Get £15 off a full-size Anima Vinci!

Every now and again at The Perfume Society, we come across a truly special new fragrance house that takes our breath away, and oh boy are you in for a treat when you discover the delights of Anima Vinci.

What’s more, when you buy their new Discovery Set, you can get a free £15 voucher for purchasing the full-size fragrance you happen to fall the hardest for! Read on to find out how…

Nathalie Vinciguerra had spent many years in the beauty and fragrance industry, working hard to eventually become Creative Director of L’Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon’s. Along the way, she made connections with some of the best perfumers in the world (read our page dedicated to Anima Vinci to find out exactly who), together seeking out the finest producers of perfume ingredients and ensuring their welfare, along with a deep respect for sustainable, environmentally-friendly working practices, and this ethos was foremost in her mind when creating her own fragrance house.

That moment you smell a scent you adore is truly special: You close your eyes and breathe it in again, deeper still, your mouth breaking into an unbidden smile, your shoulders relaxing as you exhale with a sigh of pure joy. Fragrances have the power to utterly uplift us, to trigger pleasure responses in the brain and transform our way of thinking, and this realisation compelled the already fragrantly experienced Nathalie to launch Anima Vinci.

An expert at talking the perfumer’s language, having spent years coming up with the briefs for some of the fragrances you already know and love, Nathalie realised she wanted to allow these ‘noses’ to create without the limitations and budget-restrictions a larger corporation necessarily need to impose. What’s more, as free-spirit who practically fizzes with energy, she wanted to share her excitement of our emotional connections to scent, and through smelling them, forming a deeper connection to all of our senses, and to the world around us.

You might recall that, earlier this year, we were lucky enough to travel with Nathalie on her annual visit to the Grasse rose harvest – a truly magical experience we will never forget! Now, we are thrilled to announce we are now selling the Anima Vinci Discovery Set and cannot wait for you to dive on in and get to know these stunning scents for yourself.

(And don’t forget – you’ll also get a £15 VOUCHER redeemable against a full-size fragrance from the range! To be honest, the only problem you’re going to have is deciding which you love the most…)

Lime Spirit – Lime acts as a stimulating tonic for the mind and body. Lime pacifies your mood and boost brain power. It is a powerful ancient remedy for cleansing the aura and restoring self-confidence

Rose Prana – It benefits the heart chakra that is responsible for love, spiritual wisdom and mental clarity. Influences the central nervous system, boosts self-confidence, self – esteem and positive feeling. Strengthens the aura and stimulate the body

Jasmine Yang – Tonic and relaxant, it generates a positive reaction in the mind, enhances self-confidence, helps to change the mood and increase spiritual well being

Wood of Life – This elevating, soft, uplifting and sweet woody scent has been used for thousands of years for attaining illumination of mind, awaking self-love

Oud Delight – Illuminates the mind and fortifies the power of thinking. Increases the sense of strength, bringing in tranquillity, increasing cerebral functioning and strengthening the nervous system

Anima Vinci Discovery Set £15 for 5 x 1.5ml eau de parfum + £15 Voucher
Now available in our Online Shop

Stopping to Smell the Roses

You can actually smell the Anima Vinci roses in Grasse before you see them. I had been driven from Nice airport to the fields by renowned (and now independent) perfumer, Thomas Fontaine, and have to admit that, as we cruised along the motorway with the steeply exotic looking hills of Grasse surrounding us, I felt like I was (as the young people say these days) living my best life. As I opened the car door a wall of fragrance greeted me, an all-pervading scent that at times was tantalisingly sheer, carried away by a sudden breeze; but mostly hovered like an olfactory canopy, a ceiling of scent.

How to describe the fragrance? Centifolia roses are the epitome of dewy freshness, gathered in the early morning before the sun can evaporate the precious oils, and with a delicate ripe raspberry note flickering through a green, graceful core. Probably the best way I can make it manifest is to say they smell like their colour, but nothing can quite do justice to the experience of closing your eyes and breathing in that smell for yourself.

Left-right: perfumer Thomas Fontaine, Nathalie Vinciguerra, Mr. Joubert

We were visiting the rose fields owned by a farmer called Mr Joubert, who looks exactly as you hope a French rose-field farmer would – frayed flannel shirt and skin long-tanned by his lifetime of hard work in those fields. In fact, I later learned that his family had owned them for centuries, his strong, careful hands expertly cupping the pale pink petals and quickly, so-gently, twisting them to come away as a full bloom. The buds are left on the bush and tomorrow, the process repeated until every petal has been safely gathered and taken in hessian sacks to what basically amounts to Mr Joubert’s garage. Piled en-masse, they’re weighed and transported within two hours to the place that processes them in to ‘concrete’, a solid (or sometimes semi-solid) product resulting from solvent extraction. When the concrete is washed with alcohol, it finally becomes what we know as an ‘absolute’.

Incredibly, it takes around 12 tonnes of fresh flowers to produce just one kilogram of rose absolute, the harvest season for Centifolia roses is only a few days – and what has been gathered represents that entire year’s crop. The back-breaking highly skilled work, the sheer amount of petals it takes to produce the final product and the risk of bad weather or disease affecting the quality explains why Centifolia rose absolute is one of the most expensive materials known in perfumery – currently, the price is between 15 000 / 20 000 euros per kilo.

Nathalie’s fingerprints are all over the perfume world – previously Head of Fragrance Development for Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur – but she’d always wanted to start her own business, where she could ensure the quality, authenticity and sustainability through every single stage of a perfume’s production. Every year she makes sure to personally visit the rose fields to assess the quality, to make sure the farmer is happy and to continue to build these vital relationships that, ultimately, shape the way we smell when we purchase that final bottle of perfume.

Wearing it now, I can be transported back to those sun-baked fields in a flash, and really that’s the power of perfume, isn’t it? To capture a moment for eternity, to gift us the experience of travelling back there with every eager spritz, to allow us to dream. But what does the future hold for precious, labour-intensive fragrant crops such as these?

Some farming families in Grasse used to own jasmine fields, too, Nathalie tells me, but the majority were forced to abandon them when companies found they could buy (lesser quality) jasmine far more cheaply, elsewhere. ‘Their children didn’t want to take on such work with such risk – they could make far more money through selling the land for property or even for “glamping”, or you know, they go and work in IT…’ Nathalie tells me.

Visiting these fields – meeting the producers first-hand – cannot help but drum home to anyone with even a fleeting interest in fragrance how vital it is to support these companies who genuinely care about that future. And so, the next time you reach for a bottle of what purports to be a ‘rose perfume’, do you know exactly where those petals grew? I guarantee that if you do, your pleasure at wearing it can only increase…

Anima Vinci Rose Prana £150 for 100ml eau de parfum

Buy it at animavinci.com or Les Senteurs

Written by Suzy Nightingale