The scent of diplomacy, Pozzo di Borgo 8 mars 1764

If you are passionate about history as much as you’re passionate about perfume, you would be most likely familiar with the family of Pozzo di Borgo. It’s one of those great families that left a footprint in history. Origins of this family reach back to XII century, to the French island of Corsica. Pride and courage of Pozzo di Borgos has been known “from Venice to Zante, from Mount Athos to Cape Saint Vincent.” To keep the family history alive in the current world, Valentine Pozzo di Borgo, being close to the perfume industry – her mother had a perfumery and Valentine’s maternal grandfather was Leon Givaudan, one of the Givaudan founders – decided to create a line of exceptional perfumes inspired by her family members. Since founding in 2011, four perfumes were created.

The first composition created by the house of Pozzo di Borgo was inspired by one of the greatest members of this family – Carl-Andrea Pozzo di Borgo. He was born on 8th of March 1764 and Valentine decided to use this date instead of the personal name, as a title for this fragrance. Carl-Andrea was a diplomat and at the beginning of his career he became a Prime Minister in Corsica during English protectorate, later he became a counselor in England and Vienna to finally become the ambassador to the court of Tsar Alexander 1st. What a succesful life!

The perfume, 8 Mars 1764, starts with a mild citrus aroma of mandarin orange. Unlike grapefruits or lemons, there’s nothing sour about the aroma of mandarines. Instead it smells sweet in a delicate way, with just a little hint of tanginess mingling in the background. After a few minutes bergamot joins the composition, adding some aromatic tones with slightly sour flavor to it. The composition changes quite drastically after around 30 minutes but it becomes even better.

After that 30 minutes, Pozzo di Borgo 8 Mars 1764 becomes a balsamic composition. At first it effuses this rich, kind of decadent and luxurious aroma of cognac. It has a specific, slightly alcoholic vibe but the dominating aroma that it gives, is the multi-dimensional sweetness of molasses, a refined sugar by-product used to make cognac. This beautiful aroma is enriched with a balmy aroma of styrax resin. It has a dense and substantial feel, while the entire perfume has a very elegant, sophisticated and gentle character. 8 Mars 1764 is very warm, embracing and comforting blend. As the time passes, it reveals another layers.

After a while the wave of benzoin arrives and gives a balsamic feel that is very pleasing to the nose. It has a caramely smell with a liquory vibe with some orange flavor. In this form 8 Mars 1764 is full of different aromas that play together, blending into one unique perfume. Later comes some vetiver which adds a distinctive woody aroma (reminiscent of a wooden barrel used to mature fine alcohols) with some earthy elements too. It smells very pretty and still incredibly comforting.

For the next 3-4 hours, the notes entwine even more and it becomes harder and harder to separate the chords. The smell of cognac and resins is still a leading theme of this perfume from Pozzo di Borgo house. Then the perfume starts to develop a warm and spicy aroma. There are no specific tones apart from coriander mentioned in the official notes. To me there’s also a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon and maybe a clove or two. All these aromas create some kind of an invisible pillow of aromas and you want to hug this pillow and keep it close to you. It really is an addictive fragrance.

In the drydown there is elemi resin and there is also labdanum. Both of these perfume ingredients add more density and substance to 8 Mars 1764 but still they are introduced in a very elegant way, so that the entire idea of keeping this perfume quiet is not changed at all. The resins add a bit of smoky character to the blend and they add more masculine vibe to this composition inspired by Carl-Andrea Pozzo di Borgo. The structure and layers of this scent are great.

Wearing 8 Mars 1764 from Pozzo di Borgo evokes specific feelings inside of me. It makes me feel elegant and stylish. This perfume wears like a well-chosen suit – it not only makes you look better in eyes of other people but it also makes you feel better. It’s like someone gave you a nice dose of self-confidence. In diplomacy it’s all about being nice, polite, having a good look and impeccable manners. This perfume never screams, well it doesn’t even talk in regular voice… It whispers to your ear and you know that you smell good. Cognac, resins and spices. There is something decadent about this perfume that is also very charming and alluring.

This is what perfumer Philippe Bousseton said about 8 Mars 1764: “This powerful and racy perfume evokes the journey of Carl-Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, from the Corsican ‘maquis’ to the court of Czar Alexander the 1st. The notes of fresh and spiced citrus come together with the warm and round undertones of Russian leather. We imagined this fragrance like a contemporary reading of the past, using rich and ancient ingredients structured in a more modern way.” The scent arrives in sleek and tall ribbed column bottle designed by Pierre Dinand. Its size is 100ml and concentration is eau de parfum. It’s one of the few niche offerings which smell masculine from the beginning to the end.

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Weekend poll – perfume and numbers

It is believed that the first time mankind used numbers was around 30000 years B.C. From that time there were found bones and artifacts with bars carved in them and these can be considered as first attempts of counting. Using just bars for counting would be very impractical for high numbers. In ancient Mesopotamia, 3400 years B.C the first numerical system basing on number 60 was developed. The oldest 10-based positional system dates for around 3100 years B.C and comes from Egypt. More or less it was a prototype of the counting system we use nowadays.

Fragrance was an integral part of life ever since the creation of a human. In ancient Egypt, even when the empire was starting to fall down, the city of Alexandria was still one of the most important and well prospering place, partially due to the fact that many perfumers and alchemists lived there. Egyptians used perfumes mostly for spiritual and religious rituals but that wasn’t the only way to use them. The art of perfumery was passed from Egypt to Greece where it was further developed. Greeks became perfume experts; they imported materials from Africa and the East.

To Greeks, perfume was a sacred object, they even believed that fights between gods result in creating different fragrances. Perfume was also used in medicine and hygiene at that time. Rome was another empire that learned the value of scent. They used them in public baths to pamper their bodies. Not only they used perfumes, room aromas, oils & hair balms were also in fashion.

Perfume and numbers, the object of imagination and science, these two old elements had to meet one day and combine. As a result we obtained the perfume creation that bears a number as a part of its name. The oldest one I can think of right now is 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser produced by Mäurer & Wirtz in 1799 at the latest (probably much earlier). Then there is of course the iconic Chanel No. 5 introduced in 1921, No. 22 from 1922 (or 1928 as some suggest) and No. 19 from 1971.

Perfume and numbers became one, they entwined making a nice combination. The trend continues until these days. You don’t really need to think much and you’d probably be able to name at least 5 brands, be it mainstream or niche, that use numbers in names of their perfumes. In this bandwagon we have Parfumerie Generale, Andy Tauer Perfumes, Le Labo, Prada exclusives, Les Heures de Cartier, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numero series. Histoires de Parfums and Pozzo di Borgo both use numbers in form of dates as perfume names.

Moving on… The question for this weekend poll is – what is your favorite perfume with number? In case you find it difficult to name just one, you can give up to 3 perfume names. My answer would be Histoires de Parfums 1725 and Carner Barcelona D600. These are the two numbered scents that I have in my collection. But I also have a lot of respect towards 04 Reverie au Jardin from Andy Tauer or Les Exclusifs de Chanel 28 La Pausa – which would be mine if it was longer lasting.

I’m curious to learn about your favorite scents from this category. Do tell!

[note]: pictures from cuip.uchicago.edu and KateShapland.com

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