January 7, 2012

Journal d'un parfumeur

Two films about what I consider to be one of the most important books ever written... Journal d'un parfumeur. Jean-Claude Ellena. I will spend the rest of my evening speaking with a French accent. Try it. It really makes life better. Bonne soirée à vous tous et à la prochaine.

January 6, 2012

Opoponax - from monastery to Meisel

Opoponax, also known as sweet myrrh, grows in particular in Iran, Italy, Greece, Turkey and in Somalia. The herb grows one-third meter to one meter in height. A resin is extracted from the stem by making an incision. The resin is drinkable in liquid but has a bitter taste, and the odor of the fresh resin is supposedly also quite unpleasant. The resin hardens when exposed to air and creates little dried pieces, which is how it is most commonly sold. And here is where the story starts getting more olfactory interesting and pleasant: the dried resin is inflammable and if burned as incense it gives a woody balsamic smell that has been a part of spiritual ceremonies for many, many, many years.  The name opoponax, sometimes spelled opopanax, has its origin in the Ancient Greek word for vegetable juice and healing. 

Photo: getreligion.org

January 5, 2012

When scent strikes.

I opened a new bottle of perfume today. Not my usual kind of fragrance but an inevitable excursion.

While waiting for my train, I fix my hair and make a movement that creates a thin veil of fragrance that makes a whispering dance around me. It is unlikely anyone else feels it, but I do, because it is close and because my nose reacts to a different scent that I usually have.

And then it strikes me, with a force that completely stops my heartbeat for a second.

January 2, 2012

Voyage d’Hermès

A new year of ventures and aspirations deserves to be inaugurated with the right fragrance. My choice was Voyage d’Hermès for my first day at work in 2012. 

Voyage d’Hermès is a recent creation (2010) from Jean-Claude Ellena. Voyages are a re-occuring theme at Hermès. If you look at the ambitious catalogues and films that Hermès create, as well as their website, you will see that there is often a feeling of expedition in the story. The logo itself with the calèche evokes the feeling of travelling and the saddles are also a part of ventures.

Voyage is unisex, or as Hermès say ”shared”. Ellena belongs to the perfumers who call gender labels for perfumes a commercial construction. If you have read my post on pour homme and pour femme you already know how I feel about the matter.

Voyage is a woody fragrance with musk and carries a kind of undefined feeling. When you apply it, the first impression is very fresh but dry, vital, the citrus is strong but has a slight coarsness. It definitely awakens you, like a kiss in the neck from a freshly shaved man. But after a moment it softens and the woody stability appears as well as the cardamom.

Some Ellena-experts say that this is a typical Ellena perfume. I agree. It has that rare combination of depth and simplicity that Ellena creates.

The bottle is designed by Philippe Mouquet, an in-house designer at Hermès, and inspired by a magnifying glass.

The launch of Voyage was accompanied by ambitious films, according to Hermès tradition. You find  this one on Hermès web site and then there was a beautiful commercial. This is the long version.