Tag Archives: Stephanie Bakouche

Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 3

My second day at Pitti Fragranze was full of interesting and unexpected events. I tried many perfume on that day, met some new people & listened to some interesting conversations and panel discussions that broadened my horizons and taught me new things about scent culture in different parts of the world. In the evening some spontaneous actions resulted in having the most amazing dinner in Florence ever. Surrounded by 4 perfumers, 2 brand owners, fellow blogger and few more people by the table we enjoyed food, drinks and conversations. It was a good day.

Normally at the end of my 2nd day at the fair I would’ve been cautious to not stay out too long. It’s because I always had to pack all my stuff beforehand so that I could leave my rented room early in the morning to arrive at the airport on time. But not this year. Return flights were not in my favor either and Aeroporto di Bologna was closed for a few days including the weekend when I was in Florence. In the end I decided to stay in Italy for a bit longer and fly back home on Tuesday.

Used to having two days to discover things I wanted, this extra day that I got for the first time since I started going to Fragranze was very calm for me. I indeed tried most of the things on Friday and Saturday. In fact I dedicated Sunday to spending more time with people, since it’s them who create the entire atmosphere.After a few years people become more important than perfume. Also for the first time the show wasn’t open to public on final day which was clearly visible in the corridors that were not as crowded as usual. Weird choice to not allow potential costumers to enter.

I didn’t smell so much on that day, only a couple of perfume I missed earlier. For example Jasmagonda, a new proposal from Pierre Guillaume – a Collection Rework composition for Drama Nuui. It was a beautifully clear magnolia & jasmine scent with transparent and delicate facets. I also tested two scents from Parco 1923. Concept of this brand is to use ingredients obtained from plants that only grow in the region of Abruzzo. Fragrances were ok but didn’t stay in my memory. Another new try for me was 401 E. Amatrice. Their only perfume is bearing the same name as the brand and apparently contains 140 ingredients! I’m immune to such talk, how would I smell all that?

After having longer and insightful talks with many people around the fair, especially with Nick from Gallivant came the time to do some commemorative photos with them as well. Luckily nobody opposed. I also stopped by the booth of Map of the Heart, mostly because the other day we were walking down the street in Florence, next to each other and we didn’t recognize each other… They were launching White Heart dedicated to love – with aldehydes, white flowers, lavender and bit of spice. It smelled very unusual. And after recommendation from Alex I also smelled Antonio Alessandria Fara, a sparkling lemonade perfume but with a sweaty cumin undertone in the background. We also tried a range of Abel together. It’s an affordable line of all natural fragrances.

I had a great lunch with Alex Lee at a nearby cafe and a great chat with Stephanie Bakouche regarding my current position at work and how I can make a change. In chat with Cecile Zarokian I tried to find out about her recent work but her lips were sealed. That’s how Fragranze 16 was drawing towards its end. Even though it was open until 6 PM, many brands started packing around 4 PM. Everyone wanted to make it back home as soon as possible after these 3 tiring days.

Observation I (and not just me) made during this edition of Pitti Fragranze was that there was overally less brands exhibiting, fewer people visiting, many people looked tired. Some brands even stated that it’s probably their last time at the Florentine fair. Why? Because TFWA Exhibition (Tax Free World Association) in Cannes was happening only few weeks later. For most there was no reason to exhibit in both places and they opted for Cannes. There’s something else that disturbs me.

The fact is that none of the niche brands is big and rich enough to be able to actually have a stand in the main area at TFWA – this place is dominated by Dior, Guerlain, Chanel and tens of other brands you can see at the airport duty-free. So what niche does? Niche rents hotel suites or yahts to organize little showrooms where you can visit them by appointment. Surely a great way to scoop some audience, especially that masses of people visit Cannes for that exhibition.

I wonder if in next years Pitti Fragranze will slowly start to deteriorate… I sure hope not.

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Unicorn wish, Jul et Mad Mon Seul Désir

In a world where everyone seems to copy everyone (in more or less sophisticated way) and everything comes down to ‘who did it first’ so that others can streamline their ideas towards this one specific concept, being original & creative has an extra value. There are many beautiful, poetic ways to describe a thing that is one of a kind. I especially like descriptions such as white crow or a unicorn. This latter one, a mythical creature leads us to a Middle Age tapestry from unknown artist, titled ‘The Lady and The Unicorn’. Julien and Madalina Blanchard were mesmerized by its beauty & elegance. They also noticed a writing on the tent, saying ‘mon seul desir’ – which became a fragrance name.

Mon Seul Desir has a surprisingly fresh opening that in its fruitiness especially accentuates citrusy tones of mandarin. At the beginning it smells very juicy, sweet, tart and absolutely mouth-watering. But in a wink of an eye the perfume starts to evolve. At first the mandarin accord becomes more sweet, turning into a candied fruit that is still very yummy. However after a couple more minutes it becomes more dusty. This dustiness starts to dominate until it becomes strong enough to realize that it’s a smell of nutmeg. It’s somehow dry & I usually perceive it that way – it’s kind of like a parchment.

Dry spiciness doesn’t last for long because 10 minutes later the character of the spicy vibe transforms from dry to more tingly, sparkly sensation with a gentle metallic vibe. It’s a pink pepper note that introduces this feeling to Mon Seul Desir. This material is quite popular among perfumers these days. Spicy flavor is an important part of new fragrance from Jul et Mad, that’s why nutmeg and pepper are not the only ones present in the formula. After a while coriander arrives providing a fresher take on spice notes. To my nose it’s also a little come back to a more dry phase.

mon-seul-desir

Spicy notes mix and entwine so that at some point it becomes difficult to separate one from another. They also tone down gradually – when they become more quiet it is the right time for osmanthus to shine. As an interesting fact I’ll mention that it smells quite unusual. There is an apricot-flavored tea aroma with some floralties underneath but normally it should smell quite fresh, luminous, but no… it smells more dark & dubious. It’s because of oud note that osmanthus’s radiance went down. There’s not much of it in Mon Seul Desir. Enough to introduce some changes but not to annoy the wearer.

After some time we’re back into the light! The oud is gone, the spiciness is very faint. In the drydown there’s a lot of bezoin. It smells very rich, balsamic & smooth. There’s some balmy creaminess to it that makes Mon Seul Desir smell very luxurious. Amber that smells resinous, slightly mineral and sensual is another source of radiance and luminosity. Leathery notes are quite tenacious, adding beautiful richness and substantivity to the composition. I like the complexity of this perfume and how it changes over time. Addition of gaiac wood adds some solidity and it’s blended with musk for a carnal dirtiness that has some animalic qualities to it as well. It awakens your wildest desires.

I’m a big fan of Jul et Mad as a brand, not only because Julien and Madalina are great people but more importantly because fragrances they create are of great quality & uniqueness. I have to admit that when I tried Mon Seul Desir first time in April, we didn’t click then but when I revisited my sample couple of weeks ago (when it started getting cold) and I thought it was phenomenal & people kept noticing a lovely scented trail behind me. Perfumer Stephanie Bakouche composed a beautiful perfume: rich and complex, that blooms beautifully on your skin. Its enveloping sensuality suits more occassions than just a cuddly evening with your partner. Longevity and sillage of this extrait de parfum are beyond amazing. It’s available in 50 ml bottle (simple box or luxury coffret) or 5 ml mini.

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