“Apart from quality, our extra virgin aims to transmit emotions”
Eduardo and Hugo are as different as they are complementary. One comes from the world of marketing, while the other is specialized in medicinal plants. Both, together with Eliseo Quintanilla, a pharmacist by profession and the father of Hugo, have set themselves the goal of revolutionising extra virgin through their very own olive oil project. And to judge by the results they have achieved in such a short space of time, they appear to be meeting their objective without much difficulty.
Señoríos de Relleu, is a family company that is not only recovering the olive-producing tradition of the Alicante region in which its multi-varietal autochthonous olive trees grow, it is also determined to help more and more consumers to learn how to appreciate this product. How? Well, the protagonists of this interview know exactly what they’re doing. After perfecting an impeccable organoleptic profile, it’s now time to surround it with sensations. On this ambitious mission, the original pack they have just launched onto the market represents the common thread.
In a world as traditional as that of olive oil, in which any attempt at breaking away from the norm tends to be observed with the critical eye of those who believe there is little room for more innovation in this field, it is very easy to pinpoint those people willing to leave the most radical conventionalisms behind.
They are betrayed by their gestures, the sparkle in their eye, their insatiable curiosity, the pride the express when talking about their work and, above all, the freshness and excitement they manage to transmit.
These are the exact traits that define Eduardo and Hugo, with whom we had the pleasure to talk to personally at the last edition of Madrid Fusión.
They themselves confess that they are not yet experts in olive oil. Nor do they need to be. Because since they started selling the first Señoríos de Relleu coupage they have proven that their work is on the right track. And it’s not that they say so themselves. The excellent reviews received and the two prestigious international awards received demonstrate their already promising future.
But these two men are not happy to sit back and rest on their laurels. Now they aim to find new ways of connecting with the consumers and all of them channel emotions.
In previous conversations, you told us that none of the founders of Señoríos de Relleu had any relationship with the world of olive oil. So what brought you to take on this adventure?
Eduardo Palacio (E.P.): Señoríos de Relleu is an initiative of Eliseo Quintanilla, Hugo’s father. His family has always been linked to the agriculture sector, specifically in the context of Murcia.
Although Eliseo studied pharmacy, he never lost sight of his origins, which is why he focused his profession on medicinal plants. With time, he was offered the possibility of buying some estates in Relleu and that is how this story began.
Hugo Quintanilla (H.Q.): My father has always been interested in the active ingredients that many medicinal plants contain. He considers them an added value. That is why he bought these lands and decided to pull up the almond trees grown here and replace them with olive trees. By doing so, he was seeking precisely that added value that the olive tree offers through its oil and, even its leaves, from which oleuropein is obtained, a cardioprotective and antibacterial agent. These were the main reasons which led him to choose this crop.
For my part, I also specialized in medicinal plants within the field of agricultural forest engineering. In short, we are a family group that covers a number of fields.
E.P.: In my case, my life has always been and still is a constant re-invention. I have always worked in marketing and sales, first in the world of building renowned Spanish and international brands, and then in sustainability and the environment which is where I met Eliseo and Hugo, who took me into the universe of olive oil.
I have always worked towards the search for differentiation, innovation and the re-invention of everything we do, so that we become renowned wherever we go.
What do you think that your experience from other fields contributes to a sector as traditional as the oil sector?
E.P.: I think our main advantage is that we have no prejudices. That allows us to face new situations from a totally different point of view. It is true that we have not inherited a traditional oil culture, and that enables us to adapt to the new demands of consumers from a different perspective compared to the conventionalisms. In this case, we inject a lot of freshness into this sector.
Before talking about your oil, we would like to know about some of the most relevant aspects of your company. How would you describe the setting in which you put all your excitement and effort into practice?
E.P.: Both the estate and the installations of Señoríos de Relleu are located 10 kilometres from the Mediterranean, at the foot of the Aitana Mountains, which reach a height of 1000 metres. Although there are some vestiges of the olive grove in the area, really there has not been any real olive producing tradition, the local farmers are mainly involved in almond production.
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