When I visited India, I expected the smell of sandalwood to be one of the trip’s olfactory highlights. What I didn’t expect was the affection I would develop for India’s native jasmine sambac. Jasmine has always been a favourite flower of mine but I generally prefer the sweet, candied petal odour of jasmine’s grandiflorum variety. I have fond memories of my visit to the jasmine fields surrounding the southern French village of Grasse, where the grandiflorum flowers have been harvested for more than a century.
In comparison to Grasse’s famous jasmine, which graces the likes of Chanel No 5 and Jean Patou’s Joy, India’s jasmine sambac has a greener edge. The absolute extract in my collection of raw materials has a fruitier personality and under GC analysis, I am sure it would reveal higher amounts of cis-3-Hexanol esters that give it its crushed grass notes. Smelling the freshly picked flowers in India, I developed a new appreciation for jasmine sambac and during my time in Madurai, India’s jasmine capital, I became transfixed on the flower that locals affectionately refer to as Madurai malligai. Buying jasmine garlands became a daily ritual in the small South Indian city and I would track the … Read More »
The first time I came to India was in 1999. It was my second major trip abroad and after spending a year in South America I naively thought I was a sufficiently experienced traveller to navigate my way through the country alone. Outside Arrivals at Delhi’s international airport, India did to me what India often does to young travellers. It turned me upside down, swallowed me whole and spat me out. Despite the Lonely Planet warnings, a rogue taxi driver scammed me and in the small hours of the morning I spent my first night barricaded in a hotel room of the taxi driver’s choosing. These were the days before smart phones and Google Earth so once the sun came up, my first task was to find out where the taxi driver had offloaded me and I steered myself back on course. My travels took me north of Delhi; I visited Amritsar’s Golden Temple, spent nights in a houseboat on Kashmir’s picturesque Dal Lake and by pure chance I had an audience with the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, where the Tibetan leader and his countrymen and women were living in exile. It was a trip that gave me unforgettable … Read More »
L’Artisan Parfumeur continues its exploration of fragrance as emotion with three new additions to the Explosions d’Emotions Collection that launched in 2013 with inaugural eau de parfums, Skin on Skin, Deliria and Amour Nocturne. Like the first series the perfume boxes are covered in textured paper embossed with motifs specific to each perfume. This time a radiant fuchsia colour has been chosen to differentiate these new additions from the founding three perfumes. The French house’s ‘perfumer-in-residence’, Bertrand Duchaufour takes the collection total to six and the new additions are set for release in May-June 2014. The first fragrance communicates the explosive feeling of joy and the second fragrance is about introspection. The last of the new trio explores the emotion of passion. When I spoke with the perfumer in late November he talked about the collection being a creative vehicle to challenge him “to do something out of the normal, out of what we smell already.” For Les Explosions d’Emotions, Bertrand said, “I wanted to explore new atmospheres, new spheres of scent, new accords and new fragrances. It is supposed to be something completely different, not outrageous but something provocative.” True to his vision, these new fragrances are not outrageous in … Read More »
In my previous post I wrote of Bertrand Duchaufour’s saffron and rose pairing for Penhaligon’s Vaara. For L’Artisan Parfumeur, the master perfumer works with rose and saffron in an entirely different way. As the title suggests, this is the scent of two bodies in contact. Skin on Skin belongs to L’Artisan Parfumeur’s recently launched collection, Les Explosions d’Emotions. It is a collection that challenged Bertrand to “evoke specific emotions through fragrances.” When I spoke with the perfumer in November he remarked the collection was one that posed “a challenge to do something out of the normal, out of what we smell already. I wanted to explore new atmospheres, new spheres of scent, new accords and new fragrances.”
Over the past decade there has been a mini exodus away from the mainstream as consumers discover niche perfumery. At the start of the revolution, a considerable number of perfume buffs gravitated toward challenging smells, the stinkier the better. Perhaps it was the consumer expressing joy over their newfound freedom from all the mainstream fruity florals perfumes and endless marine-inspired colognes. Their new scented playground became fragrances such as Serge Lutens’ Muscs Koblai Khan, a voracious animalic perfume, which to this day reminds me … Read More »
India once again lends itself to inspire a modern day perfume story. In this case the story is told by Penhaligon’s, one of England’s oldest and most respected perfume houses. What began as a private commission for India’s Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur has been reinterpreted and last year it became a permanent addition to the house’s commercial line. The brand’s CEO, Sarah Rotheram and French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour made several visits to India’s regal state of Rajasthan, to understand the likes and tastes of the Maharaja and to experience the seasonal smells of Jodhpur and the surrounding desert land of Marwar. No stranger to the creation of this style of location perfume, in 2012 Bertrand recreated the scent of dawn in Seville for L’Artisan Parfumeur and blogger/writer Denyse Beaulieu. In the same year he authored three fragrances for Neela Vermeire, inspired by India during three different eras. For Penhaligon’s, Bertrand takes us on another Indian journey in the form of Vaara, an eau de parfum named after the Maharaja’s granddaughter. Unlike Neela Vermeire’s lavishly coloured Mohur, Vaara is a sheer, watercolour portrait of garden flowers. With India offering so many intense colours, smells and tastes to inspire perfumers, it … Read More »