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the Busnel story

Until the beginning of the 19th century, Calvados was a local alcohol produced at farms and mainly destined for family consumption.

Ernest Busnel, founder of the first major Calvados House in Normandy

1820, the young Ernest Busnel settles with his family in the heart of the Pays d’Auge, in Pont l’Evêque. He joins forces with Mrs. Quetel who selects at Auge farms the eau de vie that they will mature in their cellars. Thus, we assist in a triple emergence: emergence  of love for the countryside, emergence of passion for the Apple and the emergence of a Calvados that will become BUSNEL.

The son of Ernest, Georges Busnel marries the niece of Widow Quétel, Lucie, and will later give his name to the house and the brand. Perfectionist, demanding, Georges is attentive to the apple selection. “No good Calvados without good apples” he said in 1902. Day after day, he carefully monitors the delicate elaboration of Calvados and treads across the Normandy countryside in search of new eau-de-vie. The story says that to perfect his blends, Georges combines up to twelve eau-de-vie of different ages.

Label Calvados Busnel 42°

1906,  Georges has a son Pierre. Is it the farm visits? The flavor of the apples that enchanted his father? The fact remains that Pierre also gets the Calvados virus. Very early, he is fascinated and demonstrates an exceptional skill. In turn, Pierre, trained at the distillery, joins forces with his father in 1927, and takes charge of the destiny of the House which becomes “Busnel Père et Fils”.

Calvados Busnel, Grand Prix,  Rouen Tradeshow 1930

At the beginning of the 20th century, the production increases and Busnel benefits from a growing reputation. The Calvados Busnel is sold across France, and mainly in Paris and Rouen.

1938, the Distillerie Busnel in Pont l’Evêque achieves recognition: it becomes the exclusive supplier of the mythic trans-Atlantic Queen Mary thanks to its Calvados “Grand Cru Pré Neuf”. Already a major national brand, the bottles of Calvados Busnel will cross the Atlantic for the American market.

The second world war and the bombings of June 6th, 1944 don’t spare the distillery: all the installations are destroyed. They will be re-built and the new distillery opens its doors in 1952.

In 1960, Busnel reiterates the success known in the 30’s and becomes an official supplier of France.

The cellars of the Distillerie Busnel in Cormeilles, town typical of Normandy

70’s at the end of the 70’s, the Distillerie Busnel expands and moves to Cormeilles into the buildings of the Big Cider-Works that have existed at the entrance to the typical Normandy village since 1910.

Today at Busnel, time is an irreplaceable ally recognized for its value. It has allowed, for 4 generations, the creation of Calvados of great tradition. Today the Master Cellar at the Distillerie Busnel is the holder of this know-how and continues the tradition….