A hundred years ago, deep in the romantic “Valley of Roses” protected by great mountains, laid vast fields of rare and undiscovered roses. In this hidden valley, rainstorms wash thousands of different botanicals down from the mountains and into the soil, making its flower extra sweet, the most precious of which is the world-renowned white rose. In 1909, a man by the name of Enio Bonchev discovered this treasure and built a small, local distillery to make essential oil from the land’s precious petals.
Great Grandfather Bonchev ran his rose distillery for 37 years until it was stolen from him by Bulgaria’s communist regime. Distillation stopped, loyal workers were without work, and the land’s flower blossomed unseen for almost 50 years. To the complete devastation of the local communities, the communist regime had turned the thriving business into a museum and a site for private parties.
The communist regime tried to hold onto the distillery, but destiny had far greater plans. In 1992, Dimitryi Lissicharov, Enio Bonche’s son-in-law, re-purchased the distillery with his son, Filipe. With the business back in their hands, Dimitryi and Filipe created economic independence and sustainability for their local communities. In 1997, the distillery expanded and began working with the rich and fragrant lavender that had been growing abundantly alongside the farms’ roses.
“This is our land. We will love it and cherish it, feed it, nurture it because it feeds and nurtures us, it is our freedom, our home, our health. It is everything we need in this life.”
FILIP LISSICHAROV, ENIO BONCHEV DISTILLERY
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