Saint Emilion has its own scent . . . literally. Alienor de Malet Roquefort has created Eau de Saint Emilion a delicate perfume that is said to capture the soul of Saint Emilion – its rich history, the aroma of roses, the purity of the ancient limestone and its ancient wine making heritage. Alienor comes from the great wine making dynasty that own First Growth Chateau La Gaffeliere, Chapelle d'Alienor and Chateau Armens. The Malet Roqueforts are one of the oldest families in Saint Emilion, having lived there since the 16th century.
Alienor was inspired to create her perfume in 2005. She says that she has always been sensitive to smells; wine has its own bouquet, as does perfume. Creating a perfume follows similar principles to that of wine making. Both wine and perfume making use a process of transformation – from grape to wine and from flower petal to essence and both rely on the oenologist and their 'nose'.
Eau de Saint Emilion was developed in close collaboration with an expert perfumier in Grasse (which is famous for its perfume industry). The perfume is bottled in Saint Emilion itself. The Eau de Saint Emilion perfume range consists of 4 fragrances: Vert Frais, Fleuri, Fruité and Boisé; Arômes de Saint Emilion for men, and also includes scented soaps room sprays and candles.
There are other perfumes that are made by chateaux owners, notably Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte founded Caudalie, which has a range of perfumes inspired by the fragrance of the grape flowers and vines: Fleur de Vigne, Zeste de Vigne, Thé de Vigne and Figue de Vigne. Ginestet, part of the Taillan Group that own several well known chateaux across Bordeaux (Citran, Gruaud Larose, Broustet, Haut Bages Liberal, Chasse Speen) have 3 perfumes inspired by wines: Sauvignonne, Botrytis and Le Boisé.
However Eau de Saint Emilion is unique in that its intent is to express the spirit of Saint Emilion itself. It's a lovely concept and if you'd like to try it for yourself Alienor's range is available at eau-de-saint-emilion.fr and also at the Tourist Office in Saint Emilion boutique.tourisme-saint-emilion.com.