The San Giorgio, Mykonos

As the summer holidays are fast approaching, and I’m about to fly off to Santorini in a few days, I wanted to take you on a journey around Greece over the next few weeks to discover its perfumes. So, as an introduction to our trip in the Mediterranean, I am going to tell you about a hotel where I stayed last year and which still remains one of my favorite places; the San Giorgio in Mykonos.

I’m sure many of you have already heard about this hotel, but if you have not had the chance to stay there, you have most certainly seen countless photos of its interior around the web.

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The Ylang Ylang of Comoros

Off the coast of southern Africa, the Comoros archipelago stretches its high reliefs above the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Its tropical islands host an exceptional fauna and flora on which reigns a flower with a golden color. It is called ylang ylang, meaning the flower of flowers. She has had the pride of place in perfumes for a long time. Once distilled, its fragrance is found in more than 300 bottles from the most prestigious workshops on the planet. It is one of the most widely used raw materials in luxury perfumery.

Yet, this precious essence is in trouble. Inherited from the colonial past, production techniques are now outdated and difficult to renew. In this country, ranked among the poorest in the world, international perfumers and local NGOs are working together to rebuild an exceptional sector that benefits all; with creators from the north and producers from the south.

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The Tonka bean of Venezuela

Hot, gourmand, vanilla… the adjectives struggle to describe the enchanting scent of the tonka bean, one of the most precious natural ingredients of luxury perfumery. This heady almond comes from the fruit that produces a tropical tree, which grows only in South America: the Cumaru. The tonka bean is a rare raw material whose aromatic richness has captivated great perfumers for over a century.

The most sought-after tonka bean is found in a remote area of Venezuela, where the harvest season is expected every year with apprehension, because the plant is capricious, and no one can predict whether from one year to another the harvest will keep its promises. The tonka bean is today not only an economic issue, but also an environmental issue in this region of the world where the extraction of gold and the exploitation of wood are often more valuable than the delicate perfume of an almond.

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The Sandalwood of New Caledonia

New Caledonia is one of the places in the world where the natural environment is still remarkably preserved. The archipelago has been classified as a hot spot of biodiversity, due to the richness, the originality and above all the exceptional endemism of its plant species. Of all the species that naturally develop here, there is one that has accompanied and inspired men since the dawn of time: sandalwood.

The wood of this small tree is now one of the most expensive in the world. Associated with many traditional religious practices, its perfume has always attracted such fervor that it is now on the list of species threatened with extinction in several regions of the globe. Here a real renaissance is going on, around the safeguarding of sandalwood, two universes that were once divided have now joined to work together. A Kanak engineer, convinced that a responsible exploitation of this natural resource is the best chance of saving the species, and creators of fine perfumery, anxious to be able to preserve, on their palette, the unique notes of a fundamental ingredient.

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