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Oils H of Leos


For more information on extra virgin and exceptional French olive oils

The Name

First of all, the oils H of Leos owe their name to the fact that they were born with L’Huile H at Domaine Leos. The name Leos is a contraction of Léon and Oscar, the first names of the owner’s two children. Leos is the name of a French Agricultural Development Company (SCEA Leos) that operates and manages Domaine Leos as well as that of a commercial structure (SAS Leos) which selects, develops, and markets all the oils H of Leos. The latter business is also the one that will launch the local products and recipes of Provence and will market the future wine of Domaine Leos.

The letter « H » refers to the first letter of the word « Huile (oil). » The reduction of the name to a single letter bears the idea to not only express the simplicity and purity of the products of the line H of Leos, but also to recapture the original taste of a « fruity green » or « fruity ripe » oil. This qualification as an « original » oil can be explained by our ambition to have our customers discover the pleasure of the original taste of our products, the sustainable and natural approach to planting and cultivation, harvesting and production at the mill, as well as the history of Domaine Leos, which is at the center of the creation of the city of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Quality « Extra virgin olive oil »

The oils H of Leos are all « extra virgin », meaning they are high-quality oils obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree through mechanical processes or under thermal conditions that don’t alter the oil. In extra virgin oil, nothing is added nor removed. Everything is natural. This is also the guarantee to consumers that they have a very low acidity (level of oleic acid lower than 0.8%) and that they possess remarkable and superior gustatory qualities (a high-quality, luxury oil). Every year, the oils H of Leos have a level of oleic acid lower than 0.4%, which places them at the highest level of quality.
It is also a « premier cold extraction » oil (a decanter is used and we do not perform a second pressing through the addition of hot water, as was done often in the past).
 
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Varieties of olives dominated by Angladau

The oils H of Leos are largely dominated by the Aglandau, a variety that is perfectly adapted to the terroir of the Domaine, which possesses fruits that are ovoid in shape, slightly asymmetrical, firm and pulpy, and isolated on the branches. The Aglandau variety is characterised by its smoothness, its intensity, and its surprising and very rich taste with flavourings of artichoke, green (olive leaf), green fruits (with or without pit), and notably cooked pear, banana, almond, and apple.

With the Aglandau variety, L’Huile H of Domaine Leos defines itself as an « aromatic and strong fruity green », meaning a lively oil, with a powerful intensity, slightly peppered (see testimonies of major Chefs and experts).
L’Huile H also incorporates several other varieties of olives in smaller quantities including the Picholine, which historically comes from the Collias region (Gard); the Hojiblanca, originating from Andalousia; the Cornicabra from the Toledo region; the rougette from Ardeche; and the Arbequines, which are very useful for pollination (as the bees don’t visit olive tree flowers!).

The intensity of the Aglandau variety is softened in the fruity green and fruity ripe H of Leos Selection lines by the addition of the Salonenque, a variety of olives from Salon-de-Provence, which brings some vegetal notes with a dominant flavour of artichoke, hazelnut, and green apple.

For the fruity ripe H of Leos Selection line, the slight bitterness and intensity are a direct result of late harvesting at a time when the oil is in organoleptic over-ripeness.

 

Health

The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in mono-unsanatured fatty acids, in vitamin E and in polyphenols seems to be confirmed by a great number of international studies. The replacement of saturated fat by unsaturated fat in diet contributes even more to the maintenance of a normal cholesterolemia (the rate of cholesterol) that green and herbaceous oils such as L’Huile H are richer in polyphenols, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids than other types of olive oils.

Harvesting and maintenance

The olives of the « fruity green » line are hand-picked very early, in October. In contrast, those of the fruity ripe H of Leos Selection line are picked later in the season. The olive is a hardy tree that requires limited maintenance.

Nevertheless, pruning is done every year, varying with the types and ages of the olive trees. The trees are watered by drip irrigation and the land is enriched with natural fertilizers.
Mill of the Château Virant
The olives are pressed (it is called « crushing ») on the same day, or in less than 24 hours, at the Château Virant mill, one of the best in France and the only one to have obtained the « Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant » label, or « Living Patrimony Company. » From the harvesting to the bottling, all of the oils H of Leos have been made under the control of Christine Cheylan, the owner of the mill and the most awarded French olive oil expert.

Benefitting from solely mechanical processes, the excellence of the oils can also be attributed to the know-how of Christine Cheylan and her teams, and to the equipment of the mill that allows for not only a « crushing » and a remarkable filtration fineness, but also perfect conservation (air conditioned and under nitrogen).
 

Recognition and Awards



Over the past three years, L’Huile H of Domaine Leos has won 10 medals, prizes of excellence or international distinctions including 4 gold medals
- Gold Medal (2019) and silver medal (2018) in the « National Agricultural Competition of Paris »
- « ÉPICURES D’OR » (2019) of the Épicerie fine
- Gold Medal (2018, 2017) and bronze medal (2019) in the « PACA regional competition »
- Silver medal (2017) in the international competition « The Olivalies® »
- « Gourmet » (2019, 2018, 2017) in the « International Competition of the Oils of the World (AVPA – Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products)

Acclaimed by numerous major chefs, sommeliers and recognized experts in the olive-growing world (See Testimonials), Domaine Leos is an « Artisanal Producer of quality », and member of the prestigious « Culinary College of France, » founded by the 15 greatest French Chefs. Numerous chefs have created recipes with L’Huile H. For instance, in 2018, Pierre Hermé created a dessert with L’Huile H, which he served at « 86 Champs, » his boutique restaurant located in Paris at 86 Avenue of the Champs-Elysées. For Mother’s Day in 2019, Alain Ducasse, in association with Domaine Leos, introduced a limited edition of a chocolate made with L’Huile H.

Composition

Patrick Bruel and Christine Cheylan at the Mill of Château Virant

In front of the tanks of preservation of L’Huile H before bottling.

Patrick Bruel at the Mill of Château Virant
In front of the hopper receiving the washed olives during the cleaning process
Interview with Christine Cheylan
Renowned expert on olive oil and owner of the mill of Château Virant
Christine Cheylan, you are the owner of the mill of Château Virant which is considered by a number of olive oil enthusiasts as one of the best mills in France. How did it earn that reputation?
I assume that this is due to all the prizes and labels we have received! Since 1996, every year our oils are invariably awarded in the National Agricultural Competition of Paris and in several international competitions. Gold medal, first or prize of excellence, I was told that I had the best French oil ranking. In any case, I am very proud that my mill was the first one in France to obtain the label of « Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, or Living Patrimony Company », a state label that rewards the know-how of excellence.
For me, the expertise at the mill should be essential to its reputation. When we created the oil mill at Château Virant, I was young, only 26, but due to my initial training, I systematically applied myself to understand and master all the parameters that make for a quality olive oil.

However, I quickly learned that knowing how to make a quality olive oil was not enough. It was necessary to live it daily to really understand. Indeed, the basis of expertise lies in extensive empirical research, a constant demand for quality with a trained eye on every step of the transformation process, an impeccable hygiene, and a lot of work and time spent at the mill…but when you love, you don’t count, do you? And this commitment to excellence must be enduring to be recognized. I may surprise you but when I was younger, I thought to myself : « but why me, why are my oils at the top and not the others » and it took me a few years to admit that my expertise may have had something to do with it (Laughs!!)

At last, maybe that’s the point, « without passion, nothing is good! » I like this saying. It is so reflective of my state of mind.
It is true that I’m passionate about olive oil, this mythical product which is as old as the world, but is still so modern! And I sincerely believe that this passion also contributes to the reputation of my mill. The passion shows! I always say that my mill has a soul. Even though in appearance, it has very modern machines, there is an atmosphere, positive vibes. It feels good!!
The oils H of Leos in general and L’Huile H of Domaine Leos in particular are considered to be very high-quality olive oils. In your opinion, what makes an oil a great oil?
The oils H of Leos are indeed remarkable oils. They carry the spirit of excellence already recognised in L’Huile H. To me, an exceptional oil is a product that doesn’t lie! For instance, as the H of Leos line was being developed, I could immediately appreciate their potential. Each time they are bottled, I notice that the quality will last over time which is proof of their excellence. As with all oils of great quality, they are a clever mix of well-orchestrated attributes. First of all, a remarkable terroir (which is essential), followed by maintenance and a rigorous cultivation protocol, and of course nice varieties and healthy fruit at optimum organoleptic maturity, picked neither too early nor too late. Finally, it requires a mill with irreproachable standards and, as I said before, the skill of the miller.
Of course, once all this is put together and the oil is processed, you need quality equipment to filter it, to store it away from oxygen in stainless steel tanks maintained under nitrogen in a cool room (temperature controlled) to ensure proper storage of the product.
You personally supervised the production of the oils H of Leos, how would you characterise them ?
They are all part of the same quest for excellence, authenticity and character but each of them has its own uniqueness. L’Huile H of Domaine Leos is an aromatic and balanced « fruity green » with intense flavours that give it a very nice length in the mouth. When tasting it, it is like walking through your garden. Notes of fresh herbs are present together with a floral touch. For all that, it is an oil of character because its final peppery hint (due to antioxidants) contributes to its presence in the mouth. It is characterised by a note of freshness that gives it its smoothness and balance.

The H of Leos Selection fruity green line, which is a PDO Provence, comes close to L’Huile H of Domaine Leos because of its intense nose, its herbaceous notes and its length in the mouth, but it also possesses the scent of raw artichoke which can be associated with orgeat and red fruits, complemented by aromas of banana, hazelnut, fresh almond, and tomato leaves. On the palate, its bitterness and intensity are slightly less noticeable than in L’Huile H of Domaine Leos. Lastly, the H of Leos Selection fruity ripe line is characterised by the colour, taste, aromatic subtlety, and softness of an « original » fruity ripe. There are scents of almond, yellow or red fruit (plum, exotic fruit, ripe apple) but also floral and Linden aromas. These are simply very beautiful oils which may surprise, but will undoubtedly delight those who taste them!

Packaging

The oils H of Leos are offered not only in individual glass bottles of 100 ml, 250 ml, and 500 ml, but also in gift packs containing the different oils of the fruity green and fruity ripe line.


To protect the olive oil from the light, the bottle is of dark colour.
Lastly, a flow restrictor has been inserted in the neck for ease of use.
 
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