The Animals Observatory day out in Empordà


3 minute read

Words by The Animals Observatory | Jun 26, 2023

Did you know that some experts in olfaction anthropology claim that we could understand each other better if we took the time to smell each other the first time we met? Did you know that the essence of nature can be captured into a tiny bottle? These and many other learnings took place at The Animals Observatory day out.

Just a few days ago, The Animals Observatory team made a very special trip to Albera mountains, in Alt Empordà, one of Laia Aguilar’s (Creative Director at The Animals Observatory) favorite environments, close to the French border. The aim of that day was none other than to spend some time together as a team. It was a good opportunity to get to know each other better, while having a good time in such a privileged environment as the nature of a mountain range that is also next to the coast.

We spent the morning exploring the surrounding area next to Mas Flequer, a country house in a little town called Cantallops which is also included in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia (Spain). There we met Ernesto Collado, founder of Bravanariz, a company devoted to creating natural perfumes, using local and seasonal raw material, the plants and flowers one can find in these natural environments.

Harvesting together

Once used to being surrounded by such spectacular views, we could learn about the power of the scents, the role they play in the ecosystem’s balance ─like the pheromones that the bees release in order to mate─ and even about how humans can connect with each other depending on their natural scents and the chemistry that this can generate between two or more individuals.

Then it was time to translate theory into practice, the joint effort of harvesting the flowers that were naturally present in Empordà at this time of the year. What a beautiful way of getting to know each other better while picking wild flowers together with the common goal of creating something as nice as a natural perfume.

Of course, we were provided with all the necessary tools. Not only did we get some useful pruning shears for flowers, but we also got some stylish big baskets to put on our harvest. Among other plants, we collected wild lavender, fennel, Spanish broom, and even the Italian strawflower, which interestingly kind of smelled like curry. To liven up the activity a bit, we also did a short hike to a nearby small hill. It’s worth saying that we had a great time discovering new scents altogether.

Passing the smell test

After that came the magic! We felt like real alchemists while mixing all the plants in a hot brew with an alembic that would do the rest of the work, distilling the perfumes. It was a matter of a few hours.

So what were we going to do with that extra time? A well-deserved whole meal for the lot of us! That was another nice opportunity to chat and bond, to learn about each other’s experiences, dreams and ideas; all in front of homemade hummus, and curry (nice, taking into account that the Italian strawflower smelled kind of like it), and more tasty food, alll paired with local wine. The dessert was Poire au vin, a typical recipe in France and the north of Spain.

The only thing left to do was to pick up our perfume bottles, which we did and took home for us. The setting, the food, the perfume, it all was a magical experience that really sparked our senses, but the most important experience was to have some quality time with our colleagues. The Animals Observatory is an innovative brand that needs to set an environment full of cohesion and good vibes, and so this day out together was the perfect opportunity to enhance this kind of work synergies.

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