This is Vodka Le Philtre: “Waste yourself, not the planet!”
Gif : polpo-agency.com | Photos: Le Philtre
We are in Guéthary, facing the sea, alongside a trio (but there are only two of them): Frédéric Beigbeder, novelist, literary critic and filmmaker; Guillaume Rappeneau, media and marketing man, also a documentary producer; missing that day is the third, Charles Beigbeder, known as “the serial entrepreneur”, founder of several companies.
These three have set themselves an ambitious goal: to save the planet, nothing less, by producing the most natural alcohol imaginable. George Clooney and Rande Gerber in French Version, in short.
Photo: Guillaume Rappeneau, Charles Beigbeder, Frédéric Beigbeder – Le Philtre
To embark on this adventure, they started from the memories of their crazy youth. In their time, it was vodka. If we have to save the planet, we might as well treat ourselves: it will be Le Philtre, organic vodka.
“Philtre”, from the Latin word philtrum, itself from the Greek word philtro: drink prepared according to the rules of magic or witchcraft, intended to inspire love. In literature, Tristan and Yseult, who succumbed to love after drinking it, are the most famous victims of this magical drink. This did not stop our trio: today, no magic is needed to save our planet. Creativity is enough.
The “Philtre”, is it synonymous with purity? lightness? In any case, this tasting is like no other: a very smooth vodka, very fine, easy to drink and above all, environmentally friendly.
Initially, a shared concern: global warming, air pollution, shrinking beaches… the list is far from being closed.
In 2019, lying on the same beach of Guéthary, Frédéric Beigbeder, Guillaume Rappeneau and Charles Beigbeder wondered while tasting a caipiroska: “Wouldn’t it be possible to drink a vodka without damaging our planet? And, while we’re at it, how about a vodka that looks like us?”
And they did it! Produced from organic wheat, Le Philtre, Organic Vodka is a vodka that appeals to amateurs and experts alike… and anyone who cares about the fate of our planet.
Photo : Le Philtre
The Philtre is without ecological impact because it is organic: elaborated from winter wheat from organic farming and Gensac® Water recognized for its great purity, it contains no chemical additives, no artificial flavor, no added sugar. Even its bottle is the ultimate expression of recycling, made exclusively from waste glass.
A French vodka, distilled and bottled in the Cognac region, produced using traditional methods by the Maison Villevert, a mythical distillery with which Guillaume, Charles and Frédéric have joined forces to create an exceptional product. It is the experience of the Maison Villevert, “craftsmen inspired since 1487”, that has made it possible to produce a beverage containing no chemical additives or sugar, usually added to smoothen the texture. Its purity and elegance are only due to a final distillation in a Charentais copper still.
The bottle: made from 100% recycled waste glass
How is it made? A mixture of recycled glass and sand is introduced into a furnace heated to 1500° so that the material melts and becomes malleable. It is then conveyed to the moulds that will give the bottles their shape, and gradually cooled.
In order to obtain a specific glass color, colorants are added to the initial mixture right from the furnace stage. Reaching the desired color can take up to three days. During this period, the glass goes through different colors, and the final result does not always correspond to the demands of beverage producers, let alone vodka manufacturers, who are subject to the diktat of marketers: a vodka bottle must be white.
Different declinations of the vodka bottle Le Philtre – Photo: Vodka Le Philtre
To be able to recycle this waste, the inventors have freed themselves from traditional marketing codes: “Whatever the color, let’s recover this waste and create atypical bottles for our vodka!”
The bottles of Le Philtre Organic vodka therefore have a multitude of colors, and each of them is unique. Made of 100% non-recovered material, they allow to save energy and raw material.
Le Philtre thus participates in the circular economy, like no other vodka brand in the world.
Interview with Frédéric Beigbeder and Guillaume Rappeneau
Le Philtre, it is its creators who speak best about it, especially in front of the sea! Read the interview below.
SH: a custom-made bottle ?
Guillaume Rappeneau: we have worked with people who are great entrepreneurs, who have important capacities, irreplaceable know-how. They accompanied us enormously. We introduced ourselves into their systems by asking them to create something they don’t usually do, but which is in line with their principles. So they were forced to think for us, and since they are large companies they can produce at extremely reasonable costs. The mould was made in Italy, the design was made in Spain… The three of us invested personally to develop the project for a year and then we raised the funds.
SH: Where exactly do you distribute it?
Frédéric Beigbeder: In organic grocery stores, the organic environment… that’s the world we’re interested in. For the moment we can find it at La Grande Épicerie de Paris and at the Yaoya organic grocery store in Guéthary. The idea is that it is a 100% natural vodka, respectful of the environment because no natural resources are used for the bottle and it has no harmful impact on the biotope because it is organic. No chemical additives, no artificial flavours, no added sugar. All vodkas add sugar except us. This is important because this feeling of fluidity when we consume it, it comes from there.
SH: Why the name? There is still the connotation of filter ?
Frédéric Beigbeder : In French literature, “Philtre”, with “ph”, is a magic potion. It means elixir, a strange, bewitching drink. In the legend of the Middle Ages, Tristan and Isolde, these two young people who were not supposed to be together, share a herbal alcohol and fall completely in love. “Philtre” has both medieval and magical connotations. But it’s true that there’s something behind the idea of filter. Hence this bottle, which is also a little dented.
Guillaume Rappeneau: we wanted it to be imperfect, for every detail to give the impression that the object was almost dented, not on purpose. But it wasn’t!
SH: it reminds us of the work of the sculptor Henry Moore. It also looks a bit like it was sculpted by the sea.
Frédéric Beigbeder: It’s normal, the idea came to us here, on the beach.
SH: What would your cocktail be ?
Frédéric Beigbeder : We’ve had several proposals. For example, we tasted Philtre with rose syrup, it’s very pleasant, not too sweet, shaken with a little twist of lemon. This could be the new Cosmo! You replace the cranberry by the rose, and it’s called Le Philtre d’Amour, Le Philtre de Rose… THE PINK PHILTER!
SH: why a vodka?
Guillaume Rappeneau : Because we are already more than 50 years old… That’s what we drank when we went out and we were young. We didn’t want whisky because we would have looked like our fathers, and gin was often of poor quality. At that time vodkas were rather Russian. Then the Absolut vodka came on the market, a name in English and a design by Andy Warhol! It became the main alcohol. And then time passed; fashions change, tastes change. Today young people drink very high quality gin, but we decided to make a vodka. We make an alcohol for us. It’s generational.
SH: And you are going to bring vodka back into fashion?
SH: Have you always drunk vodka ?
Guillaume Rappeneau: Yes.
Frédéric Beigbeder : I like tequila.
Guillaume Rappeneau: Me, I only drink vodka. If we had been opportunists we would have made a gin, but no, we really invented it for ourselves.
SH : If Le Philtre was to be drunk in a movie, – it doesn’t matter which one – it would be drunk by whom ?
Frédéric Beigbeder : I love Matthew McConnaughey. He’s very eco-friendly, he’s very committed like DiCaprio. I like him in Dallas Buyers Club because he’s the anti-hero who does good in spite of himself, without doing it on purpose. That’s basically what the Philtre is all about, party people who go for vodka, who love the night, who like to have fun, but almost without doing anything on purpose, they do something that I hope will do good. Provided, of course, that people follow them, abandon brands that pollute, that are full of pesticides, or use GMO wheat, in white bottles that are not made of recycled glass.
That was our idea, to do good for the planet while having fun. And that’s precisely why I like Matthew McConnaughey, we don’t understand it at the beginning of the film, but I find it quite beautiful, as a kind of involuntary redemption.
SH : Is Le Philtre your redemption ?
Frédéric Beigbeder : I don’t know, it’s still a vodka, watch out ! It’s dangerous for your health…but…
SH : It’s dangerous if you drink too much !
Frédéric Beigbeder : If you drink too much, that’s it.
Guillaume Rappeneau: Let’s not forget the slogan. Frédéric declined it from the French legal text: “Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, it doesn’t have to be dangerous for the planet.”
Frédéric Beigbeder: it’s also good in English…
SH : in English?
Frédéric Beigbeder : Waste yourself, not the planet!
SH : we love it!
Tasting Notes Vodka Le Philtre
Slight toasted notes.
Silky and delicate structure, notes of roasted almond and tonka bean.
Exclusive : La nouvelle Traversée de Paris a short story written by Frédéric Beigbeder for Le Figaro.
Published on 23/10/2020 at 07:01 am
The party will take place in about ten days, on November 5, 2020, but I can’t give you the address. It is secret: guests will receive it by WhatsApp one hour before the party starts. The presentation of the Prix de Flore will take place in a cellar in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The entrance will be off and the building is completely soundproof, the police will not be able to guess anything from the street. Discreet security guards in camouflage outfits will show you the way in the underground with flashlights. It will be like under Prohibition in New York, exactly a century later. You’ll feel like you’re in a Fitzgerald short story. The music will be period music: you will only listen to jazz (Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet, Boris Vian). There will be a bar of Philtre, dancers in fringed skirts, a tapas buffet from Camdeborde.
I make a point of thanking president Macron to have inspired us an idea so fairylike. Juliette Gréco would have loved; too bad that she has just left us. It’s a chance to live in a country led by a top of the class who has never partied a day in his life. Macron is such a sucker that he married his teacher! He doesn’t know the meaning of the word “nightclubbing”. For the past nine months, he has destroyed a way of life that supported millions of workers, artists, disc jockeys, bartenders, and helped millions of other citizens support their daily lives.
But the resistance rumbles, and the most successful parties have always been disobedient, even illegal. Le Flore’s speakeasy is just one example among hundreds of others. I regret not being able to give here the geographical map of the clandestine clubs that open every night in the capital, as in all the cities where curfews have been decreed. It’s up to you to find out more…
Just to see BHL dance the Charleston, this evening of November 5 is not to be missed. Nicolas Bedos will give a speech worthy of Jean Moulin: “We’d rather die than not live!”. On the turntables, I will play a special playlist: Le Déserteur, Le Chant des partisans, Bella ciao, Gainsbourg’s La Marseillaise.
France is now cut in two: those who believe that health comes before freedom, and those who believe that freedom is more important than health. The latter are nicknamed the “irresponsible night owls”, the “brainless elitists”, the “contaminating partygoers” or the “walking clusters”. When you leave your home to come to the forbidden party, don’t forget to bring your dog with you, in case of a control. If you don’t have a dog, put on a Deliveroo, Pizza Hut or Uber Eats jacket and ride a scooter. Or tell the Marshalsea that you have a plane to catch.
You can also print out a statement certifying that you have to help your grandmother subclaque. If you come on foot, shave the walls like in La Traversée de Paris. At the entrance of the secret party, your temperature will be taken and then you can take off your mask as long as you sign a declaration on your honour: “I accept, as an adult not yet drunk, to run the risk of catching germs. I solemnly promise not to kiss an octogenarian for the next two weeks. And if I die after this evening, I wish my ashes to be scattered on Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise cemetery. Vive la France!”
Le Flore’s annual bamboula is the best literary festival of the year since the creation of the Prize in 1994. This ceremony was created to ridicule the literary prizes of old people: it was out of the question that our festival be cancelled to protect them. I know that you are impatient, but please don’t call me for the location. The police are listening to cell phones. If you meet me and want to participate in the fiesta, just whisper this password in my ear: “TABOU”.
* Last book published: (Gr (Grasset)
Read La nouvelle Traversée de Paris on lefigaro.fr
Ne buvez pas au volant. Consommez avec modération.
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