Madalina Stoica-Blanchard and Julien Blanchard, a marriage behind niche perfume brand Jul et Mad are like the cutest and most perfect couple a perfume world has ever known. They not only look good next to each other but they can also literally read each others minds. During Esxence 2014 in Milan they presented a new chapter to their love story, Aqua Sextius, which stands for Aix-en-Provence in Latin. This region in the South of France was founded by Gaius Sextius – Roman consul around 200 years B.C. This is a place where a couple got married and they vacation there.
Aqua Sextius opens by giving an impression of sunny morning at the Mediterranean coast. It’s very bright, sparkling and vivid with colors. The first note I could smell on my skin was the grapefruit, very lovely and tart one. Just a few minutes later I could smell a juicy shot of bergamot which adds a refreshing sensation to the scent. A little while longer and mild tones of orange and mandarin appear above the skin surface. What I love about the opening is that slightly sour aromas of grapefruit and bergamot are countered with oranges and mandarines which are both sweeter.
After 30 minutes this new Jul et Mad composition becomes just a little bit less prominent and its bouquet quiets down minimally. I could notice a wonderful vibe of tea, probably some green tea variety. It was nicely blended with the citrus accord in the opening, adding it a surprising twist of verdancy. Mimosa is the first sign of floral elements in this fragrance, it appears after 45 minutes or so, bringing both flowery and light powdery facets to Aqua Sextius.
After 1 hour the flowers in the bouquet of Aqua Sextius begin to bloom, kind of taking over the scent from now on. These are some white flowers for sure and as far as I’m concerned I probably detected some jasmine, orange blossom and neroli. Together they’re gifted with a very pleasant and tender sweetness that kind of feels like the second skin. Further into the fragrance development I could smell pine accord, the needles to make it clear. With this note a nice dose of aromatic vibe was added to the scent making it more vibrant and senses-affecting. In the background of this specific note I could detect a slightly salty sensation of the sea notes. It feels fantastic so far!
The subtlety of the ozonic smell of sea is a very good thing about Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius. I like it even more for the fact that it seamlessly proceeds to the fig note. I’m not very much into fig in perfume but the one that Julien and Madalina reserved for this perfume is probably my favourite fig so far. It feels incredibly warm and ripe, like it was hiding the secret of the Sun within the flesh. To me this chord has both the green quality of a sun-warmed leaf and a milky, sappy facet of the fruit itself.
The very appealing thing about Aqua Sextius is that its base notes kind of don’t fit the aromas that appeared earlier, yet they fit perfectly to the whole idea. These notes also appear very slowly granting this perfume with super longevity. A very subtle labdanum appears after 5-6 hours of wearing the scent, when the “Mediterranean” perfume ingredients begin to dissipate, yet they still don’t disappear completely. It takes almost another hour before amber appears, warming up everything. Cedar and guaiac wood, appearing around 8th hour, they make the fragrance more substantial while oakmoss gives a dry and refined touch of luxury.
The very latest of a drydown is created with a musk accord and from the observations I’ve made during Esxence, people were reacting very differently to it. For example, on Julien and me it felt really clean while some other people felt a little bit more of animalic qualities or even a comeback of citrus with a powdered finish from musk. Isn’t that interesting how different our noses perceive the smell?
When I wear Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius I feel happy. To me this perfume represents a real day in Aix-en-Provence. When the day begins – it’s sunny, so the perfume is bright and sparkling, during mid-day it’s hot – so you can smell all flowers and plants warmed up by the sun and in the evening everything begins to quiet down – that’s when Aqua Sextius begins to smell more woody, resinous but still light. This is a story from the sunrise to the sunset. At least that’s what I think. And if this perfume was a picture, it would look exactly like this.
At the mini launch party for Aqua Sextius I had a pleasure to talk to Cecile Zarokian, who is a nose behind this fragrance. She said that it was a real challenge for her to create a long-lasting perfume inspired by a Mediterranean Sea, the smell of cologne and so. As soon as she had heard the idea of Madalina and Julien the idea started forming in her mind, almost 6 months later we have a perfume that is light but lasting, complex and harmonious.
Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius bases almost entirely on natural ingredients which can be told just by smelling the composition. This extrait de parfum lasted on me for 10 hours in non-air-conditioned Triennale and for over 12 hours in normal weather including going out. It will be available at Jul et Mad online shop and at the retailers at the beginning of May and will come in 3 sizes: 50ml spray bottle with a 7ml Nomad spray (filled) – all packaged in a new dark grey (they were light grey earlier) coffret box, 5ml miniature “love dose” and a new 20ml travel size called “le compagnon” which is a sleek and glossy pen-like bottle made of black glass.
[note] pictures are all mine, all rights reserved; Aqua Sextius love dose was a gift from Jul et Mad.