Reconstructing the idea of what gin means today, Mert Alas presents the spirit as never before in his latest venture, SEVENTY ONE. We had the pleasure of asking the industry-leading photographer all about his masterly blend...
1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Mr Alas! Could you please tell us about SEVENTY ONE?
SEVENTY ONE is a brand that I created drawing upon my past experiences of and future desires for nightlife, bottled in a format of a gin. It is about life, it is about decadence, and it is about art.
2. As photographer to the stars, what made you venture into the world of fine spirits?
Gin has been a passion of mine for many years and I created SEVENTY ONE first and foremost for myself and for my friends. It is a project that has taken me on an adventure and in a way has been a very new experience for me. And now I am sharing it with the whole world.
3. And on that note, why gin? Were you interested in pursuing other spirits at all?
I've always considered gin to be sophisticated and delicate, due to how the liquid is brought to fruition via putting all of the botanicals together. I wanted to take the process a step further and elevate it. I approached gin-making the same way that a perfumer would approach the making of a scent. For me, the making of SEVENTY ONE is not just merely about making gin; it is about going beyond the traditions of gin making to make something completely new.
4. SEVENTY ONE is said to be composed like a perfume, aged in the dark; what inspired this process, and does the gin boast any signature tastes from your homeland Turkey?
Perfection. First, I wanted to make sure that every nuance of the gin was carefully considered, so we started by distilling some of the key botanicals individually in casks, bringing a certain refinement to the final liquid. The individual botanical distillation process allows full control of each ingredient. For example, the temperature of distilling a rose is very different from the temperature required for distilling a grapefruit peel, so when I say perfection, I mean exactly that, perfecting every step, instead of going with traditional distillation where all botanicals are distilled all together, which is too messy for me.
5. The brand is endorsed by your friends and collaborators Madonna, Riccardo Tisci, Kate Moss, and countless others; how would you describe a typical SEVENTY ONE patron?
This is not about fame; this is about the celebration of expression. This is about creative people coming together and sharing moments as we have been doing for many years, and so naturally, we are sharing this together, too.
6. Onto design: who curates SEVENTY ONE'S unique aesthetic?
SEVENTY ONE is a reflection of my point of view on love, life and art.
7. What is your favourite design at The Conran Shop?
To be honest with you, I have been a big fan of Sir Terence Conran’s Cone Chair for many years.
8. We hear you like your gin on the rocks; would you ever mix it? If so, what would you recommend?
My favourite way of drinking SEVENTY ONE is on the rocks, no doubt. But I do also occasionally love a naked martini prepared following the old day recipe of 7:1.
9. And finally, what's next for you and SEVENTY ONE?
What's next? A lot of good intentions and dreams and fun nights sipping SEVENTY ONE, of course!