"Fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale" Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
|Bernard Bourgeois at Esxence 2013|
As usual, the Osmothèque with its lectures is one of the presences it's worth waiting for at Esxence. Moreover this year they fulfilled one of my big wishes (and I didn't even had to ask for it) bringing to Milan the monographic lecture about animal raw materials in perfumery that I missed the last year in Versailles and that they are going to repeat on May 14th.
Raw materials coming from animals have been used for centuries in traditional perfumery both as a fixative and also because of their particular vibrating and evocative notes that speak to us in their atavic and mysterious voice. It would be difficult trying to resume in a single post Bernard Bourgeois brilliant speech about ambergris, deer musk, castoreum and civet. As besides the beautiful materials and creations the Osmothèque led us smell I also recently had the chance to smell old and new perfumes containing ambergris, I want to tell you more about this fascinating material which millenary usage is lost in the myth: the floating gold.
Once dried, ambergris is crushed and put in alcolic tincture at 3-5%. The longer it soaks (6 months minimum), the better the olfactory quality of the tincture is. Its aroma is complex, marine and animalic, woody and balsamic, honeyed and tobaccoish with leathery hints and has an exceptional lasting power which makes ii a very good fixative too. It can be easily detected smelling it because it joins an animal side with the seabreeze giving that irresistible smell like tanned skin right after the beach. Sometimes one aspect dominates, sometimes the other. For example just smelling No. 5 in its original formula you can guess Ernest Beaux favourite is the one landing more to the light, marine, almost floral side. Wearing vintage Shalimar instead, you can feel beating a very sensual vanilla accord revealing Jacques Guerlain's love for the more fecal and almos leathery ambergris quality.
Here's the < second part >. Read more!