You haven’t lifted your head for a while. Maybe too long. Maybe you don’t even know how long, as focused as you are, happy with what you’re doing.
You select. You analyse. You mix. Judging by your slow movements, it looks like you’re suspended in time and space. Sometimes you stretch your head forward to smell the pleasant aromas of the raw materials that have just arrived. The way you take them in with your eyes makes them appear almost sacred. Or is it the way you gently graze them with your fingers?
Rather than a modern scientist, you look like a romantic poet.
You’ve just looked up. And there’s no need for me to see your eyes to tell what they are looking at: that late 18th-century painting that portrays the old shop in via Dora Grossa, the liveliest street in Turin back when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
The old shop of
Since you started working here, you’ve always looked at it with a mixture of admiration and awe. On closer inspection, maybe it’s the only thing that is truly able to distract you. It’s as if it comes to life before your eyes, taking you by the hand in a sort of journey through time.
I’m sure you would have fit right in, no doubts about it. Back in 18th-century Turin, when the lifestyle of its citizens enhanced their solid reputation and distinctive elegance.
I can even see you, on the threshold of that shop, with its carved door jambs, ready to step into the backshop and give your contribution, among alembics and other alchemist’s contraptions, in an atmosphere created by perfumes and mixtures measured down to the infinitesimal.
While in the front shop crowds of Turinese met to delight their palates, in the back Carlo Stefano and Giovanni Giacomo would use all their alchemic art not only to preserve fruits and prepare syrups, but also—and above all—to create alcoholic beverages and liquors, using fine plant-based mixtures, local herbs, spices and wines. Day and night. Night and day.
And I think I can even see you beside the two ambitious and determined Cinzano brothers themselves, as you try and try again to transform the leaves of artemisia into new mixtures by crossing the boundaries of sensory experimentation. All of that between the walls of a backshop laboratory: a magical place in which science was transformed into poetry. Back at the time, that poetry gave life to a harmonious Vermouth with a complex, yet balanced taste which is still truly
You’ve just lifted your eyes from the print.
Back to work.
You may not be in the back of a shop, but you can rest easy. You’re creating the right poetry yourself. You’re carrying forward the same vision, the same passion that drove the Cinzano brothers in their own unique creation.