Azzaro: in Tunisia, meet the best of perfume

Unexpectedly, the scent of the orange blossom quickly brought us to the other side of the Mediterranean, where it was brought to France in the 17th century by Louis XIV. The king was victorious, the palace was built at Versailles. For its new fragrance, Wanted Girl, the house of Azzaro went to find the essence of the flower in Tunisia.

“This country is the biggest producer in the world,” explained Dominique Ropion, the perfumer. Thanks to its semi-arid nature, the products are excellent. This fragrance is an important part of Wanted Girl, a floral, gustatory and structured fragrance, with its woody notes. »

North Nabeul, 70 miles south of Tunis. In the country, every citizen has his orange trees, because the flowers are selling, the price of the price is according to supply and demand (5 euros on average per kilo) , giving them additional income. The family farm of Mr. Belkhodja covers more than 23 hectares. Here, we grow the bitter orange tree, different types of orange trees. Among the trees, in small and regular times, to limit their growth and easy to harvest, one hundred women collect 12 kilos of flowers a day. This year, heavy rains in April delayed harvesting by two weeks.

A simple selection of flowers

With a hat on the head and equipped with gloves, the pickers start their day at 7 am, to avoid the extreme heat. They will carefully select the flowers before placing the nets placed under the trees. These are filtered and put into hessian bags which are taken, at the end of the day, to the distillation plant, not far from there.

As they keep coming and going, the cars open up the plants there. The contents of the bags are separated on the ground using a rake, an important step to prevent the petals from fermenting. The smell is heady.

Then begins the distillation (separation of waters by boiling): the flowers are placed in a tank, a stainless steel tank filled with water at 100°C. This produces orange blossom water, used for food, and neroli, an essential oil used in the development of perfumes. 1 ton of flowers takes 1 kg of neroli. Nectar can take the path of Grasse, in Provence, the world capital of spices.

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