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la Gutina

Musical piece inspired by the sounds and tempos of the harvesting day in La Gutina. Composed and performed by Barbara Van Hoestenberghe specially for BRAVANARIZ.

If you want to listen to it while reading this notebook entry, press play.

This year, spring has come a month early. At the beginning of March, the first Spanish lavender bushes began to flower in La Gutina, taking us all by surprise. Every time I see an alteration of this kind I can’t help but get a bit sad, then sadness turns to anger. Pretty soon they will be making fine wines in Denmark (are we supposed to be pleased about that?). Climate change, for those of us who work on the land, has been a serious problem for years now. It is exasperating to watch the discredited ways of our public institutions and see the lack of concern on the part of the general population, better-informed than ever, but totally unable to respond to the situation.

Yet that is another subject altogether. Let’s return to the spring of 2017, which apart from coming too early was absolutely beautiful. Then, more surprises came our way. The spontaneous ponds in the region were filled to the brim for the first time in forty years. Bárbara and Joan Carles called me with an enthusiastic message: “They’re full! There’s lots of water, Ernesto, come take a look for yourself!” Something spectacular, though in a discreet way, since it made no fuss. That may sound odd, but if some day you could be there when this marvel of nature occurs, for sure you’d grasp what I am getting at. From the very start I knew that here in La Gutina is where we would capture our first CAMÍ. If you want to know the reasons why I am so sure about this, just open the video clip available under this post. But to cut to the point, I will simply say this: the place thrills me. Always.

la Gutina

Just wait until the right moment, when the variety of colors has reached its peak. There is order in the midst of chaos, not everything sprouts at the same time. Spring has its own internal logic in the Empordà region. It all starts with the almond trees in February, leading the change with their white blossoms tinged pink. There is nothing harsh about that white, it recalls the strength in fragility, its incredible power. Then come the modest little blossoms of white wall rocket, besom heath, hawthorn and wild garlic, amongst others. After that, we get yellows and an endless variety of blue and purple tones. Then things really go wild with the poppies, as if the entire landscape were bleeding. The earth’s menstruation. The evidence of fertility. By the time you get here you’ve been left speechless.

It was just at this point that I called my friend Larry, when the Spanish lavender, rosemary and thyme were all flowering, along with the rockrose, sempervivum and wild sage, the thorny broom and the Scotch broom. I wanted him to come see just how over the top spring really was, with its unarguable vitality.

We got there early. It was still cool outside, and we were glad to be wearing gloves, but the light was sharp and clear, which is what usually happens after a few days of tramontana wind. Larry had never been there before, but I knew that this place would not leave him indifferent.

We began our walk at the manor house Can Torras, wandering into the vineyards below near the dolmen at Prat Tancat, and then followed the usual path that runs past the most important megalithic remains on the property . It is hard to believe what incredible botanical variety can be found in such a small area. You had to constantly lift up your gaze to get a look at how wonderful it all was. In general, when I am out gathering alone, I find myself doing this, but this time, looking through Larry’s eyes, I was simply unable to concentrate on what I was supposed to be picking. I immediately understood that a single day would not be enough, I just had to accept it. So I decided to enjoy the walk in the company of my good friend, who still lets himself be surprised by what comes his way, fully aware of just how stunningly overwhelming nature can be.

la Gutina

la Gutina

The path of the gods, that’s what Larry dubbed it, while we thankfully drank some fresh water, there in silence beside the Land Rover, loaded with plants. He was stricken from the start, another one in love with La Gutina.

I spent the afternoon distilling the plants, and the process lasted well into the night. The intense scent of the Spanish lavender filtered all through the house, altering us all. It was a lovely night, culling the essence of a beautiful day.

Next morning, I convinced Barbara to come finish the work with us. I got her yes easily. The previous night’s distilling had lured her in, and I did not have to ask her twice.

To my surprise, that next day, the landscape seemed to be totally different. The plants were the same, the ponds were still there, confirming the mysterious ways of the water table, but the light was a thing apart. The sunlight was abrasive, almost thick, leaving no contrast.

la Gutina

la Gutina

I think I am right to say that the plants smelled differently. Or, better said, they did not give off their scents with the same impertinence of the day before. The beauty of the place was quite the same, though different, less obvious, more charged with mystery.

Spring is like that, changeable and unpredictable, dynamic and in constant transformation. In fact, it is the least set in its ways of all seasons. Spring never rests, it never gets settled in. it is always in transition, like the present itself.

Barbara, who already knew the site well, was still enthused by what she saw. It is really a magical place, it is altogether special, and fully deserves to be captured in its entirety.

This CAMÍ brings together the essence of those two days of gathering, surrounded by the buzz of insects and the frenetic, procreative activity of the plants themselves. It encapsulates the adolescent impertinence of nature, totally gone overboard. There is something unstable about its fragrance, as it is always changing, in spite of its glaring lack of subtleties. You can sense its internal movement, its unsettledness, its rackety potentiality. It is almost a threat—or maybe it is like a promise.

If you want to read the text written by Larry Fernández, after his experience in La Gutina, click here.

If you want to know the underlying motivations that have led Ernesto Collado to choose this spot for his first CAMI, click here.

Bee Brave

BEE BRAVE is a Bravanariz project aimed at promoting the biodiversity of our natural environments.
Conceived and financed by BRAVANARIZ, it is carried out in collaboration with various actors, both private (farm owners, beekeepers, scientists) as well as landscape protection associations.

Our first solid perfume

Mel olfactory disgresion

MEL is our first solid perfume and the result of a long collaboration with bees, our winged harvest companions. Made from organic beeswax (from the hives installed in our Bee Brave pilot project in Can Bech de Baix) and sweet almond oil from organic farming. Formulated only with essential oils from honey plants, which serve as food for our environmental heroes. Soft and balsamic, delicately aromatic. Its warm and welcoming background will make you feel good, with yourself and with your surroundings.

MEL is our sincere tribute to these fascinating social beings who have silently taught us for years the art of combining plants and aromas. Not only are they the natural perfumers of our landscape, but thanks to their tireless collecting work, they ensure the biodiversity of our landscapes.

Testimonials

«One of the most inspiring and remarkable olfactory experiences I have ever had.» Lourenço Lucena (Portugal)

«The experience, with Ernesto as a guide, is highly interesting, entertaining and sensitive. Being able to see, smell and know the origin, directly, of multiple plants, from which raw material for aromas is extracted, is simply a privilege» Juan Carlos Moreno (Colombia)

«What an unforgettable day. A powerful reconnection to the very essence of life around us. We started the day as strangers and ended the day as friends.» S.Baber (U.S.A.)

«The capture we collectively made during Ernesto's workshop in January was an olfactory time machine. It had the power to transport me back to a beautiful winter's day in the Can Fares forest with new friends and new findings. Truly magical.» Wendy (U.S.A.)

«This olfactory voyage with Ernesto was a reconnection to something instinctive, an enlivening reminder to open all the senses back to nature.» Bojana J. (Barcelona)

«Last Saturday I went to one of the Bravanariz walks and I came back inspired by so much good energy and by having been in tune with nature in such an intimate way, such as smell. It is a day of living with a group of wonderful people, learning about plants and perfumes and how they are made in Bravanariz, sharing incredible food and wines, but, above all, giving you a feeling of harmony and serenity that I greatly appreciate.» Marta Sierra (Madrid)

«Fantastic day in the Albera, Ernesto transmits his great knowledge of the landscape, the plant world, and perfumes in a very enthusiastic way. A 100% recommendable experience. Excellent food.» Lurdes B. (Osona)

«The experience lived thanks to Bravanariz has left an indelible mark on my brain and my heart and of course on my nose. Never again without smelling one of their magical perfumes, they create a positive addition!» Claudia (Cadaqués)

«It has been incredible to see how an essential oil is created thanks to an explosion.» Ángela, 7 años (Cadaqués)

«Unforgettable experience and highly recommended. It is a formidable start to introduce you to the olfactory world. The day flies by. Frankly good and attractive staging. A 10 out of 10!» I.L.B. & Y.C.V. (Barcelona)

 

Reserve an Experience

Every year, we create a series of olfactory experiences open to the public to share our personal creative process: the OLFACTORY CAPTURE.

It can be in the form of an Intensive Workshop (more technical) or as a more playful experience of immersion in the landscape through smell, which we call Walks.

In all of them, you will have the opportunity to practice the artisan processes of harvesting and distillation of aromatic plants, elaboration of essential oils, tinctures and hydrolates, as well as some of the best kept secrets of traditional perfumery.

You will learn about the plants that give the landscape its aromatic personality and you will discover a new way of relating to the environment.

The dates and modalities are published at two times of the year.

In January, the February-March Intensive Workshops and the spring-summer Walks. In September, the October-November Walks. If there is any scheduled activity, you will have the date and modality below.

October, 23 (Sunday)- Capture the essence of Molí Roquer

November, 12 (Saturday) – Capture the essence of Molí Roquer

Tailor-made Perfumes

We capture the essence of any natural environment that you choose. The aroma of your region, the perfume of your farm or that of the landscape that you contemplated years ago from the window of your room, in that summer house. But not only that, we can also capture the fragrance of a lived experience, a party, a house full of memories, of a workshop or work space. As long as it is based on natural essential oils, we can design your personalized perfume and capture the fragrance of what matters to you.

Case studies:

Perfume SON BRULL. Creation of an exclusive perfume for a Relais & Châteaux in Pollensa (https://www.relaischateaux.com/es/espana/sonbrull-mallorca-pollenca), on the island of Mallorca. Made with the most abundant plants on the estate and capturing the aroma of its deeply Mediterranean landscapes.

INCAVI project. Five olfactory captures for five wineries in five Destinations of Origin (D.O’s) in Catalonia. In this commission from INCAVI, we traveled to five wine regions to capture the aromas of the plants that influence the territory and the wines of five very unique wineries.

Casa Cuervo. After the success of our ESSAI/Olfactori Digression, inspired by the farm of our creator’s father, we were commissioned to create a perfume, this time, with the plants collected on the farm, to capture the essence of this corner of the Extremaduran landscape.

Tailor-made Experiences

We design tailor-made olfactory experiences adapting to your needs. From capturing the aromatic essence of a private garden, to an aromatic walk in a city. Talks, multi-sensory installations, natural perfumery courses for business groups or team building events. Whether you are a private group or a company, we will put together all our knowledge about plants and their aromas, in addition to enormous creativity, to create an unforgettable and transformative olfactory experience for you.

Tell us what your idea is, and we will make it come true.

Intro

BRAVANARIZ creates tailor-made olfactory experiences and bespoke perfumes that capture the essence of a place or a specific experience. From an exclusive perfume for a Relais Chateau to an olfactory walk in a private garden. Each new project, for us, is an exciting creative journey that stimulates us to seek and discover exclusive and original olfactory proposals that capture the aromas of nature and landscapes.

Objectives

Objetive # 1 

The main idea is to combine minimum intervention with maximum mutual benefit. We have to let Nature do her thing. We are just there to assist and
escort her.

First phase

-The first important thing is to recover the optimal state of the Prat de Dall. For this reason, we have to remove the poplar trees and clean away brambles and other bushes. We also need to cover the holes from fallen trees in order to level the ground well, so that it can be mowed.

-Along with this cleaning work, we will place the hives. Not on the prat de dall, but some 500m away (limit of the usual minimum radius of action for honey bees) , on a shrubland of aromatics, so we also give a chance to all the other pollinators to also take advantage of the prat de dall’s biodiversity.

Objetive # 2

Second phase

-Monitoring and maintenance of both lines of action: the hives (health of the bees, quantity and quality of the honey) and the prat de dall (variety of flora, mowing quality).

Become a donor meadow

Due to its characteristics, the Prat de Dall from Can Bec could become a perfect
donor meadow. Then, in collaboration with Prats Vius, we would collect its seeds in order to help restore other prats de dall in the area and use this location as a project showcase.

Replicate the project

After collecting enough data (2-3 years), we would love to replicate the project in other properties, making the necessary adjustments based on each propert

How to collaborate with the project

If you want to collaborate financing the project ,you can buy some of the garments that we have designed for it. You have a t-shirt and two different models of cap. The entire profit will be used to cover the expenses derived from the actions, monitoring and management of the Bee Brave project. Furthermore, you will help to gove it more visibility. Many thanks for your
collaboration.

Can Bech, The pilot Project

Near Agullana (Alt Empordà), almost near the French border, in the Les Salines Mountains, we found an abandoned Prat de Dall, now covered with poplar trees. The presence of these trees caught our attention, since they usually need humid soils. The first botanical studies made by Joan Font (a biology professor
at Girona University) confirmed our intuitions, and they exceeded our expectations. The richness of its biodiversity is outstanding. We convinced the owner to join the project and started the cleaning work to accommodate our first organic bee hives and recover the prat de dall.

Boosting biodiversity

Bee Brave starts from a basic idea. If there are flowers, then there are bees. And if there are more bees, there will be more flowers, and thus more plants. This, for thousands of years, has been one of nature’s most beautiful feedback cycles. However, excessive human ambition is changing this equilibrium and breaking the
cycle. BEE BRAVE wants to restore this cycle, even if only locally, focusing on two parts of the equation: the bees and their habitat here.

Bee Brave recovers semi-natural habitats of great biodiversity and in regression in the Empordà, called Prats de Dall (Mowing Meadows). The action focuses on the adaptation of the Prats de Dall and subsequent follow-up. This is how we ensure the health and good nutrition of the ecological hives that we have installed there. And on the other hand, these bees help with their pollination task, the recovery and maintenance of this semi-natural habitat.

“The idea is simple: give a bit back to the landscape that gives us so much. It is
a gesture of gratitude. While the landscape does not need us to be what it is,
the landscape builds us and shapes us much more than we recognize. We owe a lot to our natural environment. Being aware of that is already a first step. BEE BRAVE is Bravanariz’s humble way of going one step further.”

 Ernesto Collado, CEO & Found