Some marriages are made in heaven – gin and tonic springs immediately to mind as a perfect example – but fragrance and couture have been happily co-habiting for decades. It seems only natural, then, for the renowned French fashion house of Givenchy to spool together the strands of their Haute Couture heritage and fragrant offerings by adding a distinctly refined collection to that scented wardrobe: introducing L’Atelier Givenchy – a permanent fine perfumery anthology that captures the quintessence of the Givenchy style in seven distinct fragrances with which to adorn the skin.
Now Givenchy have embraced a third partner in conjunction with their fragrance and Haute Couture, as London’s prestigious Café Royal are currently hosting a unique cocktail menu themed around the L’Atelier Givenchy fragrances, carefully blended by Tiziano Tasso, a master mixologist at Café Royal, each of the seven cocktails has been especially developed in partnership with the fragrance experts at Givenchy, to reflect the differing characters and inspirations behind each perfume.
We were lucky enough to be invited to sample some of the cocktails (not all seven, we hasten to add!) in the stunningly refurbished Green Bar at the Café Royal – a perfume/Haute Couture/cocktail ménage à trois made in heaven…
The fragrance – ‘Chypre Caresse is the olfactory translation of a timeless and delicate Haute Couture dress featuring diaphanous pleats, fine embroidery and evanescent feathers. Subtly, like mist rising over morning dew, this sparkling, crystalline chypre exalts freshness before gradually revealing its timeless woody chic. It gives natural charisma and aerial nobility and grace to the individual who wears it. Crystalline lemon flesh blended with jasmine dew brings a luminous fluidity to the accord. The vegetal green accent of angelica evokes a parasol of petals as soft as dotted swiss, with a refined, suave and musky scent. Then comes patchouli, which gives the base note a precise architecture.’
The cocktail – A delicate and timeless fresh chypre developed with the elegant aromas of gin, jasmine, lemon citrus and the subtle, yet rich, notes of honey.
The fragrance – ‘Exotic, chic and radical, it envelops the skin with an ultra-voluptuous, woody floral heat. The fragrance kicks off by unveiling notes at once classic and unexpected. The fruity-green touch of mandarin leaves foreshadows the opulence of a luxuriant adventure. Legendary ylang-ylang enchants this olfactory composition with its Creole charm and exotic, gourmand sweetness. An enveloping, woody base of sandalwood also escapes conventional codes to reveal lusciously smooth, sunny accents.’
The cocktail – An ethno-chic and graphic woody floral, featuring an unusual combination of flavours including Rum, sour apple sherbet, orange Curacao and mandarin oils, to add balance and depth.
The fragrance – ‘Néroli Originel was inspired by the model of a dress worn by Givenchy’s first muse, Audrey Hepburn. The alchemy of her encounter with Hubert de Givenchy gave rise to a new style blending grace with elegance. For the innately chic person, neroli is the must-have scent. Radiant and delicate, neroli blossoms here like a powdery kiss under the caress of iris which, like a murmur of taffetas, tones down neroli’s luminosity with its subdued tonality. Musk-seamed vanilla wraps its rich smoothness around the composition’s vaporous contours in a generous ball effect.’
The cocktail -An ambrée green for the elegance of an icon, made using the most traditional of French spirit, Cognac, combined with vanilla, lemon and essential oils from bitter orange.
The fragrance – ‘The audacious blend of Cuir Blanc is controlled and complex. Leather, the ultimate noble material, evokes the perfumer’s original profession of glove maker. An ancestral alliance of French luxury… Carnal yet luminous, white pepper, white musk and white leather compose a quasi-tactile olfactory approach to translate the sensorial pleasure of leather on the skin. It defies the notion of colour, creating a triumphant balance. Sculptural and absolute, the personality of Cuir Blanc transcends the conventional standards of fashion and perfumery.’
The cocktail – A radical, carnal neo-leather, this martini style cocktail is created using Siberian pine needle extract, to give the palate a woody and fresh taste.
The fragrance – ‘Bois Martial echoes Givenchy Couture’s ultra-structured, architectured cuts, which are frequently softened with a free and vaporous touch. The fragrance’s olfactory identity adopts a special dimension by building on a wood seldom used in perfumery: coconut wood. This wood chooses pineapple sage as its wild and vivacious emissary. The unexpectedly creamy facets of pineapple and coconut defy the calculated austerity of the whole fragrance by composing an eccentric harmony. This whimsical, gourmand accord is illuminated by the dry, intense radiance of cedar wood. The wood becomes legend and turns Couture in an intense olfactory minimalism.’
The cocktail – A noble and legendary gourmand woody infusion, an ultra-structured cocktail created using Jamaican rum, pineapple and sage leaves.
The fragrance – ‘Suggestive of lush nature and animal impulses, Ambre Tigré is a feline fantasy, a call for passion. Amber evokes the bewitching, magnetic sensuality of Givenchy Couture skin and fur prints, while the fullness of vanilla and the animality of labdanum ciste soften the amber’s fervour, completely melting into it, as a leopard’s spots blend into its coat. Ambre Tigré awakens our most sensual instincts, preparing us for enchantment of all kinds.’
The cocktail – A mysterious and feline ambery hued concoction, featuring rye American vodka unusually combined with Dutch honey whisky and English amber beer.
The fragrance – ‘Oud Flamboyant brilliantly translates Givenchy’s creative force and excellence. Just like Haute Couture summons the art of the splendorous and the spectacular, this olfactory creation summons the sacred spirit of the Orient to immortalise the magic of bodies adorned with precious embroideries and golden-brown fabrics. Bedecked with rare and precious facets, like the golden mosaics that dazzle on Givenchy silhouettes, it evokes an extroverted and luminous potency. Unsettling and enchanting, it sensually blends with the mystical fervour of labdanum ciste and the smoky aromas of leather. The fragrance of One Thousand and One Nights, Oud Flamboyant symbolises the eternal feminine in all its strength and mystery.’
The cocktail – A bold and magnetic smoky woody drink featuring an unusual combination of flavours, including Japanese whisky and mandarin juice, to add balance and depth.
We were thrilled to see how the Café Royal have seemlessly worked their distinguished heritage into a stylish, elegantly modern and supremely relaxing place to see and be seen – the hotel’s Green Bar is a fabulous cocktail destination, a snugly intimate evocatiion of 1920s Paris, and open daily from 12noon until midnight. Most of all, we are thrilled to hear that such is the success of the Givenchy cocktail menu, The Café Royal are thinking about extending the menu beyond the end of the March (their original end date) and, fingers crossed, it may even become a long-term fixture.
Fine perfumery and refined cocktails… we’ll drink to that!
L’Atelier Givenchy collection £150 for 100ml eau de parfum – Try them at Harrods