Summer might be winding down, but that doesn’t mean you can pry our gin and tonics from us.
And if a gin can conjure the magical feeling of summer by just looking at the bottle—even in the middle of January—then we can finally give up on moving to the wasteland, aka, Florida.
Well, that’s just what 44?N by Comte de Grasse promises. Designed by forceMAJEURE, this elegant bottle found inspiration in the Mediterranean coast and the South of France. We spoke with Pierre Delebois and Laurent Hainaut of forceMAJEURE to find out more about this wonderfully designed gin that’s sure to stay on our bar cart well after summer is over.
Laurent Hainaut, CEO forceMAJEURE: For Comte de Grasse’s first release 44°N gin, we set out to capture the luminous depth of the Mediterranean Sea and the windswept aroma of the French Riviera into a modern luxury design.
The gin was named for the geographic coordinates of Grasse, and 44° N’s tasting notes read like a who’s who of local botanicals set to the full-spectrum dreamscape of the Côte d’Azur.
This new-to-world brand nourishes its visionary essence from the terroir, raw materials and advanced state-of-art distillation techniques concentrated in Grasse while remaining true to its aesthetics inspired by the light and vibrations of the South of France and the magic of the Mediterranean coast.
As the world capital of fragrance, Grasse is a place where the best, often rare, botanicals grow freely, blessed by a near-perfect collision of constant sunshine and warmth. Naturally close to everything needed to distill spirits sustainably, the abundance of its ecosystem is priceless. With all this on the doorstep, Comte de Grasse can’t help but be inspired to create exceptional spirits.
Pierre Delebois, Strategy and Creative Director: Our creative process started with a thorough investigation, looking into the perfume and fragrance category, and building a visual audit of modern brands that speak to new generations.
Because Grasse is the fragrance capital of the world, we had to make sure that we truly understood the city’s heritage by going beyond the spirits industry and diving into the unique world of perfumery.
Based on our key findings, we were able to define the brand essence. We then built our three founding pillars that translated our brand values: Heritage, Grace, and No Fear, a tribute to the Grasse, to elegance and the innovative spirit of the founders.
Once we were grounded in knowledge, we started our design discovery, looking for experiences that embody the beauty of the place and its most inspiring time. With contemporary art deeply rooted in the region, we looked at iconic architecture, particularly at the Maeght Foundation.
The Foundation is an avant-garde exhibition space inspired by the French Riviera’s grace and style; integrating geometry and clean form with beautiful interior design that makes us lose track of time. This inspires our toolkit to play with different ways of translating this experience into an original visual language. The essence of the future brand lay in a place of collaboration, at the intersection of city and nature, but also a place where artists could easily escape.
Pierre Delebois: We had the ambition to move ahead of the trends and create a design that will go beyond the expected codes of the category. We had to bend the rules and create an authentic lifestyle product, a modern icon that confused the genre and great a powerful emotion at first sight; a sensorial, visual and tactile translation of the place, time and culture of Comte de Grasse Gin.
Pierre Delebois: For us, building the best brand experience relied on honoring the city’s rich history and unique heritage as the fragrance capital of the world. For our aesthetic inspiration, we looked at the Mediterranean’s grace, both delicate and conveying deep emotion. Finally, we believed that the brand stood on daring ground—crossing paths between the old and the new while blending traditional beauty codes with innovative techniques.
The New Realism artist Yves Klein said: “Blue has no dimensions; it is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colors are not.”
This inspired us. All colors arouse specific associative ideas, while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract.
At the same time, we were fascinated with the sensory experience of the sea – the depths of intensely blue water, the crisp breeze, radiant sunshine, and how it plays on the waves. We wanted to create a simple and stunning design that speaks to these experiences in an immersive way without being too literal.
Laurent Hainaut: We wanted to make sure that we honored Grasse and its perfumer’s touch in the bottle design and shape. We are proud of how the bottle can transport the consumer to a specific place and mood. The depth of the blue, the textural beauty of the glass, and the vibrant pop of citrus yellow are evocative without being too literal. We were happy to collaborate with our suppliers to execute our vision faithfully and to create a truly exceptional piece of art.
How was it collaborating with CHIC on this unique project?
Laurent Hainaut: CHIC chose to partner with forceMAJEURE on this unique project. Our expertise in creative strategy, innovation, visual identity, product design, and packaging was a determining factor.
forceMAJEURE’s presence in the U.S, our knowledge and practice in international markets, particularly in spirits, were assets that merged well with those of CHIC; a 360-degree experience in the luxury market, a knowledge of European markets and the French and British spirits trade markets and a capacity to create synergy and coherence with all of the teams on the project. The alliance of CHIC and forceMAJEURE’s respective expertise enabled them to achieve the visual positioning, brand world, naming, visual identity, product and packaging design of the Comte de Grasse’s first launch, the 44°N gin.