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History

Lillet Est. 1872

Est. 1872
1972 : Maison fondée
Jean Lillet came from Saint-Morillon in Gironde and moved to Podensac, a small town near Sauternes in the Graves region, in 1680. His descendants Raymond and Paul Lillet, merchants of fine wines, liqueurs and spirits, founded Lillet in 1872. They created Bordeaux’s first and only aperitif, known as Kina Lillet until the 1970s when it became simply Lillet, a blend of Bordeaux wines and handcrafted fruit liqueurs produced in Podensac.
1920's and 30's
1972 : Maison fondée
In the 20s and 30s, Lillet was served on very special occasions and at official receptions, soon becoming the aperitif in vogue all over the world. In 1937, Lillet’s first major advertising campaign was designed for the American market. The campaign by French artist Robert Wolff, better known as Roby’s, remains famous in the USA and France to this day.
1940's and 50's
1972 : Maison fondée
After the Second World War, the small family-run company decided to focus on exporting the brand to the US market. Lillet became the star drink of every trendy New York bar. The Anglo-Saxon market really took off in 1945 with the launch of Lillet Dry, which could be mixed with gin or served in cocktails and inspired the famous Vesper.
1960's and 70's
1972 : Maison fondée
In 1962, it was Pierre Lillet who expanded the range by adding Lillet Rouge, a stronger, ruby coloured alternative to its white counterpart, which appealed to Lillet fans and red wine lovers alike. In 1972 came the 1961 vintage “Lillet Vieux”. The brand was already called “Lillet” in the USA for customs reasons and Kina Lillet officially became Lillet worldwide.
1980's and 90's
1972 : Maison fondée
The Lillet brand acquired a new lease of life on the French market in 1985 with the organisation of numerous tasting sessions in Bordeaux and Paris and a more modern and sophisticated design for the bottle. In 1995, Lillet won the gold medal at the International Wine Competition, confirming its quality once again. In 1999, Lillet became one of the 100 top-selling brands in France.
The 2000's
1972 : Maison fondée
The 21st century has seen Lillet go from strength to strength, with ever more countries discovering the brand. Connoisseurs and mixologists ensure that Lillet features in all top cocktail bars around the world, leading to the launch of Lillet Rosé in 2011, which immediately won the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Beverage Challenge.

Production

THE MAKING OF Lillet

Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux, is the birthplace of the Lillet aperitif, a subtle blend of rigorously selected wines (85%) and of fruit liqueurs (15%) handcrafted on site.

6 Months: the time it takes for Lillet to be ready for market

6 Steps in the production process

Bouteille Lillet
Séléction des vins
01

Step 01

Selecting the wines

The wines used to make Lillet are selected for their organoleptic qualities and Bordeaux typicity (sémillon for Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rosé and merlot for Lillet Rouge).

Séléction des vins
02

Step 02

Selecting the fruits and peels

Sweet oranges from southern Spain or Tunisia, bitter oranges from Haiti, quinine from Peru… Every year, we select the best fruits, peels and barks from the world’s top suppliers.

Séléction des vins
03

Step 03

Making the liqueurs

Our liqueurs have been prepared in the same way since the 19th century, via cold maceration of the individual fruits in alcohol. After a few weeks, once the key ingredients have been extracted, the liqueurs are run off and the fruits pressed. These handcrafted liqueurs are largely responsible for Lillet’s rich aromas.

Séléction des vins
04

Step 04

Creating Lillet

Once the liqueurs are ready, they are blended with wines using a secret recipe in a phase known as fortification. The mix is then stirred in vats until perfectly blended. During the ageing process, Lillet is handled as attentively as any great Bordeaux wine (undergoing fining, racking, filtering etc).

Séléction des vins
05

Step 05

Ageing

Lillet is aged in oak vats for several months, allowing the aromas to mellow and its characteristic taste to mature.

Séléction des vins
06

Step 06

Blending the different wines

The cuvées used in Lillet are selected each year for their aromatic qualities and degree of maturity and blended to produce Lillet’s characteristic elegance and smoothness. This is what gives Lillet its fruity, candied notes and rich, balanced and lively flavour.

Guided tour

Welcome to Podensac !

illustration
Travel back through one hundred years of history in the old distillery,
and discover how this unique recipe is made.
Exemple vidéo

Don’t miss the tour

How to visit:
- Groups: maximum 50 people
- Languages: French / English
- The boutique is open year round:
Tuesday to Saturday,
from 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 6pm.
Tel: +33 5 56 27 41 41 / Fax : +33 5 56 27 41 44

Discover the Lillet Range
Excessive alcohol consumption causes health risks. Drink in moderation.

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