Mert Alas has a new side project
Not content with photographing the cover of i-D (and everyone else), he has turned his legendarily tasteful eye to a gin inspired by Oscar Wilde.
Photographer Mert Alas is very busy - with his creative partner Marcus Piggott, he's shot for seemingly every magazine of renown on the planet, as well as a host of campaigns for all the top fashion houses. Not content with image-making, however, he's now launched his own gin label, SEVENTY ONE. In case you'd wondered what fuels his wild creativity, now you have the answer. Mert has often explored the many facets of nighttime in his work, and now we know what an evening as directed by Mert would taste like. FYI, he recommends you drink it on the rocks with nothing to accompany it. You can buy the chic elixir here . Read more below.
Why explore the world of gin? Well, first, it is what I like to drink. Gin has this interesting composition of botanicals that always intrigued me. It’s like making music with different notes and chords, or even a perfume.
It’s all about creation, precision, and ambiguity — it’s all about taste. The more you dig into it, the more fascinating it gets.
I guess I was in search of THE gin with a flavour so smooth, so bold, with no sharp edges that I could enjoy neat as I like to drink it. For me, gin somehow represents sensuality.
Then comes the night, feeling fearless in great company, full of good conversations over loud music, beautiful lighting, surprises. I don’t know, perhaps holding a heavy tumbler, or listening to opera or even Björk - what I like is life and the mystery of the beautiful night.
I don't mean to sound too after-hours… but I guess I am kind of nocturnal. “Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off,” said Oscar Wilde.
This was the starting point for SEVENTY ONE.
**What have you learned from the process?
**That perfection has no time limits.
**How did you bring the heritage of the drink to SEVENTY ONE Gin?
**I was always obsessed with masterful creations — in photography, painting, music.
Something that was never seen, tasted or felt before. To achieve this, it is necessary to acknowledge the past. Gin has actually been around for centuries, so there are some traditions of making it that need to be followed. SEVENTY ONE is conceived from a very traditional yet extremely good quality gin heart – with oily juniper, angelica and citrus peel.
Then the excitement came along and we used haute perfumery techniques to singly distill each botanical in search of their absolutes. After being assembled just like a perfume, the liquid goes to three different oak casks to marry the spices and become one single opus.
Finally, the remarkable addition of the ‘Queen of the Night’ floral absolute infuses SEVENTY ONE gin with its potent scent.
Smooth, round, heady and warm, hopefully it will write a new chapter in the history of gin.
**What's your favorite way to enjoy it?
**Naked on the rocks!
**Could you recommend a cocktail?
**One of my favorite ways of having SEVENTY ONE is a cold, cold “naked martini”.
It's simply SEVENTY ONE and ice shaken and served with a tiny squirt of Turkish mandarin peel
Nothing else - it's perfection!
**What can we expect next?
**I don't plan, I take my cues from the world around me, the mood, the elements, people I meet… so I don't know but I am looking forward to finding out.
- Mert Alas