Among many different perfume brands and their fragrances that I enjoy and appreciate with my whole heart, in my life there’s always a special love-spot for independent perfumery. I admire people who are perfumers, creative-directors and visual designers in one human body. How much work and energy does it require to take care of all these important elements of creating a perfume that is about to become to appear on the market and make an impression on the audience.
Everyone of us, perfume-obsessed “freaks” can name a few of those “one-man-show” companies like Tauer Perfumes with Andy Tauer or Sonoma Scent Studio fronted by Laurie Erickson. One more madame who steers the wheel of her perfume house is Rania Jouaneh. You might have not heard about her yet… Rania comes from Jordan and currently lives in Paris. Her life wasn’t always about perfume. She was in process of developing a different career path when she realized she wanted to work with scent.
She didn’t give up on her aspirations. She studied at Cinquieme Sens and in 2013 she introduced her artisanal perfumes under Rania J. brand that year. It was made of 5 fragrances, Lavande 44 being one of them. The perfume Rania created is a top class lavender composition, it got quickly promoted to being one of my favourite lavenders. As you apply the perfume to your skin the lavender is a hidden element – it takes a while before it shows up to your nose.
The first whiff of Rania J. Lavande 44 gives me an impression of standing at noon in the middle of a field full of different herb. I can occasionally detect elements of green and crispy geranium and its mild sweetness, the refreshing vibe of basil, invigorating aroma of mint. There’s probably also a bit of clary sage if you ask me. After 30 minutes of lovely herbal festival, the lavender appears. Warmed by the sun, a little bit dry and also with many green and herbacious facets to it. It smells very crispy and realistic.
Herbal kind of lavender is my favourite way of presenting these small purple herbal flowers in perfumes. This style is also more masculine and powerful in perception but saying that Lavande 44 is a masculine composition would be an exaggeration. As the time passes lavender slowly blooms revealing some sweeter, honey-like aromas. Rania achieved some additional quality by pairing lavender with vetiver of woody kind. Thanks to it the herbal-floral accord lasts for a really long time.
Even if you try to focus on vetiver, you probably won’t be able to smell it per se. It’s unity with lavender which is actually a great thing. Later, after 1,5-2 hours of aromatic herbs the composition made by Rania Jouaneh is joined by patchouli. I think it makes the aromatic molecules to stand out even more. Here patchouli also plays a role of giving depth to the blend, making it more spacious and dimensional. Lavender is not easy to handle, it can turn plain and flat, but not here.
Up until 5th or 6th hour of perfume progression you can enjoy the combination of lavender, herbs and a little bit of woods in the background. But later you will notice how Lavande 44 warms up minute after minute, how it becomes sweeter, more dense and even more aromatic. Tonka bean does a great job in this perfume, making it a little bit more creamy on one hand but also adding a hint of spiciness on the other hand. The entire composition has a nice balance of aromas and flavors.
After I was introduced to Rania at Esxence 2014 (thanks to Neela Vermeire for that!) we started talking about creating, imagination and using different materials. Rania said that she works mostly with natural essential oils and those depend on the harvests every year. She uses small quantities of synthetic ingredients to “create bridges, smooth the edges” as she said. Most of all Rania is a very open person, I didn’t notice when we started laughing, hugging etc. We are friends now, staying in contact.
Rania J. Lavande 44 is an eau de parfum concentrated formula which comes in 50ml bottles of quite simple, yet elegant packaging. Black paper label with white and grey letters looks good to me. During my tests the perfume could last as long as 12 hours or even more. The projection is very good for a few hours and then it starts to shring. Final 2-3 hours are more of a skin scent pleasure.
[note] All pictures are my own, all rights reserved; Bottle of Lavande 44 was a gift from Rania J.