How do you fancy looking out over the rose fields of Grasse and enjoying some seriously affordable luxury? Stephan Matthews, a self-confessed Francophile, fragrance expert and long-time friend of The Perfume Society, lets us in on his latest scented obsession…
Trésors Publics is a boutique that I’ve written about in the past for The Perfume Society, and is also one that holds many happy memories for me. It’s in the heart of Nice, which before recent events was my regular place to escape to, and they specialise in products that are solely made in France. Just walking through their large red doors is guaranteed to make even the most hardened heart swoon. In amongst the rustic glass and traditional Provençal fashions there is a carefully curated selection of scents, and it’s just got a little bigger.
When the company were looking to create their own fragrance they were clear that it had to fit into their artisan style, but they also didn’t want to overcomplicate it. Many ingredients can be thought of as a fragrance in themselves, made up of a multitude of facets, and so the decision was taken to launch a singular floral water. Now there are many of these already on the market which meant that the actual company behind the production was going to be a big part of its success. Well, they aimed high and managed to enlist the help of the Mul family.
You might not recognise the name but you’ve definitely worn one of their ingredients. The Mul family famously produce some of the most exquisite flowers in the world and, since 1987, many of them have been solely destined to end up in your bottle of Chanel perfume. The family began farming in the 1840s and have weathered many storms, including the very real threat that was posed from flower imports in the seventies. Their way to fight back was to form their own extraction and distillation facility, and this is where the beautiful rosewater comes from for Trésors Publics.
Rosa centifolia, also known as Rose de Mai, is just one of the flowers that Mul grows for Chanel. When they extract the oil, and remember that it takes 60,000 roses to obtain a single ounce, they also produce a lot of rosewater. This often ends up in skincare or delicious pastries, and some perfumers like Jessica Buchanan even add a touch to their formulas, but it is spectacular spritzed on its own. When we think how complex many fragrances are, a pure burst of that green faceted honey rose transports you immediately to those acres of petaled hillsides.
With overseas travel looking unlikely this year, and with Nice once again in the midst of yet another lockdown, getting to try products from independent overseas companies like Trésors Publics is difficult… but not impossible. Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, has tried very hard to support local businesses and one way was to encourage them to embrace selling online. He told me, “We’ve made €1200 available to businesses to allow them to create a virtual presence, and so provide an alternative to the giants of e-commerce.” France has always encouraged artisans, which is why it’s so wonderful to see Christian continuing to champion this.
If you want to stop and smell the roses – and try a little bit of the magic of the Rose de Mai without the usual price-tag – Eau de Rose is available from the Trésors Publics website priced at €9 for 100ml, although I guarantee you’ll be tempted by more than just perfume.
By Stephan Matthews