Noëlle Irolla, At the Heart of the Distillation of Essential Oil of Immortelle

Facing the bay of Calvi, Noëlle Irolla has been running her small family business specializing in the aromatic plants of Corsica since 1993. Between organic production and family harvests, this enthusiast masters the art of making a very precious nectar: essential oil of Immortelle.
By Mélissa Darré

What is your relationship to Corsica?

I come from Lumio, a small village in the Balagne region about 15 minutes from Calvi. I moved to Ajaccio for my studies before returning here with my friend Milou, to set up our company Gaec de L’Astratella. Initially, nobody believed it would go far. The industry was in its infancy compared to Provence.

But it has grown rapidly everywhere in Corsica, and this has brought us luck in a certain way. Today, my husband Bati and my son Lisandru have joined the project, so we really are a family business.

What attracted you to this profession?

Initially, Milou and I are really went looking for adventure. We wanted above all to work from our native town. With this desire in mind, we sought to set something up, without knowing whether it would work or not. But at the time, we didn’t have family responsibilities so decided to give it our best shot.

My biggest joy is doing what I like, surrounded by nature. Corsica is beautiful, overflowing with the abundant maquis scrubland, which shares all its benefits through essential oils. It is particularly gratifying to have managed to create something in Corsica, but even more so, in the village where I grew up.

What are the different stages of cultivation and distillation of the Immortelle flower?

In the early 2000s, we only practiced "wild" harvesting, though of course with the permission of the owners and authorities concerned. Then, the industry developed throughout the island and so we set up farms in parallel. To begin with the set-up was rather muddled, but when L'Occitane turned to the Immortelle in 2005, the industry became better supervised throughout the territory.

Today, we work around 10 plants throughout the year. That makes for very busy days, but that's what we love, what makes us happy. For the Immortelle, harvest takes place every June. Milou, Bati, Lisandru and I take care of the crops, while our 3 workers take care of the manual harvest. In the process, we each distill with pot stills 1,200 liters, and thus process 500 kg of fresh plants.

What do you consider the vital qualities of a good essential oil?

To do this job, it’s essential to love nature. To obtain a good essential oil, there are of course parameters to respect: constant pressure, a floral water of quality, the right temperature of the tank and the condenser, but, above all, one must distill with love!

www.astratella.com

Noëlle Irolla, At the Heart of the Distillation of Essential Oil of Immortelle
Noëlle Irolla, At the Heart of the Distillation of Essential Oil of Immortelle
Facing the bay of Calvi, Noëlle Irolla has been running her small family business specializing in the aromatic plants of Corsica since 1993
© L’Occitane en Provence
The essential oil of Immortelle
The essential oil of Immortelle

Between organic production and family harvests, this enthusiast masters the art of making a very precious nectar

© L’Occitane en Provence
Gaec de L’Astratella
Gaec de L’Astratella
"To obtain a good essential oil, there are of course parameters to respect [...] but, above all, one must distill with love!"
© L’Occitane en Provence

Latest Articles

Back to the source: the perfect Provencal appetizer

Back to the source: the perfect Provencal appetizer

To extend the summer, what better than to treat yourself to a special shared moment enjoying an appetizer with Provencal flavours? L'Occitane reveals some authentic regional recipes for finger food that your friends and family will love.
5 tips to prolong your tan

5 tips to prolong your tan

After the holidays, do you dream of retaining all the benefits of summer, including the beautiful golden complexion you've gained from lazing in the sun? L'Occitane reveals the right beauty routine to ensure that you glow into autumn.
The most beautiful rooftops in Provence

The most beautiful rooftops in Provence

Perfect for extending the summer, rooftops offer beautiful outdoor terraces where you can relax at any time of day. L'Occitane reveals the best spots in Provence to hit the heights this autumn.