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It’s All in the Nose . . . From Wine Scented Perfume to Wine Scenting Robots!

Has the world gone mad? Not necessarily so. Ginestet has launched the sale of 3 perfumes very successfully. This all came about when Christian Delpeuch the Managing Director of Ginestet Wine Merchants in Bordeaux met Gilles Toledano, Perfumier of Florescence Perfume in Grâves.

They discovered that their respective professions and passions held a lot in common. Both wine and perfume uphold the notion of “terroir”; both need careful harvesting at maturity to gain the optimum quality and final aroma, both use a process of transformation – from grape to wine and from flower petal to essence, both undergo olfactory research, both rely on the oenologist and his nose and both are stringently monitored for health – allergens in perfumes and food safety in wine.

They decided to take 3 major wines from Bordeaux, a dry white wine, a Sauternes and a red, and send them to the Bordeaux Oenology facility in order to discover the primary molecules. The results were then sent to the Florescence Perfumery to create the essence. Three eau de toilettes were made:


“Recalls a great Sauternes in its sparkling, autumnal silk rose. Honey, candied fruits, quince and gingerbread jostle and whisper sweet nothings”

Le Boisé

“Pays homage to the oak and that combination of matter, skill and know-how. The light vanilla touch of the oak delicately melds with the finest of spices.”


“Grapefruit, white peach and box tree aromas.”

The perfumes are faithful to Bordeaux wine in that Sauvignonne has light green tints typical of a dry white wine. Botrytis is slightly amber in colour similar to that of a Sauternes and Le Boisé is sold in a tinted bottle.

I wonder what the “Cybernose” would make if it? Cybernose is an invention by scientists from Australia’s federal government science and technology research organisation (CSIRO). It uses drosophila (fruit flys) and nematode (microscopic worms) genes to mimic that organism’s keen sense of smell.

Both these creatures are finely tuned to pick out odours in fermentation, the fruit fly lays its eggs on fruit and the nematodes live on bacteria in compost and soil.

The sensitive Cybernose will mimic the action of protein receptors at the front of the nose, which humans and mammals use to detect smell. It is being developed for viticulture where the ability to measure flavour depends on identifying which chemical molecules are present in grapes and wine.

Stephen Trowell, the lead researcher says;

“These chemicals arise naturally, they come from the grapes themselves, they are released during the fermentation process and also during the aging process. They are volatile – which means small amounts of them evaporate into the air above the wine.

This will measure, right from the start, the entire process, as it’s harvested, crushed and fermented.”

Not only am I slightly affronted at having my noble hooter compared to that of a fly or a worm it worries me that the aroma in wine means different things to us fellow creatures. I have no urge to lay eggs on fruit or hunt out decaying vegetable matter.

It worries me further that our precious individuality may succumb to a new generic law dictated by machines. Our sense of smell is particular to own developed tastes and that’s how our wine should be. Chosen by an individual for its own individuality.

If you would like to smell lots of fruit “on the nose” try our Clairet du Chateau de Lisennes – it has bags of both on the nose and in the mouth- a great summer/BBQ wine!

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com and www.yotophoto.com

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