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 the sense of being shocking. Instead I find them inviting perfume fans on a journey to explore cleverly composed combinations, beautiful natural raw materials and they further enhance L’Artisan Parfumeur’s name as one of the world’s innovators in artistic perfumery.
The three new additions are titled Haute Voltige, Onde Sensuelle and Rapelle-Toi.
Haute Voltige: Suspended on a high wire, this is a physical moment when adrenaline surges and emotion creates goose bumps on the skin. L’Artisan Parfumeur describe the fragrance as “an explosion of joy.” “This is an Eau de Parfum with an expansive and extroverted personality: where a generous floral peony note meets with the unexpected fruitiness of pomegranate.”
Top Notes: Pomegranate (fruity and metallic green), black pepper
Heart Notes: Red peony, juniper berry
Base Notes: Wood, oak moss, fir balsam
“Chypre Floral Fruity”
Impressions: My first impression of this collection is a thought for the complexity of what Bertrand is offering. On the surface, each fragrance feels straightforward in a nonchalant way until you unpack the parts in your mind, revealing the many interwoven layers that exist within the perfume’s mechanics. For Haute Voltige, Bertrand captures the emotion of human energy in a similar way to which he captured the energy of Mumbai for Neela Vermeire’s Bombay Bling. The fruity top notes burst with 21st century zest and red fruit. The aforementioned metallic notes couple well with lush, dew-kissed peonies. The dry-down, whilst woody and described as chypre, never truly gives way to the wave of fruit and flowers that dominate this exuberant scent. For L’Artisan Parfumeur and Bertrand Duchafour, joy is a red fruit cocktail garnished with garden flowers.
Onde Sensuelle – is “a captivating wave of passion” and “the ache of desire.” Given these intense emotions are felt differently by every individual; translating such a powerful concept into a perfume must undoubtedly be difficult for any master perfumer. Bertrand approaches the brief by creating a dynamic series of contrasts and maybe these notes and accords, which bounce off the interior glass walls of the perfume’s bottle can be a metaphor for the wave of energy felt inside the body when passion and desire is experienced? But I won’t get too engrossed in the concept- simply speaking this is a very good perfume and I feel great wearing it.
Top Notes: Bergamot, orange, grapefruit
Heart Notes: Spicy bouquet (cumin, juniper, ginger, saffron, cardamom, jasmine sambac
Base Notes: Animal musk effect, amber, oud wood
“Spicy Floral Amber”
Impressions: After a few days of wearing Onde Sensuelle, this is my current favourite of the three new additions to the Explosions d’Emotions collection. I think Onde Sensuelle is a great example of Bertrand Duchaufour’s ability to create harmony among disparate notes. Each facet of the fragrance pulls in a different direction, from spices to white flowers to animalic musk to amber. Cumin-haters need not fear because although it is mentioned as part of the spicy bouquet, the odour of sweat, which cumin oil is often employed to impart in fragrances is not its raison d’être here and Onde Sensuelle smells clean. Even if it is not listed in the official notes, perhaps it is loosely encompassed by the term ‘grapefruit’; Onde Sensuelle has a ripe-fruit note that leans towards being bitter-tropical. This pulpy zest contrasts wonderfully with the rounded white floral heart of jasmine sambac, which in turn contrasts wonderfully with the bouquet of spices. The result is a childhood memory revived and I smell a spicy bubblegum I loved as a kid. As the perfume progresses the base reveals soft amber, an accord L’Artisan Parfumeur have always done so beautifully. Unlike the odour of clean-white musks or the cuddly musks, which line many feminine fragrances, Onde Sensuelle’s musk has grunt and the perfume finishes with amber and a textured animalic note.
Rapelle-Toi: While the other new additions to the collection are cut from a more extroverted cloth, Rapelle-Toi is designed to be a quiet, self-reflecting fragrance. L’Artisan Parfumeur describe it as “a beautiful transcendence”… “with its mesmerising opulence, gardenia evokes this quiet introspection, enlivened with fresh vibrating notes of Sichuan pepper. This magnificent flower is enhanced with musks and smooth sandalwood with honey accents.”
Top Notes: Gin, Sichuan pepper
Heart Notes: Gardenia, incense
Base Notes: Sandalwood, musk, honey
“Floral Spicy Woody”
Impressions: If contemplation smelled of gardenias I am sure more people would meditate. Rapelle-Toi is delicate and soft in a manner reminiscent of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Caligna, created by perfumer Dora Baghriche-Arnaud. Her Mediterranean fig and jasmine de Grasse accords have an air of freedom that I also enjoy in Rapelle-Toi. Gin and pepper give Rapelle-Toi an interesting texture that is later eclipsed by a wash of white gardenias. The flower’s lactonic notes increase in volume as the fragrance evolves and these buttery effects are enhanced further by the milkiness of sandalwood, musk and honey. Like lily of the valley, gardenia is one of perfume’s fantasy notes and gardenia fragrances are wildly different, depending on the perfumer’s interpretation, skill and budget. Rapelle-Toi is an innocent white flower, unlike Estee Lauder’s uber-confident Tuberose Gardenia, or the melancholy Une Voix Noire by Serge Lutens. This is possibly the first time L’Artisan Parfumeur have ventured down the gardenia path so if you have been waiting with bated breath for them to release a gardenia fragrance, you can now breath a sigh of relief and take a moment to smell the gardenias!
Haute Voltige, Onde Sensuelle and Rapelle-Toi will be available in the second quarter of 2014 from selected L’Artisan Parfumeur stockists in Australia. For details of your nearest stockist, please contact Agence de Parfum.