In a first class carriage, two passengers found themselves facing each other. Unbeknown to Paul Ballor and Emilie Roussette, their thoughts were running along the same lines. Both wanted to start a conversation.

Paul every now and then cast his eyes down to the telegram he had received the previous day. He suddenly broke the silence and said, “What would you say the word discoveries meant?”

Emilie replied in a natural way:

“Surrender. People don’t make new discoveries unless they are prepared to leave something behind”. “And why ever not? I would be ready to lose anything so as to make a discovery”. “The word is in that message.”

Without hesitation, Paul began to read.

I have just discovered Vermouth.
I need to confer with you.
Could you join me?
Henry Freund.
Post Office, Turin



Henry Freund had left Orange a month before sending the telegram. His father had bequeathed to him an enormous estate of agricultural land. In two years, he had managed to sell more than two thirds of it and now he found himself in possession of a large quantity of money to make use of.

For a good few months already, news had been arriving about the financial and social vibrancy of a city which, a short distance from there, had been getting itself talked about. Turin was destined to become the city of progress.

The lightbulb, radio, the telephone, the car: every idea of the era which was about to open up would have seemed possible to so many inventors and progress into the future would have seemed totally unstoppable.

Thus it was that Freund decided to set off in search of modernity. Wandering around to get to know the city on his first evening, he went into a literary cafe. Good hearing was all that was needed to get an idea of how things were in the business world. “Excuse me, sir, but I couldn’t help hearing what you said about that bottle.” The man still had it in his hand, empty and without a cork. “With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”
“Freund, Henry Freund”.

“Another glass of Vermouth for my new guest.
Now, you will discover in your mouth what you heard in your ears” said he, turning to the waiter. The following day he discovered much more. He got to the small distillery in Turin and returned just in time to send the telegram to Paul Ballor. He was surprised to see him disembark from the Genoa-Turin train Genova Torino in pleasant company



Emilie Roussette planned to arrive in Milano to visit an aunt. Then, she would have a stopover in Florence and carry on to Sicily as a guest of family friends.

But, when one meets a man like Paul Ballor, anything can happen. Including finding oneself bewitched by the expertise of a passenger, the expertise which had Henry Freund waiting for him at Turin station.

Ballor’s dedication to vegetation often took people by surprise, but engendered a degree of curiosity for where his intuition was leading him.

What Freund had tasted in the glass of Vermouth served to him at the literary cafe had been just a drop, but enough to spill over into the idea of writing to Ballor. After his arrival, events moved swiftly. Herbs, roots, woods, bark, leaves, fruits, seeds, resin, peel, golds: Ballor would learn to extract the best from these. Freund’s aim was to remain in Turin and launch his own production. Within a short time, Paul, Henry and Emilie were seated around the table of a notary to sign the articles of association for Freund, Ballor & Co.