F

anny Testa is always laughing and moving very fast: “Yes, I’m a nervous person. Like my father!” She is the manager of Patio de los Perfumes. Write this name down, because it is soon going to become one of the main Albayzín points of interest. In 2018, they won the touristic award called Premio Prestigio Turístico. “According to Tripadvisor, we are the best museum and the best or second-best specialized shop in Granada. All of this without barely any public relations.”, Testa remarked.

We are too brave!” This is true because betting on such business in the middle of Paseo de los Tristes is an almost heroic act. The easy way would have been opening a restaurant or a charming hotel and wait for the customers to flock in. It is easy considering the high number of visitors. However, they chose to face this huge challenge, which only excellent professionals can hope to accomplish.

This is a family project. I am the daughter of the owners. They are perfumers. This is the first shop they have opened in the world. They fell in love with Granada. My mother is French. My father’s parents were Spanish, and his mother is from Guadix (Granada). And that is why this project is so important to my father.”

There is a clear reason for choosing this city: “Granada is a melting pot”. In addition, they want to spread the perfumery culture throughout said pot.

We organize workshops where visitors discover what perfumery is. It looks like a simple world, but it requires a lifetime’s work. There are millions of different plants that can be mixed. It is like cooking. You have to be very passionate about it.”

In the shelves of this carefully restored 16th century palace can be found all the essences of the city, such as jasmine, oriental notes, softer colognes of lemon and orange blossom. “Everyone that comes to Granada falls in love with the city, and everyone recognizes its scent”, says Fanny smiling again. “We make the perfumes using old techniques, and sharing these processes is a pleasure.”

Nevertheless, their concept of perfumery is distant from the industry concept. “The difference with other companies is that our perfumes are ecological. There is nothing artificial. While the large brands use 98% of artificial products, we use a 100% of natural products. And that is why there’s no comparison.”

They are putting a great deal of effort into the business. For instance, the processes of creating a brand and developing the product are unique because they hire art historians to show the visitors every corner of the palace and its links with the history of the city. They also have in their team perfumers who have studied in prestigious schools from Paris. Moreover, they speak many different languages, of course. Fanny apologizes, saying that she only speaks three.

Moreover, we reproduce the scent of each civilization. In this case, the Jewish essence, which is the first perfume of Mankind.” She affirmed this while pointing a wonderful and colourful container in a shelf. “The container that stores the perfumes was made of blown glass. We went to Palestine to work with artisans who still use this technique.”

The 1 500 square metres of the palace contain the shop, the museum and the cellar. They have even discovered some Moresque cisterns. Furthermore, they have restored a space for holding meetings and conferences, another for workshops, and a VIP room in which they offer an even more exclusive treatment. As if this was not enough, they also have a chapel.

By the way, visitors can create their own perfume in one of their workshops using only natural essences, and it only takes two hours. Moreover, a professional perfumer will be guiding the process.

Fanny Testa ends up saying: “We believe that our perfumes are a beautiful souvenir to remember the charm of this city by. I have travelled a lot, and everybody says wonderful things about Granada.”

Some curious facts about this interesting art:

The Valley of the Roses in Morocco is the habitat of the most scented rose: the Damask rose. This flower blossoms just once a year between April and May. 6 tons of fresh roses are required to produce just 1 kg of essential oil.

The ambergris is a secretion of sperm whales. After being expelled from their bodies, it floats in the ocean in the shape of a fragile stone and has a disgusting smell. The oxidation process modifies its smell and colour. All the perfumers want to use it, but it is one of the most expensive raw materials in the world.

Fotos de Lucía Rivas