, whose pear tarte inspired the recipe for the new vodka flavor.
Thibault has refused to abandon his values, believing in the artistry and craftsmanship traditionally used in creating fine spirits. “Grey Goose could only have been conceived in France. It is where I have spent my entire working life and it is where I draw my inspiration. My experience making cognac taught me to never compromise on quality and taste and I am very rigorous in my pursuit of both,” Thibault told Hi-Europe.
The Maître believes that without the best ingredients, he would not be able to make his vodka. So, instead of using potatoes like traditional Russian vodkas, he decided to use the soft winter wheat from the Picardie region, using only the whole grain. He distills it only once,and then blends it with spring water from the village of Gensac-La-Pallue, which is naturally filtered through limestone.
Thibault is so involved in the daily production of Grey Goose, that he must taste-test each batch of vodka before it leaves the distillery to be mixed. If it does not meet his standards, the entire vat is discarded. In the master’s words, “I can’t remember the last time a batch didn’t pass, but it could happen. At this point, the individuals making the vodka are experts in their field and it runs very smoothly, but one can never be too certain. Like I said, there are other elements out of my control that could effect the final product, like an ingredient that has been effected by Mother Nature. These are not things I can control, so that is why I taste every batch.”
It’s been 33 years since Hollywood’s biggest unsolved mystery took place, but interest in Natalie Wood’s death has never waned — in fact, the case was reopened in 2011.
Now, Natalie’s sister Lana reveals a major bombshell to Closer Weekly. “I know who killed Natalie,” she insists in an exclusive interview.
And although Lana cannot disclose details of Natalie’s 1981 drowning death, she reveals that “according to the detectives, they think they do, too.”
Natalie and Lana circa 1965
While new information gives promise to the truth coming out, Lana shares she is reminded of the tragedy almost daily.
“I don’t believe there is such a thing as closure. Because I’m her relative, I have to hear so many details about the new information, and there are some things I just cannot tell anyone. Her death is ugly and painful to this day. It always will be,” Lana tells Closer. “These days, I only go to the cemetery once a year because it hurts too badly.”
For more details on this Hollywood mystery, including new information from Lt. John Corina, who’s been heading the case for two years, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on stands now.
Long before she was America’s most famous pregnant reality star, Kim KardashianOpens a New Window. was a 9-year-old elementary school student going through emotional turmoil as her parents went through a bitter split.
Robert wrote that young Kim didn’t outwardly react to the divorce, adding that she had a tendency to cry when she was alone. He also noted that a usually outgoing Kim tried to maintain B’s and C’s in her fifth-grade class, but that social situations were difficult because her friends would avoid her due to her family issues.
Like Kim, KourtneyOpens a New Window. also faced social problems because of her family life, Robert wrote, adding that 10-year-old Kourtney was withdrawn and showed a major change in personality during the split.
Unlike her sisters, Khloé, who was only 5 at the time of Kris and Robert’s divorce, marched to the beat of her own drum. Robert claimed his youngest daughter made her own rules and was very independent.
Robert’s assessment of his daughters’ emotional states is just one of the shocking revelations in In Touch’s new collector’s special, The Complete Kardashian Diaries.
On newsstands today, the bookazine provides a candid, in-depth look into the Kardashian children’s turbulent upbringing – and Robert’s allegations of Kris JennerOpens a New Window.’s cheating, lies and abusive behavior — with time-stamped, dated excerpts from more than 200 pages from the late attorney’s personal journals and divorce documents.
For all the shocking allegations from Robert’s diary entries, plus exclusive family photos and much more, pick up In Touch’s Complete Kardashian Diaries, on newsstands now!