A creeper climbs towards the light, revealing beautiful bunches of yellow to green flowers. It is Vanilla, an orchid that can reach 30 meters long! In the dense forests of central America, from where it originates, specialized insects ensure the pollination of its tubular flowers. However, it is women called « matchmakers » who ensure the pollination in Vanilla producing countries: they can fertilize up to 1800 flowers per day! This pollination leads to a fruit, the pod, that takes 8 to 10 months to ripen, go black and produce vanillin frost or crystals with a concentrated scent.
Vanilla, the fruit of a tropical orchid, is originally from forests on the East coast of Mexico, but it has been introduced in many other countries. Today, the perfumer working with Yves Rocher, gets his supply from Madagascar. All the pods there, come from the Savanille cooperative (representing 1400 families of producers from 38 villages), located in the north-east of the island. The harvest is only carried out once a year, between June and August, and the unripe harvested vanilla pods contain little vanillin and are odorless and tasteless. A long and delicate procedure lasting 18 months, then begins to transform them into quality vanilla. Once harvested, the pods are plunged into hot water (between 55 and 65°C) for a few minutes, to stop them from ripening. They are then dried at different temperatures, in the sun and shade, for several weeks. They then take on their chocolate color but also their scent and characteristic aromas.
The vanilla pods dry and the level of dryness necessary for the extraction procedure to begin, depends solely on the expertise of the preparers. To capture their olfactory treasure, a volatile solvent called ethanol is used for a first extraction. It captures the scented molecules to obtain an oleoresin. This oleoresin is again extracted using ethanol to obtain vanilla absolute. The absolute develops a harmony of subtle facets that are amber, woody, spicy and animal. Vanilla absolutes bring addictive notes and incomparable sensuality to the So Elixir Bois Sensuel or Secrets d’Essences Vanille Noire eau de parfum.