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A homage to John Willie’s Sweet Gwendoline

For the LA launch of Sweet Gwendoline French Gin, we recreated our immersive tasting experience for the bartending community.

Our host Dita Von Teese curated modern representations of characters inspired by the playfully risqué world of John Willie’s Sweet Gwendoline.

In their own sweet way, each one sensually represented our deliciously perfumed gin while paying homage to John Willie’s iconic, powerful characters.

It was a steamy night of whip-cracking glamour, knots, blindfolds, and skyscraper heels.

Thank you to everyone who came, and our glamorous cast @toscacyr, @geeawwnuh, @asapstormborn, @sunsetboulevardier, @frankiefictitious, @annetothelisa, @juliobyme, and @lisamasonlee.

Big thanks to #jimweathers and #iralevine

 

Photography @madelinenorthway

Filming @eyecanbomb

Makeup @gregoryarlt

Hair @hisvintagetouch

Thanks to @novacancyla for the amazing space!

Bottoms Up!

Add a French Gin to your collection, and have a bottle delivered directly to your door.


 

 

Blindfolds and figs…

We’re back from our recent trip to Chicago and our latest “Delight & Bewitch” event held at The Revel Room in Wicker Park.

80+ industry folks enjoyed a Dominatrix-led session during which they were blindfolded.

Being deprived of their sense of sight elevated their sense of taste and the ability to better enjoy Sweet Gwendoline French Gin with more focus and awareness, free from distraction.

Whilst adhering to a strictly instructed set of tasks involving figs, ticklers, and candles, guests listened intently as we talked them through the details of our gin, from the copper stills used in its production to the maceration of the fig and its botanicals: juniper, angelica seed, cardamom, coriander, lime, and sweet orange.

It’s a sensory experience and nothing like the usual sampling event…

If you ever get the chance to join one of our sessions, please do.

   

Guests included the owners and bartenders from Mother’s Ruin —its sister bar in New York City is still one of our all-time favourite* bars and we’re wishing their Chicago venue the same success.

Thanks to our local glamorously risqué team: dominatrix Mistress Sally (@sallymarvel) and Ellis, shibari artists Jorie (@_flesh_hound_) and Brendan (@tied_died), Heartland Kinbaku (@heartlandkinbake), photographer Alejandra Guerrero (@corporatevampire) and our distribution partners Frederick Wildman & Sons for all their work on the event and for taking care of the invites

—it was packed so thank you.

        

        

   

If you see yourself in these photographs, holler!

More posted soon…

Don’t forget to follow us @SweetGwendolineFrenchGin

Bottoms Up! 🍸

Photography: Alejandra Guerrero.

In these photos:

Shaunna McCarthy

Keelan

Katie Renshaw

 

*The Mother’s Ruin stories we could tell

(but won’t)

 

Going Undercover

Growing up in Canada, I wanted to be a spy. As a quiet, serious girl, this was a job that intrigued me because it was bold, dangerous and important. It was also very sexy. James Bond? Sexy. Every single flavor of Bond, from David Niven to Daniel Craig, got my attention. Why couldn’t there be a Jane Bond? I wanted to be mysterious and sexy; a spy on a mission. My name, Jane Boon, is only one letter away. Couldn’t that be a sign?

Beyond the perfection of John Willie’s drawings and his decadent imagination, I adored his mysterious character Undercover Agent U69. She was a spy par excellence, and perfectly primed for my espionage fantasies. She took down evil-doers while looking smashing in a pair of form-fitting Hermès jodhpurs and laced-up black boots with impossibly high heels. For all her physical courage, U69 was gentle with Sweet Gwendoline, and she never lost her sense of humor, no matter how hapless Gwen could be.

In addition to her glamor and her sharp brown bob, I appreciated U69’s technical skills. She always had the right tools for the job – a lock pick hidden in her heel, a piece of wire tucked in her boot, a Morgan convertible fast enough to make a getaway as her hair streamed behind her. She was the best escape artist in the service, meaning ropes could not hold her back. And when she tied Gwen up, Gwen just jiggled and wriggled, helpless. I’ve tied a few knots in my day and gotten out of some binds myself (in the interest of fun, of course), so this is knowledge U69 and I share.

What I also appreciate about U69 is her ambiguity. She had few qualms about leaving Gwen bound in some impossible position as a lure for Sir Dystic D’Arcy. She helped Gwen, certainly, as they dealt with their common enemy, the Countess. But who did U69 work for, really? What was her agenda? The spy kept secrets, and I respect that.

I wound up becoming an engineer – the kind who coaxes numbers to spill their secrets – and then a writer, but those early spy fantasies persist. Usually, I imagine sitting at an elegant bar, looking chic in corporate drag. It’s always a sharp navy suit, think pencil skirt and a jacket with a nipped-in waist, probably by Alexander McQueen. It’s a look that says head of sales at some pharmaceutical company or managing director at an investment bank, far from my typical disguise of business casual.

In this imaginary bar, I’d discreetly take in the scene while balanced on the barstool, black patent Louboutin pump dangling casually from my toe. In a nod to James Bond, I’d order a martini, only mine would be made of Sweet Gwendoline French Gin, just to show the old boys this girl has some fresh moves of her own. I’d take small sips of my cold, delicious cocktail, and wait.

The spy quietly nursing her drink at the bar knows the stories of everyone around her – who they are, and why they’re there. The guy with the brown hair and red face hitting on the bartender, works for the World Bank and he gossips. The pretty blonde in the green dress is an executive at a consulting company with clients in some very dark corners of the world. She’s having an affair with the CEO of a local software company and he is late. The mousy fellow in the grey suit, slumped to the side and nursing his scotch, is a grumpy diplomat desperate for attention. I’d sip my gin, savoring its flavor on my tongue and in my throat, as I decided how best to approach my target.

Once I was ready, I’d gently grasp my martini glass, hop down off my barstool and make my move.

“You deserve better,” I’d say to my target, the pretty blonde. In my imagination, she’d look at me, with the wide, hopeful eyes of a Gwendoline. “Can I buy you a drink?”

A spy’s job is about seduction and in my fantasies, I succeed, just like U69. I’d signal to the bartender as I gave my target my most winning smile, “A gin martini for the lady.”

John Willie’s women were glamorous, brave, and there was a frankness and humor to their sexuality. They were thoroughly modern, even as their waists were cinched tight in corsets. From the Countess and her maids, to U69, and even Sweet Gwendoline herself, Willie’s women took risks as they took charge. These damsels made things happen.

It’s time that James made way for Jane, otherwise she might tie him down and put a gag in his mouth. Bond no longer has a monopoly on strategic cocktail seduction. Women like U69 are going undercover and we are changing the world.

Illustration by Dirk Hooper (Twitter/IG: @dirkhooper)

Jane Boon lives in New York City with her husband, Norm Pearlstine. She studied technology and policy at MIT and later received a Ph.D. in industrial engineering. Jane has written for publications like The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Time.com, McSweeneys.net, and TravelandLeisure.com. She enjoys improv and playing dress up, including the time she wore a corset, garters and thigh-high stockings as a dominatrix in the Fox TV series, Gotham. Jane is the author of the Regan Arts novel EDGE PLAY; the 2021 recipient of the Pauline Réage Novel Award for erotic fiction from the NLA.

Twitter: @JaneEBoon

Instagram: @JaneEBoon

JaneBoon.com

A night of latex, leather & figs

We’ve just held our first, private event for the fetish community in New York City.

Our event host, Lucy Sweetkill, created a unique sensory experience exclusively for her guests.

They were blindfolded for a heightened taste-discovery, and then led through a strictly instructed series of sensory tasks; all with the intent of aiding their exploration of our unique flavor profile:

French gin infused with fig and botanicals:

juniper, cardamom, coriander, lime, sweet orange and angelica, with a soft finish with white wine added after distillation.

The event theme was glamorously risqué so guests dressed playfully. 

Amidst the leather and latex they enjoyed signature Sweet Gwendoline French Gin cocktails: The Provocateur, Delight and Bewitch and Sweet G & T, and a mocktail, Strawberry Blonde. 

As an homage to the fetish artistry of John Willie and his wife and muse Holly Anna Faram, the night was based on the aesthetic of his publishing project: BIZARRE magazine, and menus, postcards and posters all featured his illustrations. 

The seductive red lights were turned down, an ethereal playlist filled the room, and the night unfolded…

Thanks to @Lucy.Sweetkill and her team for hosting and bottoms up! to all who attended.

Follow us on Instagram for more photos soon…@sweetgwendolinefrenchgin 

Our mistress and host @lucy.sweetkill Photography by Natasha Gornik @natashagornik

Our Delight and Bewitch host @lucy.sweetkill

📸 Photography by Natasha Gornik @natashagornik