This has to be one of my favourite ranges of artisan fragrances and soaps, simply due to the thought, care and history that has gone into their creation and the story they have to tell.
I was fortunate enough to meet Cynthia, one half of the husband and wife team behind Sandovalis, in a small bar one very warm evening in Merida in the Yucatan, Mexico. She spoke no English and I very little Spanish and, until her friend who interpreted for us arrived, we conversed uncomfortably using a translation app on my iPhone.
Having pursued successful careers in marketing this couple had no connection to perfumery until they came across some old family recipes dating from the 19th century. Fascinated by them and the traditional local ingredients that were used they undertook to recreate the aromas of the Yucatan that had been lost for years. Finding some of the flora referred to in the formulations was often difficult as they were specific to that part of Mexico and not available commercially. They were reduced to foraging and even had to build their own copper still to extract the essential oils and aromas from these relatively elusive plants.
Hard work and persistence paid off and resulted in the launch of the Sandovalis Perfumery in 2012 and the original range of fragrances and the first bar soap soon followed.
However, the bug had bitten and the two of them started developing new fragrances and an extended product range based on the authentic aromas of the Yucatan peninsula and an understanding of a culture that dates back to the Mayans.
The range now includes beautiful handmade soaps, shampoo, shower gel, candles, beard treatments and body cream, all made from 100% natural ingredients and beautifully packaged (the packaging alone has to be seen to be believed!).
All the products are of the highest quality and have a luxurious feel and a subtle, although distinctive, fragrance. I was blown away when I tried them and have been trying to bring them to the UK ever since, so watch this space!
Examples of the attention to detail that flows through the veins of this brand are the shaving bowls that accompany their La Orden range of male body care products. Hand carved from Tzalam, a locally grown hardwood, by skilled craftsmen with generations of knowledge, they are a work of art in themselves.
All the products are made in very small batches with that artisan touch that can only be added by dedicated and skilled master craftsmen.
You can more understand the philosophy of Sandovalis by reading their own description (translated from the native Spanish) of their ethos:
“Sandovalis is an independent perfumery project inspired by the history and botany of the Yucatan Peninsula, offers a revaluation of aromas and the origin of raw materials through the practice of fair trade, the rescue of Mayan ethnobotany and practice of almost extinct trades of Yucatan.
We make aromas through a structure that is a model of our lifestyle: culture, tradition, countryside, history and the honest work of the people; They are the center of each inspiration. Sandovalis products are made by hand with raw materials that are mostly produced in Yucatan by the hands of master craftsmen, using traditional techniques that promote the customs and trades of rural communities”.
You can find a wealth of information, the history and the range of products Sandovalis have to offer at www.sandovalis.com
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