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In the liquors and spirits lair at the Lore & Legends distillery

Interviews

In the liquors and spirits lair at the Lore & Legends distillery

Located in the heart of downtown Lévis is a large building where Lore & Legends co-founders Virgil Demers and Martin Vaillancourt set up shop three years ago.

Published on May 14, 2024

Located in the heart of downtown Lévis is a large building where Lore & Legends co-founders Virgil Demers and Martin Vaillancourt set up shop three years ago. 

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The natural course of things

Virgil explained that fate led them to open Lore & Legends. Martin, owner of Corsaire Brewery, had always had a keen interest in distillation, while Virgil had been into homebrewing for years.

Traditional equipment

Stepping into the Lore & Legends facility was like entering a whole new world, with a great, big hangar, copper stills, fermentation barrels, wooden casks, and more. It sure set the tone for what came next! 

Right away, Virgil showed me a large still, handmade in Portugal in 1837, that’s used for all their gins.

 “Here, we follow traditional distillation methods. All the aromatics are added to the alcohol, then we boil everything, which allows us to extract all the flavours and oils we need to produce a balanced gin with exceptional roundness.”

 

- Virgil Demers, cofounder of Lore & Legends Distillery

He also showed me their Spanish stills, in which local wheat, malt and corn are combined to create the base alcohol for their gin—a process that can take over a month.

Virgil then brought me to see the different barrels used to age their Réserve Saint-Antoine gin, among others. “The flavours meld together in the casks, the product ages, and the impurities dissipate,” he said, adding that their barrels come from many different places around the world, particularly Europe and the U.S.

Made with apples from the Saint-Antoine cider house and aged for six months in Chardonnay casks, Réserve Saint-Antoine is a hybrid gin with a buttery, vegetal flavour and comforting notes of apple.

Premium products

What’s truly appealing about Lore & Legends is the diversity of its products. From their classic London Dry Gin to the wholly original Grande Menthe Boréale, there’s something for everyone.

Their European-inspired London Dry Gin won gold at the Coupe des Nations event and the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition in 2023, and at the New York International Spirits Competition in 2022

While I adored tasting all their products, I did have a soft spot for the Grande Menthe Boréale, made with aromatics from Quebec. The mint, freshly picked from Virgil and Martin’s gardens, is elevated by Labrador tea and balsam fir from northern Quebec. 

I was also delighted by the carefully designed and timeless look of the Lore & Legends bottles. You can peek the sea through the glass, which recalls a world filled with pirates and buccaneers. Virgil let me in on a little secret—if you line up several bottles one next to the other, you can read the names vertically, like books on a shelf. 

One thing’s for sure—I look forward to the next chapter in the Lore & Legends story.

Distillerie Lore & Legends

8780 boulevard Guillaume-Couture
Lévis QC G6V 9G9

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