Scents are by far the best way to recall a place, a feeling, a person. We use them to seduce, lure or simply to feel good. I used to wear them according to my mood or to the season, whereby violet is recalling of warm Winter sweaters, bergamot of first short sleeve shirts in Spring and citrus fruits of fresh summer wind. Among the five senses, smell is the one that can turn your memories into the brightest and most vivid images, almost-as-real setting of people, landscapes and actions.
You can bring back any souvenirs of Tuscany, but nothing will be as evocative as the fragrance of its genuine food, the essence of wild herbs and flowers in the air, the sea breeze, and indelible, blissful moments. With this idea in his mind, Guido came back from a trip to Elba, determined to start up his own cosmetics company, with one and only purpose in his mind: allowing his customers to bring back the scent of Tuscany home. We refer to perfumes as a French creation, yet an Italian and an authentic Tuscan princess, Caterina dei Medici, was the one to launch this fashion when moving with her court to Paris in the XIV. Not only had she dragged along all her master chefs from Florence but also her perfumers Renato or so-called "Réné the Nose".
Tuscany, indeed, has a long tradition in perfumes and essences, which dates back to the skillful work of monks and pharmacists. He had not studied chemistry, but had a particular sensitivity for genuine smells and fragrances, the precious sensations of an authentic untouched environment.
Unfortunately, this story has a sad outcome because Guido could not live through his life to see how far his son would bring his dreams. He was somehow lunatic, as his son Egisto would describe him, but a sort of unconscious rationale drove him to take extreme decisions, such as the one to send Egisto to New York to raise his brand new sale office. He was only 16 years old, knew no language and had no idea of what he was going to do. Anybody would be crazy to hand such a big responsibility to a teenager, but he was sure that his son could “somehow” make it through. After five years of struggle, pain and suffering Egisto was born a new man, grown up in experience, knowledge and self-consciousness. That was the time, when Guido left him alone, unexpectedly…
Egisto is a very charming, young men, with a witty look and very gentle manners. Before starting our conversation he ushered me to the meeting room, which is a bit of a 1960's beauty salon, an old Tuscan pharmacy and a tea room with a large table and a pianoforte in the corner. After offering me an infusion we are ready to talk and to try out his cosmetics. When I asked him which was the most important teaching he received from his dad, he looked a bit taken aback, as if I was invading his more intimate feelings, but soon he reacted, proud to say that his dad had thought him to never give up, but to believe in your capacities and pursue your dreams, but mostly he was the one to support him, when nobody, even himself was persuaded in his goals.
What came after was a sort of sensorial session where each selection of products had a special story. The olive oil complex, made with Tuscan extra virgin olive oil for any type of skin and the royal red grapes cosmetics, a triumph of Tuscanicity, up to the Powder of Siena perfume, to travel with your nose, without taking a move, are just some of the forte at Erbario Toscano. This small, family run company, is today one of the biggest brands in natural cosmetics not only in Italy, but in the world, with boutiques scattered all around and luxury hotels offering their amenities.
Production is still made in small workshops in Tuscany, rather than in big cosmetic factories, to enhance the work of men rather than machines. Come and see! Egisto will be happy to welcome visitors in his scented realm and to share his story, which was written by fate.
Further information: www.erbariotoscano.com