Take one precious jewellery name – the very first to open their doors on Paris’s Place Vendôme, now synonymous with precious gems.
Mix in five perfumers whose names are almost as glittering as Boucheron‘s jewels – and allow them free rein with the costliest ingredients, sourced from exotic faraway lands.
What you have is a dazzling new line-up of fragrances – known simply as Boucheron‘s The Fragrance Collection – which just landed exclusively at Harrods. (Find it in the Black Hall, where until 26th February these Boucheron creations claim pride of place.)
As Jean-Christophe Hérault – perfumer-creator of the collection’s swirlingly warm and sensual Ambre d’Alexandrie fragrance – explained to us: ‘It is very unusual – and very special – for perfumers to be told: “you’ve got complete freedom”. Freedom to choose the most precious ingredients, and freedom of creation…’
Each of the fragrances has an exquisite colour – and each of the satisfyingly hefty flacons is tied with a matching grosgrain ribbon; true luxury perfumery down to the last detail. They take their names from the key ingredient showcased in the composition, together with the far-flung source of that precious fragrant element. If you would like to delight your senses, they are most definitely worthy of a scent pilgrimage to Harrods right now…
Neroli d’Ispahan by Fabrice Pellegrin
Think of Ispahan and we tend to think of roses – but the air of this sun-drenched Persian city (which is at the crossroads of the silk and spice routes between East and West) is also sweet with the quintessentially sunny scent of neroli. At the heart of Firmenich perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin‘s sparkling creation, discover resinous cistus labdanum, alongside piquant pink peppercorn. As with everything in Boucheron‘s The Fragrance Collection, the base thrums intriguingly, with Ambrox gently warming patchouli’s distinctive earthy-woodiness.
Tubéreuse de Madras by Christophe Reynaud
Tuberose (an ingredient which stars in our next edition of The Scented Letter, by the way) was first cultivated in the city of Madras. In Christophe Reynaud’s hands, this exotic white floral is given a luminosity via cool, fresh violet leaf, accented by fruity passion fruit. Ylang ylang and frangipani, with its almond facets, deliver va-va-voom, with vanilla and sandalwood delivering a soft, sweet addictiveness to the tuberose absolute. A tuberose for tuberose-lovers – but with a clarity that those who aren’t converted to this uniquely heady bloom may enjoy, too.
Iris de Syracuse by Nathalie Lorson
Another superstar perfumer, another stellar ingredient: Nathalie Lorson is the only one of the perfumers to have ‘signed’ two of Boucheron‘s new creations – a reflection of her exalted status in the perfumer firmament, perhaps. Iris’s cooler aspect makes its presence known, first of all – alongside a crunch of pear, the tang of mandarin – gradually softening on the skin to reveal its signature powderiness. Jasmine, almond blossom and heliotrope also feature (the latter ramping up its almond-iness), before the skin deliciously warms the base notes: patchouli, vanilla and an airy white musk – giving us one of the more ethereal creations in this line-up.
Vanille de Zanzibar by Nathalie Lorson
Vanilla de Zanzibar is the second of Nathalie Lorson‘s beautiful confections for this Boucheron sextet – and while ostensibly this might lure gourmand-lovers (and won’t disappoint), its sweetness is just satisfying enough, without ever overwhelming. Jasmine and juicy pear (evidently one of Lorson’s signature ingredients, right now) contrast Bourbon vanilla’s comforting richness; for sure, there are caramel, syrupy, honeyed facets – but spices, to contrast, and the resinous warmth of Peru balsam. In the dry-down, white musks, sandalwood and patchouli underpin the construction – which sets out to evoke Africa’s ‘Wild Pearl’, the escapist island of Zanzibar, where the sky meets the sea.
Oud de Carthage by Dominique Ropion
It’s a given that all collections nowadays must feature an oudh – but here, it’s handled by a master, wrapped in resinous elements with an incense trail, subtly sweetened by honey, and finally delivering a rich, saddle-room leatheriness. Tonka bean also features – and if you love oudhs, you’ll quite simply adore the opulent sophistication of this.
Ambre d’Alexandrie by Jean-Christophe Hérault
As he explained to us over tea and scones at this collection’s launch at The Ritz London (hashtag #weloveourjob), IFF perfumer Jean-Christophe Hérault is obsessed by Egypt, travelling there several times a year. He’s especially fascinated by Ancient Egyptian perfumery and incense – notably kyphi, one of the mixtures burned to communicate with the Egyptian gods. Here, he introduces a modern version of Middle Eastern smoke: a note of narguilé tobacco smoke (often to be discerned in the air outside an Arabic restaurant). It surrounds the signature sweet amber with mystery; to us, Ambre d’Alexandrie is also the sexiest of the collection, hypnotising with ambergris, musk (the carnal, not the ‘clean’ kind), with cistus labdanum, benzoin and vanilla inviting you to spritz and re-spritz.
And unlike a tiara, it can – like the rest of the collection – be worn and enjoyed every darned day.
Written by Jo Fairley
Boucheron The Fragrance Collection £175 for 125ml eau de parfum
At Harrods (find it in the Black Hall)