Fragrance

By Liz Bekesz

Molton Brown’s Navigations Through Scent collection is a notable “Artisanal Journey in Fine Fragrance,” delving into the past and into the heritage of perfume itself. The collection traces its influences back to the ancient spice routes, and follows its key points. Navigations Through Scent offers a fragrant glimpse into the Ancient World, the birthplace of fragrance; moving from Egypt, China, and Indonesia into England for the trade, we then enter the New World in Canada. There are five fragrances, each one gorgeous in its own right, both inside and out: the fragrance is housed in a heavy, textured vessel of weight and class. Its shiny cap twists-to-spray. It’s all instantly classy and elegant, beautifully well-suited for both sexes.

We start the journey with the floriental-spicy Iunu, a seductive elixir which takes us to the birthplace of scent. Here, heady and mystical myrrh melds with drifts of hot pepper nigrum, sandalwood, and spiced clove bud. Egyptian White Jasmine lends the composition an elegant opulence. Also among the creations are Rogart, the perfectly wintry delight which promises to evoke the feeling of warm log cabin coziness while a blanket of clean snow covers the great outdoors. The scent succeeds, a New World juxtaposition of ice and heat done in an evocative woody-fresh-style, notes including crystallized cranberry and invigorating Canadian firwood balsam lightly tempered by the sweet, inviting touch of maple. Nicely contrasting the blast of cool fresh air that is Rogart is the sensual Singosari, inspired by the spices and memories of the tropics. A warm, spicy-woody scent, Singosari is about lush Indonesian patchouli, though root ginger, wooded nutmeg notes also play an important, not to mention charming, role. Green, aromatic Apuldre is intriguing and eccentric, with a crisp lively fizz at the top, thanks to juniper berry; violet leaf, cedar wood, grained leather and styrax. Lijiang takes a softer, more romantic approach with white Chinese osmanthus petal and tips of silky white tea, plus rose berries, white musk, and vetiver.

Principal Perfumer for Molton Brown, Jennifer Jambon spent an entire year traveling to the collection’s featured destinations, researching and exploring the finest and rarest ingredients. “The Navigations Through Scent collection has been designed to appeal to niche fragrance lovers everywhere,” she says. It certainly appeals to this one!

Navigations Through Scent is available at Saks Fifth Avenue and at http://www.moltonbrown.com.

Bottega Veneta, founded in Vicenza in 1966, has long stood for individuality and self-confidence; It’s a philosophy well-expressed in the brand’s famous motto, “When your own initials are enough.” Tomas Maier, the brand’s creative force, conceived of the brand’s first scent as a “dream of the Venetian countryside.” His dream countryside is replete with an elegant gentle warmth and sunshine; of course, there’s also an elegant yet austere old villa filled with a library of leather-bound books – here, the windows are open to invite the summer breeze, all earth and hay; forest and flowers. Renown master perfumer Michel Almairac interpreted these inspirations as a leathery floral chypre that subtly evokes the supple sensuality of Bottega Veneta’s fine leather goods. Nine D’Urso is an excellent match as the face of the fragrance; she is strikingly different in her beauty, yet hauntingly familiar (could have something to do with her parents, fashion icon Ines de las Fressange and Italian art dealer and businessman Luigi D’Urso). Available at Bergdorf Goodman and http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com.

With the new L’Essence eau de parfum by Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière wanted to revisit Balenciaga Paris and bring out “its essential character.” “You always have to revisit the past to discover something new,” Ghesquière declares. L’Essence shares the essential elements of Balenciaga Paris and is even housed in the same faceted bottle, yet this juice is green – and deliberately so. Here, Ghesquière “played with the rules of perfumery,” shaking up the traditional notions of the male and female. L’Essence is honest and vibrant; keen, intense, pure, and impulsive…all without apologies. Violet is there; yes, but it is by no means of the docile, shrinking variety: these are violet leaves tangled in vetiver and wrapped in leather ribbon. There’s an air of mystery tinged with calm rebellion here, and perhaps a hint of something magical within the woods. Charlotte Gainsbourg is once again perfectly matched as the radiant-yet-reserved face of the fragrance, shot by Stephen Meisel. Available at Bergdorf Goodman and http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com.

Originally published November 2011
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