Spirit Of The Week: Pegasus Distillerie Shooting Star Vodka

Thanks in part to being flavored by a 22-pound meteorite, this otherworldly vodka possesses “extraordinary flavor and texture.”

(Pegasus Distillerie)

A third-generation vintner from Meursault, France, Maxime Girardin skipped on following precisely in his family’s footsteps because he found the world of winemaking creatively limiting. Instead, the young entrepreneur opted to deviate slightly from fermented juice to the distilled, opening up Pegasus Distillerie in his Burgundy homeland in 2021. 

“Like my relatives before me, I draw inspiration from a deep love and respect for nature and specifically Burgundy’s rich terroir,” explains the ambitious label head. “I didn’t go into wine because I didn’t feel as though there was enough freedom to create something new. But from Burgundy’s spring-fed water and nutrient-rich soil to the organic and hand-selected citruses and botanicals we use, my biggest muse is and will always be nature’s grandeur.”

Using only grains, fruits and other produce sourced from France and Switzerland, the 28-year-old quickly developed a varied portfolio consisting of vodkas, gins and liqueurs such as a Eau d’Or Liqueur—a spirit dating back to Louis the XIV crafted from citrus like orange and lemons, cane sugar and orange blossoms. 

“Transparency is my north star, something that I am really passionate about and that differentiates us in the market. I was raised with quality ingredients being key, so everything we produce is created from organic products—and we control everything in the process from A to Z. We have 100-percent traceability.”

Of their portfolio, Shooting Star Vodka is arguably one of the more intriguing vodkas in recent memory. Beginning with organic wheat culled from French farms, all Pegasus vodkas undergo several rounds of distillation using a new iStill technology to create the perfect combination of structure and flavor precision. Employed for the first time in France, the slow reflux iStills perform multiple distillations in a single pass—the result being its three distillations equal more than 10 classic distillations, creating a very clean final spirit. 

The vodka is then slowly reduced over a month-long period with pure spring water sourced from a spring 500 feet below the Pegasus Distillerie. The mineral-rich water then returns some of the esoteric elements lost in the multiple distillations. 

Finally, Pegasus ages the new spirit in clay jars—a process often used in mezcal to settle, clean and age the spirit without the influence of wood. For the Shooting Star expression, Pegasus then added a special twist that “allows consumers to taste outer space!” Girardin enthuses excitedly. 

What they did was purchase a 22-pound meteorite found in Nebraska in the 1970s, and placed the soccer ball-sized space stone in the jars for the vodka to sit in for over a year, which Girardin vows imparts “extraordinary flavor and texture to the vodka.” 

(Pegasus Distillerie)

As he notes: “The presence of ordinary chondrite in the cold infusion process—a material unique to meteorites and one of the most primitive and unaltered stony materials in the solar system—provides a unique mineral flavor that complements the existing smooth and refined texture that characterizes our vodkas.”  

The year-long sabbatical soaking in the clay jars allows Pegasus “to use oxygen as a binder between the vodka and the minerals dissolved from the meteorite, and it gives it a fresh and round mouthfeel with a unique sweet note.”

The problem with over-distilled spirits is normally they lose all unique flavor notes to the still, opting for purity over taste. We can attest Shooting Star avoids this pitfall, as the vodka offers rich minerality and a bigger body that offsets the arguable over-purification. While the process may seem gimmicky, the results speak for themselves. 

Of all their expressions, Girardin believes Shooting Star best encapsulates his goals with the young label. “The Pegasus branding has different origins: my passion for horses since I was a kid, a deep love and admiration for the night sky brimming with stars, which I was struck by in my time volunteering in Africa, and my love for flying planes, which I do whenever I can since I was 13,” Girardin reveals. “I wanted to bottle the boundless feeling of reaching for the stars, and Pegasus seemed to encapsulate it all.”

Last month Girardin announced none other than Emilia Clarke has been tapped as Global Brand Ambassador to spread the ethos of Pegasus Distillerie worldwide. You know, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Breaker of Chains, etc.  

(Pegasus Distillerie)

Widely known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game Of Thrones, as well as classic characters in the Terminator and Star Wars universes, acquiring a sophisticated, widely loved actor seems a huge get for the nascent distillery.

“I see her as a kindred spirit; she fully embodies Pegasus’ core values of savoring life while creating lasting memories; she is someone who is extremely talented, elegant, tenacious and full of life that we look up to,” Girardin explains. He highlights Clarke’s attention to detail, artistic dedication and perhaps most importantly, shared passion for the craft. 

“Our goal is to strive for excellence and to inspire people to savor their sips and their memories with loved ones—and this is a vision we share with Emilia. I am so excited to have her as a partner and I look forward to seeing all the creative ideas we have come to life in creating premium, innovative elixirs to be enjoyed in shared moments of wonder.” 

“As an actress, I pour my all into my craft, and Pegasus lends similar care and attention to detail into every bottle they produce,” Clarke shared when they announced her new position. “Craftsmanship and human connection have always been of paramount importance to me.”

Only 4,806 bottles of Pegasus Distillerie Shooting Star Vodka are now available worldwide for $200.

Follow Deputy Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.