Terry de Gunzburg’s fragrant dream

Terry de Gunzburg is something of a phenomenon: the woman who invented perhaps the most iconic beauty product of our age – YSL’s Touche Eclat and then of her own fah-bu-lous By Terry make-up line – is nothing if not a perfectionist. Then, in 2012, Terry set her sights on the world of perfumery…

Driven by a quest to find her own ‘signature fragrance’, she realised there had to be more than one (welcome to our world, Terry!), for would you wear one lipstick or outfit for the rest of your life, or eat the same meal every single day? We shudder at the thought!

Explains Terry: ‘I had to progress slowly in order to learn and understand about essences that felt right, which was a humbling yet enriching experience. I had to ignore the dos and don’ts imposed by trends or a commercial brief. Free from any restrictions, I have followed my instinct to create pure, original and extravagantly high-quality fragrances.’

Combining ‘only the best ingredients with extravagant notes and artful blending’, the eponymous fragrance collection presents an elegant array of eau de parfums we’ve definitely fallen for. And can we talk about those bottles…?

Of course it’s all about the juice inside (of course!) but, well, let’s face it – we live in a visual world, and these are proper stunners. They’re reassuringly weighty and with a cap to match (how diappointing is it to see and feel a beautiful flacon only to be let down by a flimsy cap?) and solid yet with a feminine roundness. It’s the little touches like this that let you know you’re in the hands of someone who truly cares about every single aspect of the product they are, after all, putting their name on.

As for the fragrances themselves? Well of course they had to be magnificent, and when it came to creating her own line, she collaborated with Robertet’s perfumers in Grasse, giving them the freedom to use the highest quality ingredients available: tuberose absolute, ylang ylang, iris butter, rose essence… She’s said: ‘I wanted to reconnect with perfumes from the beginning of the century, like those of Guerlain and Robert Piguet — they were extravagant experiences. That’s not to say mine are dusty old fragrances. They’re contemporary — clean but not watery, opulent but not heavy.’

The exquisite quintet she launched in 2012 includes Parti Pris, a sumptuous floral that pulses around a heart of tuberose, ‘A flower that induces vertigo: in one note you can capture audacity,’ is her take. Rêve Opulent blends a duo of jasmines – Indian sambac and Egyptian – with a touch of orange blossom and ylang ylang, in an homage to gardenia. ‘The gardenia, the absolute expression of luxury, which I have dreamt of with eyes wide open,’ she explains. ‘Its opulent touch brings out a rich, floral heart.’ Lumière d’Épices ‘evokes Mediterranean jasmine: a bud ready to open, almost green and nourished with citrus fruits, spices and honey.’

Flagrant Délice offers an almost magnetic sensuality, while Ombre Mercure‘s just dreamy, in our opinion – ‘pure seduction,’ according to Terry de Gunzburg, ‘an enchanting blend of iris and violet, which plunges us into the darkness of the night.’ As the Now Smell This blog comments, ‘Ombre Mercure is velvety and rich (yet not overwhelmingly so), and its rooty-sweet iris is interwoven beautifully with the other dusky floral notes, the woodsy patchouli, and the honeyed vanilla…’ In 2013, meanwhile, the dark, smouldering Terryfic Oud, created by Jean-Michel Santorini – with its pulsing, woody base – became an instant bestseller.

Each year the collection grows – carefully thought out and chosen to enhance and expand your own fragrant wardrobe – and all under the laser-beam watch of Terry de Gunzburg, who discovered not one signature scent only, but a whole world of perfumed perfection. And we can’t wait to see what’s next…

Read more about Terry’s fascinating (and fabulous) career in beauty and fragrance on our page dedicated to Terry de Gunzburg. And then we feel it’s only right for you to get your nose on those glorious ‘fumes!

Terry de Gunzburg eaux de parfums – buy them at Harrods

Written by Suzy Nightingale