Review: Melifera Edizione Corsa Artisinal French Gin

A few months ago, I was walking through a spirits store in London trying to find any rare or interesting bottles that I wouldn’t be able to find back home in the States. Thankfully, I was visiting the store at the same time the Melifera team were offering an in-person tasting — and as soon as I took a single sip, I knew I needed to bring a bottle home for further study.



Christophe Amigorena has a long history in consumer products — specifically, those that cater to a higher end clientele. His ‘day job’ is as a Managing Director at L’Occitane en Provence, the French beauty products company which focuses on using botanical ingredients from the south of France in their recipes. From this position, he has learned a great deal about the history and the healing properties of the immortelle flowers that bloom on the dunes of the French Atlantic coast — knowledge that he has been able to apply to his Melifera line of spirits.

Beginning with a specific offshoot of the sunflower family known commonly as the Immortelle flower (and officially known as helichrysum arenarium), the company focuses on producing gins with this key ingredient.

Why the immortelle flower? Known for growing where not many other plants can take root, it has been part of French culture and history for generations — and as far back as the writing of the Greek poem The Odyssey, the flower was known as a medicinal herb and is noted in that work as being used to cure Odysseus’ wounds. It was also used to symbolize the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II in 1152, and has since been a noted healing herb with anti-oxidant properties.

In 2019, Amigorena decided that he wanted to take this uniquely powerful and beautiful French flower and use it in a gin and he partnered with two other business associates to create Melifera Gin. The company takes their commitment to sustainability seriously, planting their own organic garden of immortelle flowers (as picking wild ones is illegal from the dunes), and supporting research and efforts to protect local bees.


Melifera doesn’t have their own distillery — instead, they partner with the SVE Distillery in Charente-Maritime to create their spirit. There aren’t a whole lot of details available about the distillation process, but given the labels on the bottle we can make some educated guesses and what went into this product.

Most gins start out with a neutral spirit, usually made from grains of some sort. This is a highly refined alcohol that has no inherent flavors of its own, which makes it a perfect blank slate for whatever the distiller wants to do with it. For their standard gin, Melifera adds a set of eighteen botanicals to their neutral spirit, many of which are grown in their own organic garden in France. Those components include:

  • Juniper
  • Immortelle
  • Angelica root
  • Maceron
  • French Artemisia
  • Kaffir lime

But this isn’t a bottle of their standard gin – this is a bottle of their Edizone Corsa version of their gin, in which they actually go one step further and focus on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica where the immortelle flower is also found and blooms in abundance. All of the immortelle flowers for this bottle come specifically from that island, along with a few other added botanical components that are designed to evoke the idea of walking down a windswept beach on Corsica.

Once all those botanicals have been added to the spirit, it is then re-distilled in a single pot fruit still in small batches to create the finished product we see here today.


There’s zero doubt that this is a beautiful and well crafted bottle. It really does stand out on the shelf with a distinguished presence.

Overall, the shape is pretty normal: round body, rounded shoulder, short neck, wood and cork stopper. But the detail and the texture that has gone into this bottle is incredible. The outside body of the bottle is textured, like a brick that was thrown into the ocean and worn smooth. Embossed into the base of the bottle is the word “IMMORTELLE”, really driving home the key ingredient of the spirit inside. Along the top of the bottle are a wreath of yellow immortelle flowers, just like a crown adorning this special container.

We’re only reviewing this Corsican version, but there’s one other difference to be aware of here. On the normal bottle, the glass is fairly clear and transparent — but for this Corsican version, the glass has a deep purple hue applied in a gradient from the top to the bottom of the bottle. It’s a skillful and interesting technique, and one that makes this bottle all the more interesting.

On the front of the bottle is a paper label with finely designed lettering for the brand information, something that looks very much like the more traditional cognac labels you might see.

Overall, I think it’s a beautiful bottle that has earned a prominent spot in my own personal display.



Despite the tinted glass on the bottle, the spirit itself is perfectly clear and water white. The aroma coming off the glass is instantly recognizable as being very citrus-forward: grapefruit, lemon, orange peel, and a bit of depth from some angelica are all big players in that profile, with just a hint of juniper to give it a faint crispness. There’s also a bit of herbaceous flower blossom just around the edges, like a crown of flowers around a portrait (or like the crown of flowers embossed on the bottle).

Taking a sip, this is more closely aligned with a modern or “American style” gin than the traditional London version. There’s some juniper in here, but that flavor is a supporting character instead of being the star of the show.

I immediately taste that angelica root laying down some deeper saturation and flavors, with the floral blossoms and immortelle flowers really taking center stage. That herbaceous floral flavor is strong and pervasive, with the juniper once again simply adding a little bit of crispness and not overpowering the other components. There’s also a little bit of that lime flavor sprinkled throughout, which adds a bit of citrus and seems to nicely balance the angelica.

If their goal was to make this taste like a walk among the flowers on a windswept dune, I think they nailed it. I don’t get much salinity or slate flavors like I’d expect from the ocean, but otherwise it all works and makes for a cohesive story.

On Ice

My biggest concern with a light and floral gin is that the flavors won’t stand up to some additional ice. The cold temperature and the added dilution can be a knock-out blow to these kinds of airy flavors… and sadly, that’s a little bit of the case here.

I do still get a tiny hint of the immortelle flowers, with a little twinge of bitterness that accompanies their flavor. And there’s still some juniper in the aroma, but the main flavor now is the angelica root. It’s like a combination of mascarpone and almonds, smooth and delicious with a little bit of a nutty complexion and a tiny hint of lemon.

There’s nothing necessarily bad about this — for a light, herbal, and floral flavor profile, it actually held up better than expected. But it’s not quite as flavorful as we saw when taken neat.

Fizz (Tom Collins)

Based on what we just saw on ice, I wasn’t expecting much from this cocktail. I thought the soda water and ice would have completely eliminated any of the remaining gin flavors, leaving behind something bland and uninteresting. And while the flavors of the gin are definitely still diluted, I think there are enough of the floral blossom flavors coming through to call this a win.

Those immortelle flowers are certainly proving to be fairly immortal (pun intended) in the flavor profile. They are adding just that little bit of herbaceousness to the cocktail that saves it from being boring and instead makes it something that demands a bit of your attention to figure out. With the added lemon, I’m starting to see this less as a walk along a windswept beach and more like sitting at a beachside cafe sipping a delicious lemonade.

An upgrade, in my opinion.

Cocktail (Negroni)

There’s a lot going on in this glass. Campari. Vermouth. Chaos for a light and herbaceous gin. I didn’t expect much coming into this portion of the test, and I think my expectations were appropriately met.

There’s really nothing from the gin that comes through here. It’s a riot of red fruit and bitterness without any of the usual juniper heavy components to balance things out. This actually makes me a bit mad that I wasted some of this delicious gin on a cocktail that is such a bad fit for it’s flavor profile (but rules are rules, and we’re sticklers for consistent reviewing here at Thirty One Whiskey).

Cocktail (French Blonde)

I’m throwing an audible here and adding one more cocktail because I think it would be perfect for this gin: the French Blonde. An herbaceous and delicate cocktail that leverages a number of complimentary flavors, the Melifera Edizione Corsa fits in perfectly.

This is, without a doubt, the best version of this cocktail I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a few, since my wife is a big fan of this cocktail). Using a typical American style gin has given some good results, but I’ve never had the floral and herbal components so well balanced and delicious. The immortelle flowers really do shine through here, playing nicely with the citrus and inherent slight bitterness of the grapefruit and making something I’d happily sip all night long.

This, right here, is a home run.


Overall Rating

The French wine and spirits industry seems to be obsessed with the idea of terroir — the notion that something tastes the way it does because of the time and the place in which it was grown, distilled, matured, and bottled. The idea that a product and its production location are inexorably linked.

It’s absolutely a theory I ascribe to for wine and brandy, but for gin I don’t usually hold the same opinion… and this bottle of gin is making me completely reexamine that conclusion.

The flavors in here are excellent, and this gin absolutely shines in the right cocktail. The the overall experience of this spirit is better thanks to the history and the effort put into the ingredients by this company, and taking that notion of terroir and applying it to the botanicals in a gin is something very few distilleries have done and makes for an excellent story. I’ll drink to that any day.

Melifera Edizione Corsa Artisinal French Gin
Produced By: Melifera
Production Location: France
Classification: Gin
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $56.78 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 5/5
A beautiful botanical bottle that really does transport you to the French island of Corsica, using flowers with a rich history and a true medicinal use.


One comment

  1. Thank you so much for this insighfuk article, your analysis and your accurate words. We are happy that you enjoyed Melifera 🙏

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