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The Women Who Have Made Cointreau The Women Who Have Made Cointreau

The Women Who Have Made Cointreau

Our story may have started with Édouard Cointreau, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without ambitious women, from progressive businesswoman Louisa Cointreau in the 19th century, to current Master Distiller Carole Quinton. Cointreau has a proud tradition of partnering with strong women to represent its brand, and encouraging its leaders to explore their creativity, break with conventions, and make their own way in the world.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re honoring two key female figures who have driven Cointreau’s excellence, from its origins through today.

LOUISA MOTAIS COINTREAU - The Humanitarian

LOUISA MOTAIS COINTREAU

LOUISA MOTAIS COINTREAU - The Humanitarian

We like to think of Louisa as the soul of Cointreau. Born in the mid-19th century, she quickly proved she was a woman ahead of her time.  

Equal parts businesswoman and social advocate, she and Édouard, her husband, formed an unstoppable team. While he was refining the House’s specialties and crafting his signature orange liqueur recipe, Louisa focused on international expansion and the human side of the brand. Driven by both altruism and activism, she developed an avant-garde social policy for distillery employees and opened a self-funded hospital to treat wounded soldiers during World War I. And her efforts didn’t go unnoticed: Louisa was Chairwoman of the Union of French Women for 30+ years, and honored with the titles of Knight and later Officer of the French Legion of Honor.

CAROLE QUINTON - The Expert 

CAROLE QUINTON

CAROLE QUINTON - The Expert 

Safeguarding the original characteristics of a 170-year-old liqueur is no small feat. And this is precisely Carole’s role as Cointreau’s Master Distiller. 

The Master Distiller’s responsibilities are numerous: from the selection of raw materials, formulation, and distillation; to sensory analysis, quality control, and communication with the international press, distributors, and mixologists. The first generations of the Cointreau family filled this role for years, but the brand now works with brilliant external talents. Current Master Distiller, Carole Quinton, succeeded another formidable woman, Bernadette Langlais, a perfume aficionado from the time she was a teenage and fittingly "nose" of Cointreau for over 30 years, starting in 1978.

We caught up with Carole recently and chatted her role, love of science, and what being Master Distiller means to her.

Hi, Carole! Let’s jump right in. Master Distiller is a complex role. What does an average day look like?

CQ: There really isn’t one, and I love that about my job! Sometimes I work as an engineer, keeping a close watch on the production settings; sometimes as a craftsman implementing an ancestral ritual; and other times as a perfumer, guided by the olfactory and gustatory notes of the liqueur. I monitor every single step of the process to ensure we’re delivering on Cointreau’s signature balance, authenticity, and aromatic richness.

And how did you get into this field?

CQ: After graduating from the School of Agricultural Studies of Angers, I trained as a plant species selector at the James Hutton Institute in the UK. I then built my entire career in R&D in the spirits sector.

You’re a woman of many talents…! What draws you to Cointreau specifically?

CQ: It’s the pinnacle of balance, authenticity, and aromatic richness. And its recipe has been both preserved and reinvented since its creation in 1875.

Your favorite way to drink Cointreau?

CQ: My first experience with Cointreau was a memorable one! It was on my wedding day actually. My husband is from Angers and he wanted to improvise a Cointreau cocktail for the big day. It was a combination of Cointreau, lemon, and sparkling wine that I’ll never forget. Today, my favorite cocktail is the White Lady. It’s both simple and sophisticated, and really hits the spot after a good meal.

My main goal is to perpetuate the original flavor of Cointreau Liqueur, the one created by Edouard Cointreau. - Carole Quinton

So, they call you “The Nose.” Can you elaborate?

CQ: It’s true! It’s a reference to the perfume industry. We obviously don’t create fragrances, but I use the same methods to select sweet and bitter orange peels and create the highest quality aromas and essences.

Are there many women in your science-driven field? 

CQ: More and more women are becoming Master Distillers or Master Blenders in the whisky and cognac industries, as well as in wine. 

As Master Distiller, I am the guardian angel and the “nose” of Cointreau. I am very proud to be a woman and proud to be in this role, but that’s it. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from — your job is to bring your knowledge of aromas and experience to the creation of the liqueur.

Do you have any real-life heroes?

CQ: Absolutely—I tend to look up to groundbreaking scientists and strong women throughout history. Thomas Pesquet, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Marie Stuart, to name a few. 

What do you hope to be your legacy at Cointreau?

CQ: We celebrated our 170th anniversary last year and I want my legacy to be preparing the House of Cointreau for the next 170 years. We create our product using time-honored methods, and this is really what sets us apart from our competitors. I’m here to ensure that we continue this proud tradition of excellence.