I Love les Carottes is another curiosity conjured from the mind of perfumer Olivia Giacobetti for Honore des Pres. The French label is renown for its quirky creations that are brave and unconventional. For this small range of New York inspired scents, the French perfumer spent time in Harlem working with carrots sourced from local organic farmers to inspire different ways of expressing the scent. Giacobetti settled on a blend of organic carrot seeds, oranges, patchouli and benzoin resin. The final product is derived from 100% natural ingredients, 80% of which are organic. Honore des Pres describe the scent as, “an irreverent fragrance for trendy girls and boys. A raw blend, cult-like and artsy, a soft cocktail.” Carrot seed oil is sometimes used in perfumery to compliment iris notes. Giacobetti is reported to have used it for her construction of iris in Hermes’ Hiris, which she created in 1999. The scent has a woody profile with a floral aspect that is a complex perfume in and of itself; no wonder the perfumer saw potential in transforming it into a soliflore, or should I say solivegetal?
In simple terms, Honore des Pres describe I Love les Carottes using a classic pyramid structure:
Head notes- raw carrots
Heart notes- sweet orange, orris butter and bourbon vanilla
Base notes- patchouli and benzoin
I am not a synesthete like Frederic Malle who says he sees colour when he smells, but the scent of I Love les Carottes, for me, is the colour purple (not orange). The perfume can easily be passed off as linear but on closer inspection there are noticeable changes as the fragrance evolves. It begins with sunny notes of oranges and carrots. The Bourbon vanilla note showcases the variety of odours that can result from extracting scent from the bean. Vanilla is often stereotyped as being sweet and gourmand, yet Giacobetti has chosen a vanilla essence that has a dry resinous note adding an earthy quality to the fragrance. It is as if the wet earth clinging to the uprooted vegetables were part of the perfumer’s brief. Patchouli lends its woody character to the orris butter and carrot seed notes resulting in a 21st century environmentally conscious scent, presented in 100% recycled packaging no less.
Iris perfume lovers should enjoy this quirky take on carrots/iris. It’s quite an abstract ride the first time you smell it. It is one of those fragrances you have to first smell and then decide how you feel about it. You don’t hear too many people saying they want to smell like carrots. I don’t think it was designed to appeal to large numbers of people and it is great that small houses like this exist and they are daring to take risks.
Hermes Hiris, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Heeley Iris de Nuit
Perfumer: Olivia Giacobetti (Iskia)
Bottle designer: Saverglass
Release date: 2010
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Soft Floral