Since a year ago there were rumors on the web about Bertrand Duchaufour working on a fragrance based on orange blossom and incense, two notes that seldom go well with my nose. Unfortunately I can't help it: orange blossom up my nostrils always rings a bell about detergent. So what makes most of the people dream about spring on the mediterranean coasts, to me coming from the Po Valley sounds like a coarse tinkling of dishes and it's relentlessly connected to soap bars and laundry. Another trouble is incense but the genius of Duchaufour already succeded in making me fond of it in scents like Dzongkha and Neela Vermeire's Trayee, where his mastery turned it into something light years away from the aftermath of High Mass. Just for this reason, despite the soap&thurible dread brood over it, I was really curious about how Bertrand could have developed this idea.
|Denyse at Esxence 2012|
fotographed by Raphaella Berkley
In her non-fiction narrative "The Perfume Lover" she talks about the encounter with Bertrand and the exchange of travel memories between them and also about a trip to Seville during the Holy week and in particular of a passionate encounter during the madrugada, the night before the Holy Saturday. Incense mixed with the believers colognes, the votivo candles, the warm skin of two lovers, Habanita on her neck and the smell of tobacco on his fingers. It's the dawn and the wind loaded the smell of orange blossoms carries away this magic in motionless wait for the Easter. The perfume aims to bottle the memory of this fleeting moment, this Duende.
The opening is slightly aldehydic and gives great diffusion to the dense white petals while the green, sappy bitterness of petitgrain citronnier (the lemon buds) adds freshness echoing to the citrus colognes popular in Spain since ever. What Bertrand and Denyse chose to emphasize here is for sure the clean, bright aspect of orange blossom rather than the nocturnal indolic one. Among indolic flowers used in perfumery, tuberose, jasmin and orange blossom, the latter is the dryest lacking the lactonic facet that hides inside the tuberose a reference to the feminine milky skin. It's the lack of this softness that took 128 trials for Bertrand to perfectly blend it with resinoid olibanum in the basenotes taming the conflict with its metallic, mineral, almost fleshy side.
As a go-between these two notes there's a delicate amber accord playing with all the surprising shades of Luisieri lavender absolute, a variety of lavender spontaneously growing in the south of Spain. Compared to the cleaner and more floral Angustifolia lavender in fact, this is ruled by the camphoraceous aromatic side on top, then it gets floral to become later balsamic and honeyed rendering it halfway with lavender, cistus, immortelle and blond tobacco. This perfectly fits between the fresh opening and incense warmed by benzoin and beeswax.
|Conca d'oro (1957) - Leonard Van Matt|
P.S. Looking forward to meet again Bertrand Duchaufour and Denyse Beaulieu, let me tell you in advance that L'Artisan Parfumeur will lauch Séville à l'aube in September during Pitti Fragranze. If you can't wait to try it till then though, you can always enter the preview samples draw on Grain de Musc. Good luck!