By Eva Whalen
If you’ve never heard of Editions de Parfums from Frederic Malle, read closely, you’re in for a treat. Frederic Malle has enabled a collection of distinctive perfumes by individual craftsman perfumers that may very well be some of the best on the planet. Luxurious perfumes have become rarer since “noses” (perfumers) have been constrained by financial and marketing concerns, so Malle created Editions de Parfums as an alternative company where craftsman perfumers can fully express themselves.
Many of the fragrances under Malle’s umbrella are experimental and artful, and are the types of perfumes you simply can’t find anywhere else. Malle’s perfume artisans were given free rein financially and creatively, and the collective result is very impressive. Sampling of Malle’s perfume collection is like viewing great works of art in a museum or hearing various musical compositions, and Malle wanted these comparisons to be made, for great perfumers really are great artists.
Pierre Bourdon is a Malle perfumer and the creator of Iris Poudre, a floral composed of magnolia, carnation, lily of the valley, ebony, vanilla and iris, among other unique touches. Bourdon’s artistic perfuming style is bold and innovative.
Olivia Giacobetti created her own perfume company called Iskia, yet wanted to contribute to Malle’s collection. Her inspiration comes from the bounty of fragrances found in natural settings: barks, woods, quince, sand, the smell of temples, and linen sheets. Her perfume in the colelction, En Passant, contains white lilac, water, cucumber, orange, and wheat.
Jean-Claude Ellena was born into a family of perfumers in Grasse, France, and began composing perfumes at seventeen. He loves the scents of everyday life: wax, clean floors, spices, yogurt, an old sweater, chocolate, tea. His contribution, Cologne Bigarade, is a light cologne with a bold, bitter orange formula that leaves the wearer with a fresh feeling. It also contains cardamom, cedar wood, hay, and pepper.
Maurice Roucel’s Musc Ravageur is the ultimate in sensual fragrance, a heady mix of sweet amber, musk, lavendar, tonka bean, coumarine, clove, bergamot,cedar, and vanilla. Une Fleur De Cassie by Dominique Ropion is a novel fragrance based around the scent of the warm-smelling cassie flower, and fine artist Edmond Roudnitska’s Le Parfum De Therese is an intoxicating mix of nutmeg, plum, violet, melon, mandarin, jasmine, pepper, vetiver, and leather. Noir Epices by Michel Roudnitska, director of Art & Parfum, is a distinctive woody oriental. Lipstick Rose by Ralf Schwieger is an aria to femininity and a powdered floral, and Lys Mediterranee by Edouard Flechier (also born in Grasse, France) is a precise blend of water-lily, ginger-lily, lily of the valley, anjelica root, orange and ambrette seeds designed to evoke a gorgeous summer evening near the spray of the Mediterranean shore.
Malle also offers a test kit, a box filled with 9 x 5 ml lab bottles so you can mix and match to create your own fragrant masterpiece. What will you call it? The Frederic Malle line can be found at Barney’s or 888-8-BARNEYS.
Another craftsman perfumer any lover of fragrance should know about is Gerard Casassus, a perfumer located in mountainous Lantosque an hour from Nice in France. He lives and works in a farmhouse built in 1650, and his company was formed twelve years ago in Grasse, the French heart of the perfume business. His web site, www.6emesens.com, offers 60 different fragrances and 600 products in total, many of them wholly natural and hand-made. Check out the list of bestsellers on the site, enjoy the picture of France, and then wrap yourself in one of Gerard Casassus’s floral fragrance designs.