Taming the Wild Beauty of Sauvelle Vodka

Sauvelle Vodka is a natural crafted vodka from France. Produced at a microdistillery in the region of Cognac, Sauvelle is a smooth modern vodka, made with French wheat and clear spring waters of Gensac. The vodka is unchill-oak-filtered using local wood from Limousin, to add vanilla and caramel notes.


Created by Antoine Gravouil and Oliver Carsole, Sauvelle Vodka is looking to explore a lot of foreign markets, and has recently established themselves here in the UK. We recently spoke with Michael Hathaway, important team member and PR manager of Sauvelle Vodka.


Crowdit: Could you tell us a bit about the history behind Sauvelle?


Michael Hathaway: The brand was launched under the company Ossau Vins & Spiritueux, by native Frenchmen Antoine Gravouil and Oliver Carsole who wanted to combine their passion of France’s well renowned heritage crafted traditions of spirit production, alongside their love of vodka. The concept behind the brand was to launch a trendy luxury French vodka for the well-travelled, free spirited bon vivant vodka drinkers.


C: That name is quite interesting! What’s the story behind it?


MH: The name itself is taken from two French words ‘Savage’ and ‘Belle’ meaning ‘Wild’ and ‘Beautiful’ or Wild Beauty. This tagline is very much the ethos of the brand, and relates nicely to both the countryside where the French winter wheat is grown and harvested and also the people for whom it was created.


C: Can you tell us bit more about Ossau Vins & Spiritueux? Is it connected with Sauvelle?


MH: Ossau Vins & Spiritueux is the international registered company behind Sauvelle, however we currently chose to trade Sauvelle Vodka within the UK Market. The concept of Ossau Vins & Spiritueux is to produce and build a complete portfolio of artisan crafted products.


C: What is Sauvelle Studio? How is it connected with the vodka?


MH: The main concept and connection between the brands was to bring together key creatives from a variety of creative platforms, art, music and etc. which would help support them.


C: Ah cool! How many different bottles does Sauvelle Vodka create?


MH: When the brand launched in June 2015, we originally launched a 70CL & 175CL Magnum version. As both bottles were a success, we felt it was imperative to launch a ‘La Nuit’ version which could maximise visibility at the late night venues. In May 2016, we released 2 La Nuit formats a 175CL Magnum & 300CL Jeroboam. Both the Original & ‘La Nuit’ versions use the same award winning natural spirit, the only variance is the bottle design. The concept of the ‘La Nuit’s Iconic electro-luminescent label was to enhance the brands ‘wild and beautiful’ presence within the night environment and we will feel this has worked perfectly.


C: Is there a next step? Is there anything new we can expect this year?


MH: The wider picture for Sauvelle this year to continue its launch of the brand in its current international markets, whilst actively looking to spread into new markets.


C: Where can people expect to see you guys in the UK?


MH: Expect to see us at Cocktail Week in London and across various venues where we’ll open small pop-up bars.


C: What mixer do you prefer with Sauvelle vodka?


MH: Since launching in the UK, we have closely worked with numerous famous bartenders as we look to continue building a portfolio of Sauvelle ‘Perfect Serves’. Consumers will always have a preferred mixer when drinking vodka, however our personal opinion is that tonic is a perfect mixer as it blends perfectly to enhance the natural flavours of the product and create a well-balanced drink. Alternatively, you can enjoy Sauvelle Vodka neat!


C: Is the vodka filtered over three types of wood? In that case, why is that?


MH: Sauvelle itself is classified as an unfiltered vodka, however we use a process that’s known as unchill oak filtration. This process takes places once the product has slowly been diluted and brought down to 41% ABV using fresh spring water from the Gensac River. The unchill oak filtration process entails the liquid been passed over 3 different kinds of locally sourced French woods; fresh oak (Chêne du Limousin), charred oak & cherry wood. This process allows for unwanted impurities to be absorbed by the charred oak, whilst both the cherry wood and fresh oak impart slight natural flavourings to the spirit to leave us with unflavoured, but rich and creamy vodka. This has maintained its bright notes of vanilla and cherry blossoms, which would normally be lost in the more natural multiple filtration process.


C: Fantastic! In which countries can we find Sauvelle Vodka?


MH: Currently Sauvelle Vodka’s launch has targeted four European markets. These are United Kingdom, Spain, France and most recently Greece. Whilst the UK remains the main market for Sauvelle Vodka, we are continuously building the brand in its homeland of France, most notably Paris. We also saw in the summer of 2016 a push in trendy destinations such as Mykonos and Ibiza. This push has continued into 2017, however most notably key cities such Athens and Barcelona has become a priority to gain traction.


C: Where in UK can we find it?


MH: Since arriving into the UK market in June 2015 we have successfully launched in key cities across the country, including London, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Sauvelle Vodka can be found in multiple venues including restaurants, cocktail bars, hotels and nightclub throughout these cities. The biggest concentrated presence can be found in London with well-established and respected venues including The Arts Club, The Chiltern Firehouse, Donavon’s Bar – Browns Hotel, Nightjar, Cirque le Soir and The Cuckoo Club. Alongside these independent venues we have been fortunate enough to secure listings at multiple venues with each of the follow groups; The Inception Group, D&D Group and Bourne and Firmdale Hotels. We are also at luxury retailers Selfridges and 31 DOVER.


C: From what I’ve seen on your Facebook page, Sauvelle host a variety of parties and do collaborations with clubs. Mind telling us a little bit more about that?


MH: Whilst continuing to build traction within the bar and restaurant scene, we quickly established that Sauvelle fitted that chic nightlife scene due to trendy bottle design. With this in mind, we – alongside many other brands – use the club sponsorship and exclusive club nights as a way to gain traction and visibility for the brand around what we foresee to be the correct consumer demographic. The brand itself however doesn’t look to overly push the connections as there is a fine line between within the trade of being seen as a predominately ‘Clubby’ brand, and thus struggling to establish itself in other sectors of the trade. However since the launch in 2015 we feel we have created a perfect balance and this can best be reflected by observing the venues we hold listings in across the board. Since the launch we have also established relationships which have seen us offer support to events. Most recently we were fortunate enough to work with Vivienne Westwood at Fabric during London Fashion Week and in the past we have also sponsored Vogue’s 100 Year Anniversary at Tramp in Mayfair.


C: Cool! That concludes our interview, thank you very much for you time!


MH: No worries, thanks for the interview!

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