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Burgundy smells to go on the web

The smell of Burgundy will soon be available on the internet and via CD with a new project piloted by the Burgundy trade body.

For the past two years, the BIVB (Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne) has been a pilot client of Exhalia, a ‘web parfumé’ project developed by France Télécom R&D.

Following the success of a 12-aroma prototype – ‘a scented stroll though the vineyards’ – currently linked to the BIVB website, final touches are underway for the second BIVB scent experience, ‘pleasures of tasting Burgundy wine’.

Visitors to the London Wine and Spirits Fair (May 18-20) will be able to smell up to 50 aromas associated with wine-tasting. The link will subsequently appear on the BIVB site.

‘We’ve added another dimension to the audio and visual applications already available over the web,’ said oenologist Jean-Charles Servant, communications director at BIVB.

Accessible by internet or CD-rom, the application requires minimal bandwidth and memory, and runs on a variety of standard systems. Scents are provided via a hand-held diffuser, which should be commercially available in the UK within a couple of months.

‘Web parfumé has given us an opportunity to use technology to modernise Burgundy’s image,’ said Philippe Trollat, BIVB technical projects director. ‘We can continue to respect Burgundy’s tremendous history and tradition, but also show the world that we are looking to the future.’

The BIVB’s ambition to date has been to evoke Burgundy’s atmosphere with odours like freshly harvested grapes, cellars and earth, rather than try to duplicate the odours of specific wines. As technology improves and costs drop, so will the realism and range of scents accessible by the public.

Scented web experiences are also offered by several schools and companies involved in food, tourism and perfume.

‘One day we’ll be able to send out aromas that are very faithful to the real thing but for now we are happy to give people a good hint,’ said Servant.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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