Okay, my friend Gauthier a.k.a. Long Long a.k.a. the big boar has wanted to write me a dedication (or rather a small novel) to show his friendship, thus, as he’s a literary man, I let him have a page here…
Enjoy your reading!
« Get in, for Jesus sake! We were waiting for you. Leave your shoes and sit down. » The first time should be like every other time. A swearword at the door, a second in the corridor, and the last ones along the way, the time to give a kiss to Louise, Sandrine and Coralie. The reception was unambiguous. You were welcome. But you shouldn’t have fucked up too much. Maybe the table was cluttered with fresh noodles and morning apples. We pulled out the stool for you. Hervé was being yelled at for all sorts of good reasons that Eloi wanted to justify. In the furnace, the roast did what it had to do. It smelled good. It was loud. The damasiniers in the orchard seemed to be peeping out of the windows at the life they were feeding on. Here everybody loved each other.
Brandies come from this land. Shaped by the earth, the people, their harshness. Their infinite tenderness. They awaken memories in your mouth that modesty silences. Only fruits announce the color. Pear, quince, plum, cherry. Each shape has contours and tints of this Ajoulot hinterland that an almost sinuous road separates from just about everything. The country has a rebellious topography. We’re no longer in the plains. We feel that we are rising. Mont-Terri isn’t very far. The first fruit trees invite you to look up. These branches, then this chapel with its proud bell tower, and the aptly named Saint. A stone fountain before to arrive. Finally, the barn with the smells of old oak. Light rains down there, even in the barrels that we put down in the dark. Sheltered from the most curious. Waiting for something better. Soon what has been patiently cultivated, harvested, cleaned, will be taken to the Alembics to be shared.
Here the division is worth its weight in gold. Thankfully, these liquors have a collective sense. It’s almost better for your health but above all it prevents you from complaining too much. Or at least the humanity around helps to overcome the pain. We cry about a lot of things. Brandy is a liquer which has matured. It carries within it our old regrets. Together, we stick close to each other. We’d like to see that fucking dining table with its noodles and its beautiful people again. We go down the drain with the bottle. With a bit of courage, we let go of the names of those we miss, and we still venture to say « that’s fucked up ».
Hervé, without confessing himself, he has everything in his mind when he leaves the works definitively. He has something of a castaway: he doesn’t have a port but hopes. He’s mostly bored. He often dreams of that small corner of the sky that saw him grow up and where the ground keeps the memory of everyone and himself. He takes a step to the side which proves to be decisive. He goes back up to the village with convictions that are so many promises. Everything inside cries out this desire to see the orchard, the damassinier, the dining table again. And then this bell tower that calls out to him. He will miss almost nothing. What he still needs will come naturally.
He is trying to reconcile this barely recovered past with a present that he must recreate. He falls on a strange machine at the bottom of a funny cul-de-sac. It makes you wonder which one was waiting for the other. Quickly, the air is filled with familiar scents. He can see in this distillery, alchemy’s cousin, what remains invisible to an amateur’s eye. Hidden from view are copper tubes and their golden auras. Just like him, this place seems to have cut the cord with its origins, only to eventually come back to them. Irremediably. Ethereal. This is the missing piece. The link to yesterday and the momentum towards tomorrow.
Hervé became a alembic the day when his father inserted in his child’s hand a handful of small yellow plums in their Courtemautruy orchard.
The story is on your taste buds.
– Gauthier a.k.a. Le Long