There comes a time – after the great gluttony that festive celebrations be – when one begins to crave salad. The verdant crunch of a lettuce leaf, the peppery bite of a radish, or luscious vibrancy of a vine-ripened tomato suddenly prove irresistible after mountains of sweetness and stodge. The same is true of scents, we find – from the spices and snuggle-me-closer warm woodiness we now want some FRESHNESS and something new to smell! Luckily, there are now some fragrances utilising innovative new vegetable extracts (yes, you read that right), and no, you wont actually smell like a salad bowl, don’t worry.
Yes indeed, there’s been a veritable glut of vegetable notes cropping up in perfumes lately, from beetroots and carrots through to artichokes and even cauliflowers in this brand new gourmand category of scents. If you’ve over-indulged on rich food, consider a salad, and (far more enjoyable) getting your greens in fragrant form.
‘The French Garden’ is a new collection of six fragrances from L’Officine Universelle Buly that garland vegetable notes with flowers and musks, all giving off a morning dew freshness. The launch happily coincided with the publication of our own garden themed edition of the magazine in 2023, The Perfumer’s Garden – because really, ever since the pandemic, it has all been about how much we get from our gardens and green spaces we can access for our mental health; how they inspire us all.
‘A garden is like a perfect universe,’ agrees Buly’s co-founder, Victoire de Taillac (pictured in her own garden, below). ‘A paradise. A haven… Gardening means being outside in all weathers, with all your sense awakened. The smells come together and surprise you…’ Also taking the senses by surprise are combinations like Indian Cucumber and Syrian mint, offering ‘crazy minty joy’, in a cloak of musk, and Iraqi Beetroot and Egyptian Rhubarb, tethered to the earthiness of patchouli. Or enjoy that note du jour, geranium, adding an extra dash of green to Watercress & Sardinian Parsley.
Some of the notes (like rhubarb, carrot and cucumber) have been used for many years by noses in their creations, while others seem more peculiar at first: sweet potato? It seemed incongruous, but oh it works amazingly well! They all do, having been expertly blended to achieve an almost photo-realistic encounter at first sniff, which then melds with your skin to become the fine fragrances they truly are. Basically put, no matter which you plump for, we promise you will NOT end up smelling like a soup or bowl of salad!
The project began when Buly co-founder Ramdane Touhami bid on an antique seed box in an auction. Having won it, he wondered if these precious seeds collected over hundreds of years could still be planted. Sadly that experiment didn’t flourish, but it did plant the seed of an idea: what if their next fragrances could reflect the love we all had for our gardens and green spaces during lockdown? A scented escapism in every spritz?
“Les Jardins Français” brings back to life an intoxicating and unique palette of garden fragrances. They all seem to be seized by the morning dew during a morning stroll through the vegetable garden and orchard, between rows of plants coming from the farthest ends of the world, acclimatised since Antiquity by patient monks, meticulous collectors and erudite healers, all genius gardeners and gatherers. Like a miraculous harvest in a universal garden, with freshly raked paths adorned with rare flowers, these armfuls of familiar vegetables and simple herbs, these aromatic and sunny delicious bouquets delight the senses and the heart.
Les Jardin Français is available online at www.buly1803.com and at their Selfridges counter: £145 for 75ml. La Sizaine collection of six x 9ml travel perfumes is also available for £108. The perfect way to sample the while collection (because you will need to smell them all!)
Since the launch of the fragrances, there’s been another crop of newness with Savon Superfin soaps and the divinely moisturising Lait Virginal to complement. One thing’s for certain – this growing L’Officine Buly Les Jardins Français collection is un-beet-able. [Apologies]
Leaps in technology have given perfumers access to new aroma molecules, which for the first time allow natural extracts of vegetable notes to be used in perfumery. To read even more about this remarkable vegetable revolution in the perfume world, take a look at the Spray Your Five a Day feature, which appeared in the late summer issue of The Scented Letter magazine; but meanwhile we urge you to also seek out some other examples of this bumper crop as your New Year’s scent resolution…
Salvatore Ferragamo Giungle di Seta (pea)
Inspired by Ferragamo’s exotic silk prints, the verdant sweetness of pea shoots entwine jungle vines, tempered by the powdery familiarity of peony: nature, tamed.
£86 for 100ml eau e parfum ferragamo.com
Shay & Blue Clementine (watercress)
Succulent citrus wreathed in swags of laurel leaves and the bright, peppery green of watercress; flagging spirits further revived via petitgrain’s piquant sunshine.
From £25 for 10ml eau de parfum shayandblue.com
Diptyque Eau Rose Eau de Parfum (artichoke)
Artichoke was added to enhance the original rose oil – fleshy, green, slightly bitter, it speaks of melancholy moments wandering walled gardens, arboreal amour.
£140 for 75ml eau de parfum diptyque.com
To the Fairest Élan Vital (greens/nettle)
A settling of greens and grounding vetiver on forest-y floors, the gathering of soft moss and patchouli to line a cosy bolthole with, a cover of golden leaves.
£85 for 50ml eau de parfum tothefairest.com
Comme des Garçons Rouge (beetroot)
Familiar notes are daringly subverted as blood red berries and earthy beetroot meet supremely calming swirls of iced incense and charred leather.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com
Jack Perfume Covent Garden (carrot)
The insouciant naughtiness of Withnail’s ‘Camberwell carrot’ becomes a market stroll, munching on vegetables as an aromatic, ginger-tinged breeze excites.
£95 for 100ml eau de parfum ab-presents.com
Bohoboco Wild Carrot Oud (carrot)
Carrots ripped out with roots, clods and bundled in newspaper, nestled in the crook of a leather-clad elbow, biked to a pipe-smoking lover down winding country lanes.
£96.50 for 50ml parfum frmoda.com
Maya Njie Voyeur Verde (fennel)
The comfort of cut grass and freshly washed car leather, aniseed sweets sucked on
the back seat, windows rolled-down to drink in forest air – home in time for tea.
£95 for 50ml eau de parfum mayanjie.com
Try a sample of Voyeur Verde in the Maya Njie Discovery Set for £34
L’Atelier Parfum Verte Euphorie (carrot)
The instant WHOOSH of sunshine-y citrus presages leafiness and crunchy carrot in the heart, earthy sweetness swathed in fluffiness on the softly musky base.
£59 for 50ml eau de parfum qvcuk.com
Roger & Gallet Verveine Utopie (fennel)
Fronds of licoricey fennel tickle the senses, the herbaceous verdancy rippled with spices and fringed with decadence as wormwood-infused absinthe has its way.
£127.50 for 500ml extrait de Cologne escentual.com
Stories No.2 (tomato leaf / greenhouse)
The soothing steam of a childhood memory: grandfather’s greenhouse, his pipe smoke encircling tomato plants, rose cuttings, the joy of running barefoot.
£75 for 30ml eau de parfum in our Shop
DS & Durga Bistro Waters (bell peppers)
A savoury special of juicy green peppers and aromatic, just-chopped herbs with undercurrents of fancy cocktails to follow, late-night lock-ins and snogging the chef.
£148 for 50ml eau de parfum libertylondon.com
Paco Rabanne Fabulous Me (pumpkin)
Eschewing showiness, a warm snuggle that speaks of cosiness, silky sandalwood wrapped around fleshy pumpkin; rhubarb’s tartness tempering the sweetness.
4160 Tuesdays Le Jardin de Monsieur McGregor (cucumber/celery)
Mr McGregor’s pipe smoke trail traces a rambunctious bunny through a Lake District garden: leafy greens, creamy mushrooms and nibbled strawberries.
£70 for 30ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com
Written by Suzy Nightingale