If you’re looking for new ways to awaken your body and appreciate the Swiss countryside, a new collaboration between an award-winning perfumer and Switzerland’s Graubünden region could be the answer.
Graubünden is a canton in Switzerland best known for its expansive areas of untouched natural beauty. Encompassing the popular tourist destinations of St Moritz and the Engadin Valley within its borders, the region is synonymous with outdoor adventures and classic Swiss environs – from idyllic forests, lakes and rolling hills to looming mountains and snow-covered pistes.
Now, the region offers something truly unique:
Patrick Stebler, an award-winning perfumer, pharmacist and gourmet, is offering scent-based tours in the region as the world’s first Mountain Air Sommelier.
The tours all revolve around the scents of the Swiss countryside and the emotions and feelings they evoke. In interviews about his new tours, Stebler has noted that smell is an oft-neglected sense but is intimately linked to emotion and memory, and so forms an incredibly potent part of our lived experiences.
Stebler’s perception about the impact of scents is in fact confirmed by our understanding of human biology. When we breath in a scent, it is our olfactory bulb – located internally at the top of the nose – that register the scent molecules.
From there, the olfactory bulb works with our brain to send signals about the scent to various parts of our body. Among these parts that receive those signals are the amygdala and hippocampus – parts of our brain related to emotion and memory, respectively.
This means that Stebler’s ambition to tap into emotion and memory on his scent-tours will in fact become a reality!
Stebler’s ambition is to create an immersive and alternative gateway into the Swiss countryside that will help visitors not only connect deeply with nature but experience something uniquely personal and memorable.
8 Regional Scents
Stebler has identified key scents in eight regions of Graubünden, and visitors can choose which region they’d like to explore on their tour. In the scent-focused parts of each tour, Stebler will deliver you to locations to smell the scent for yourself and walk you through the different factors that influence the region’s scents – such as air quality, altitude, temperature and humidity.
Among the tours and locations on offer are:
A mountainous location with deep valleys and high peaks, Vals has a unique ecosystem due to its location. On the tour, you can hike through the area to look for cloves, breathe in ‘antique wood aromas’ and enjoy local sites such as the thermal spa and historic Lärchaboda barn.
In Surselva you can find many natural wonders, from the Greina High Plateau, the Lag de Pigniu waterfalls and the Val Frisal. On your tour of the area, you’ll visit a local beekeeper in Peiden, where you can smell (and taste) some of the honey they produce.
Famous for its many gorges, including the eponymous Viamala Gorge, the region has historic roots. Ancient Romans made their way through the Alps via the gorges in this region. Here, you can witness the sheer magnitude of the bodies of rock and water they had to overcome. Back in the modern day, on your scent-tour through Viamala you’ll focus on somewhat easier experiences! You’ll walk among pine trees and go on a berry-picking tour to enjoy the heavenly scent of various berry plants. You can pick blueberries to enjoy either on the walk back or later in your evening dessert – because on returning from your hike, a special dinner will be made for you using regional ingredients, by farmer and chef Regula Schmid.
These are just some examples of the tours available. The tours include not just your scent-focused experience, but also food, drink, picnics, lunches and meetings with local artisans. In short, you’re guaranteed a full body, cultural immersion into the region you’re visiting.
If you’d like to book one of these unique tours, get in touch with us today. We can arrange a travel itinerary that will incorporate not only one of Stebler’s tours, but other experiences and destinations within Switzerland.
In addition to Stebler’s expertise, we have experts from our own Wow network that you can meet with to explore new ideas and experiences. With Wow experts in everything from sleep, meditation, healthy eating and more, you’ll be able to find the right complement to your Swiss sensory holiday!