From Sicily With Love
It’s exceptionally rare, if not unique, to find a person who is the creative force, nay genius behind more than one international brand, but such a person is the elusive and media-shy Sue Townsend, whose name is one that most people will never have heard before. But mention Crabtree & Evelyn and most people will immediately recognise the iconic soap and toiletries label, a triumph of branding and marketing if ever there was one (despite most people’s preconceptions the quintessential English brand was actually created specifically for the US market in 1972).
Similarly, many people will have heard of HRH The Prince of Wales’ organic and charitable company Duchy Originals, purveying foods and lifestyle produce that raises money for The Prince’s Charities Foundation. It was Sue Townsend who founded the former with two friends, and who was heavily involved in the brand development of the latter.
Two immensely successful companies would be enough for most people, but Townsend isn’t most people, and having moved to Italy in 2000 and repeatedly visited the lush and atmospheric island of Sicily, the thought struck her while staying in the ancient city of Ortigia in Syracuse (once the greatest city in the Greek empire), that perhaps she had one more company in her. And so, with a little help from legendary Florence-based perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi, Ortigia was founded in 2006, an exquisitely packaged fragrance and toiletries range inspired by the fabulously abundant exotic Sicilian flora and fauna. The very essence of Sicily, bottled.
Nestling in beautifully-designed handmade, silver-lined boxes with heavily embossed motifs of leopards and palm trees, lie jewel-coloured glycerine soaps of every hue from amber to violet and teal to blood orange; in the luxuriously solid, die-stamped glass bottles and candle jars the evocatively named fragrances, lotions and oils are entirely based on natural perfumes and raw ingredients like olive oil from Ernesto Signorelli’s own estate processed without chemical and mineral additives.
Employing a vast range of botanicals from orange blossom to limes, oranges, pomegranate and lavender, to grapefruit, almonds, figs, pistachios, saffron and sea salt, the product line encompasses everything from shower gel to richly decadent bath oils and salts, to shaving and hand creme. Divided into 13 highly individual and sensual blends, our favourites are the warm and sultry Ambra Nera featuring layers of spiced woods over rich resinous labdanum, oak moss, vetiver and patchouli, Fico d’India’s powdery fig and cedar infused with cactus juice, and the gloriously redolent Orange Blossom, a super-aromatic distillation of orange flower and neroli pettigrain – like walking through an ancient orange grove in shimmering heat.
With all the products available through their seven shops as well as online, you just solved your gifting choice for the next few years to come. http://www.ortigiasicilia.com