Maille (company)

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Maille is a brand of mustards, cornichons, stoneware, salad dressings, kitchen gifts and oils which originated in Marseille, France in 1723. Today the company is a subsidiary of multinational consumer goods company Unilever. There are Maille boutiques around the world in Dijon, Paris, London, New York, and Bordeaux.


1720-1800: Establishment of Maille and Building a Royal Following[1][edit]

Antoine-Claude Maille (father), distiller and vinegar-maker, lives in Paris in 1720. He discovers the amazing properties of vinegar and invents the “Vinegar of the Four Thieves” to save the inhabitants of Marseille from the ravages of the plague. His advice was to swallow a teaspoonful in a glass of water and rub it into the temples and palms of the hand. By 1742, Antoine-Claude Maille’s son, also called Antoine-Claude, is registered as master vinegar-maker and pays his “union dues”. In 1747, the sudden celebrity enables Antoine-Claude Maille (son) to market his rich range of aromatic mustards. He opens his first boutique on the rue Saint-André des Arts in Paris and becomes official supplier to the court of Louis XV. La Maison Maille is established.

Once established, Maille gains a royal following. In 1752, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV and neighbor near rue St-André des Arts, becomes a loyal customer (apart from The Queen’s Vinegar) and by 1760 Antoine-Claude Maille is named official supplier to the courts of Austria and Hungary and opens a main shop on the Versaille Road. In 1769, King Louis XVl grants Antoine-Claude Maille the license as “ordinary distiller-vinegar-maker”—ordinary meaning every day, not just on special occasions. Maille is granted charter as distiller-vinegar-maker to Empress Catherine II of Russia in 1771.

1801-1900: Death of Antoine-Claude Maille and Dijon Boutique[edit]

After the death of Antoine-Claude Maille (son) in 1804, his heirs inherited 20 flavors of mustards and 50 different vinegars. Maille had sold his business in 1800 to his associate André-Arnoult Acloque. Lawyer and gastronomic commentator, Grimod de la Reynière commented in 1805, "Amongst M. Maille’s vinegars is one which gives back to women something which up until then they could only lose once."

By 1819, Maille’s son Robert comes of age and replaces his capital sum payment with a contract of association with M. Alcoque’s son Andre-Gabriel. In 1821, Maille and Alcoque appointed distillers to the King and sole suppliers to the house of King Louis XVIII. In 1826, Maille becomes vinegar-maker to Charles X, supplier to the King of England in 1830, and in 1836, vinegar-maker to King Louis-Philippe. Maille enters into partnership with Robillard, and in the following year Alcoque sells his share back to Maille.

The first Maille boutique opens in 1845 in the heart of the Burgundy region, the home of Dijon mustard and today still welcomes food-lovers from around the world.[2] In 1866, Louis Pasteur discovers the bacterium responsible for fermentation. He finds that air should be kept from fermenting wine, but is necessary for the production of vinegar. In the presence of oxygen, yeasts and bacteria break down alcohol into acetic acid, the chemical name for vinegar. Until then it was not known that vinegar resulted from exposing wine to air and it was believed to be a chemical process.

1901-2000: Slogan, Paris Boutique, and 250th Anniversary[edit]

Maille was purchased by entrepreneur Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1930. In 1931, Jean Herbout creates their famous slogan which is well-known in France « Il n’y a que Maille qui m’aille », "Maille alone suits me". It was created in response to competition in the market, particularly as competition for Savora, a flour-based product used in sauces. In 1936 Herbout advertised the brand by spelling out the word ‘MAILLE’ in bright lights on the roofs of Parisian buildings at night time. This scene was captured on screen in an advert shown in cinemas called “Quand on en a Pas.” The onset of WWII brought an end to such advertising campaigns, however.

The creation of the first Maille whisky glass starts in 1988. Named “Flamenco” it sells almost 8 million glasses per year. The following year in 1989, the creation of the trademark Maille jar named “Fleur de Lys” (the lily emblem particularly associated with the French monarchy) is produced not just in stoneware but also in glass with a lid. In 1991 Maille, starts to sell 50cl bottles of balsamic vinegar in European supermarkets, focusing on the growing market for fine dining and luxury household condiments.

In 1996, they celebrate the 250th anniversary of the opening of the first boutique on Paris' Rue St André des Arts in 1747. They open a Maille boutique on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris—the “quartier” of the most exclusive food purveyors. As well as a wide range of mustards, oils and vinegars, it also sells mustard freshly served from the pump.[3]

Maille is sold to Paribas Affaires Industrielles in 1997. In 1998, advertising director Charlie Stebbings created a television advert for Maille that featured a signature theme tune and the inclusion of the Maille wooden gift box. A similar advert for Maille olive oil is launched in 1999 and is bought by multinational consumer goods company Unilever in 2000.

2001-Present: Online Boutique and International Expansion[edit]

In 2007, Maille launches its boutique online in France to sell the exclusive products found in the boutiques in Paris and Dijon. Maille begins diversifying its product development and in 2011 new products are introduced: the smooth Dijon mustard with Chablis "1747", the Modena balsamic vinegar, aged for three years in oak casks and the irresistible black truffle mustard served on tap.

In 2013, Maille opens a pop-up boutique in Old Spitalfields Market in London where food-lovers flocked for special tastings. Its success led to another pop-up in March 2013 to launch “Le Drunch” (a cross between lunch and dinner) in partnership with chef Hélène Darroze, who created a series of imaginative dishes based on Maille products. Due to the success of the pop-up boutiques La Maison Maille establishes its first boutique outside France on London’s Piccadilly, the first in the UK.[4]

In December 2014, Maille opens their first boutique in the USA in New York City's Upper West Side and is the first outside of Europe.[5]

In 2015, Maille continues expansion with the opening of their fifth boutique in the Carrousel du Louvre in May. In September, Maille opens their sixth boutique in Bordeaux, France.[6] The same year they expand to more locations in the USA with shop-in-shop boutiques featuring select products in Chicago,[7] Portland,[8] and San Francisco.[9]


La Maison Maille is heir to an enduring legacy left by Antoine-Claude Maille and his 84 sublime mustards and 120 vinegars. Today specialists at La Maison Maille continually explore, select and combine the finest ingredients, creating tastes and textures that result from centuries of expertise. Essential to the finesse and balance of La Maison Maille products are the basic raw ingredients and how they combine with other ingredients. In the heart of Burgundy, the mustard seed ‘brassica juncea’ is selected which offers a high level of pungency and quality of texture, ideal for condiments. The mustard seeds are cultivated to Maille's standards of excellence, with only the best grade selected from its suppliers.

For food connoisseurs, Dijon is synonymous with the finest mustard you can buy. In 1937, Dijon was granted the right to an Appellation Controlee, subjecting it to regulations similar to high quality regional wines. Mustard must be made in the prescribed method for it to be called a Dijon mustard.

Crucial to the character of La Maison Maille's vinegar range is the quality of the base wines used, with particular characteristics sought for individual vinegars. The base wines are tasted and selected by a panel of experts, recognizing that a good quality base wine will result in a high quality vinegar. The quality of the vinegars added to the mustard seed during the process is of utmost importance and these vinegars are made on La Maison Maille premises. La Maison Maille maintains its reputation for producing an extraordinary range of condiments, featuring unexpected ingredients, such as mango, red berries, tarragon and Cognac. Many of these depend not only on the ingredients themselves but also the way they are combined in secret recipes developed over many years.

In 1996, Maille introduced limited-edition mustards delivered on tap from porcelain pumps, each based on a signature ingredient such as Chablis. Especially sought after is the Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard served in sandstone jars, available only when in season. In the run-up to Christmas, the arrival in La Maison Maille boutiques of freshly pumped truffle mustard has excited queues of discerning food lovers, eager to buy a pot for their own table or as a special gift.


Maille has six boutiques around the world: five in Europe and one in North America. There are six shop-in-shop boutiques, three in North America, two in Australia, and one in Europe.


  1. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  2. ^ "La Maison Maille DIJON boutique". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  3. ^ "La Maison Maille PARIS". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  4. ^ "La Maison Maille LONDON Piccadilly". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  5. ^ "La Maison Maille NEW YORK". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  6. ^ "La Maison Maille BORDEAUX". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  7. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Pastoral's Appellation opens today in Andersonville". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  8. ^ "Mustard on tap is a thing now.". Eater Portland. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  9. ^ "La Maison Maille SAN FRANCISCO". Retrieved 2016-03-17.