Are you missing a gift for your mother? Your niece? Your cousin? Are they gourmets, food lovers or travellers? Here are a few scents to tantalise their senses.
It’s when you meet passionate professionals that things often become clearer. When knowledge and enthusiasm are passed on, you can spend hours listening to someone who teaches and captivates you.
In Luxembourg, in the Paris 8 boutique on the Grand-Rue, Laurent Bertazzo is one of those alchemists who turn their knowledge into gold. A former professor of the history of perfume, from ancient Egypt to 1850, at the Ecole Supérieure du Parfum in Paris, he is also the sole ‘fragrance expert’ at the Paris 8 perfumeries in Luxembourg (and its boutique in Monaco).
To help gourmets and other food lovers put perfume under the tree, here is his selection of scents, each with a little story to tell…
When Laurent Bertazzo talks to you about a perfume, he goes back to its origins. Not those of Ancient Egypt (although he could) but those of modern times.
As he begins to talk about Swim/SX, by independent French perfumer Pierre Guillaume, he goes off to a shelf to find a completely different bottle and says: “In 2010, Thierry Mugler brought out his delicious Womanity creation. It has a fruity, salty tone, with notes of fig and caviar… He was a pioneer at the time.”
He then returns to his selection of the day: Swim/Sx by Pierre Guillaume. An ode to sensuality. A salty, iodised fragrance which, “through retro-olfaction, reminds us of caviar. It’s an ideal fragrance for lovers of the great outdoors and sensuality,” explains the expert. “Swim/SX evokes a lingering after-sun sensuality and speaks to us of a man or woman after a dip in the sea… of his or her salty, desirable skin,” adds Pierre Guillaume. Fleur de sel? Caviar? Who’s going to take the plunge?
It’s the story of Rihanna’s choreographer, who one day revealed the name of the perfume worn by the singer on the internet… Love, Don’t be Shy… and everyone snapped it up…“. But above all, it’s the story of a perfume called Love, whose design deserves a little story. One day, Kilian, the grandson of the Hennessy cognac house, who had launched his own fragrance brand, asked master perfumer Calice Becker to create a new elixir for him. At the time, Calice Becker was with his family in the kitchen, making marshmallows. That’s where his inspiration came from,” says Laurent Bertazzo.
Love, Don’t be Shy is a fragrance based on the comforting notes of marshmallows. A combination of orange blossom and vanilla, resulting in a rounded, yet ambery fragrance.
And… so it’s also Riri’s perfume! Oh Magad, Oh Magad, Oh Magad!!!
TEA & MANDARIN: Soothing
The magnificent House of Haute Parfumerie, Annick Goutal, taken over in 1999 by daughter Camille Goutal and perfumer and long-time collaborator of the brand, Isabelle Doyen, had to appear on this list.
Camille Goutal draws inspiration for her new creations from her travels. After a trip to Korea, to the volcanic island of Jeju, where tangerines and tea leaves grow, Annick Goutal’s daughter returned with a new fragrance: L’Île au Thé. The fragrance also has an apricot tone, linked to osmanthus, a small Asian shrub. Tangerine, apricot, tea, white musk: “A soothing scent of well-being and serenity”, with a gourmet touch!
TASTY MANDARIN: Energising
Ready to savour mandarin just by smelling a drop of perfume? Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilicforte eau de parfum takes up the challenge. In two breaths, you’re tasting a juicy mandarin orange that you’ve just peeled. “We have the whole mandarin, from the peel to the juice. It’s a round, sweet and delicious citrus fruit,” says Laurent Bertazzo. “Citrus fruits are energising, ideal for getting rid of gloom”.
CITRUS GINGER: Securing
“In the 1990s, certain fragrances gained in popularity: people liked to smell ‘clean'”. James Heeley’s Zeste de Gingembre has two distinctive features. The first is that it’s an exact reproduction of the smell of a piece of fresh ginger peeled from a tree. But ginger is a spice often associated with hesperidia (the citrus family), so it’s a second peculiarity that independent perfumer James Heeley takes pleasure in offering energising scents which have a clean finish.
GRASS FIELDS: Exhilarating
Hermès is offering a stroll through a very Mediterranean garden. The latest creation from Jardin d’Hermès, Un Jardin à Cythère, takes us to the Pelolonese. “It’s a mouth-watering fragrance, with its blend of pistachio wood and olive wood. It’s tasty without being sweet, with very different woody notes and a yellow colour that transports us to a field of grass fields,” notes the expert.
“With Dulcis in Fundo (“sweets for the palate” in Italian), from Profumum Roma, an independent Roman family-run business, you can indulge in a lovely story…. We imagine ourselves wandering down a little Italian alleyway. A smell catches your nostrils. You look out of a window and the whole family is seated at a festive table. And on the windowsill, the panettone, still steaming, is slowly cooling. This is where Dulcis in Fundo takes us. Panettone is a light cake, with a zesty start that is then taken up by the roundness of the vanilla. A gourmet side to the cake, comforting, a very strong olfactory and emotional memory”, says our expert, rediscovering his Italian origins.
COGNAC : Enchanting
When he was a child, Kilian Hennessy used to wander around the cognac cellars with his grandfather. With Angels Share, he wanted to reintroduce these childhood memories into his production and offers a cognac pairing. The magnificent refillable bottle is reminiscent of a fine elixir that is not served lightly. “In this cognac blend, we have cinnamon for warmth, sandalwood, a praline note and the roundness of tonka bean. And a sweetness that envelops the heart of the cognac.” To be enjoyed without moderation!
TI-PUNCH: A change of scenery
A new journey, a new drink: welcome to the tropics. A fresh, exotic touch: the Paris-Fidji fragrance by French perfumer Pierre Guillaume is an invitation to enjoy a sunny punch. Rum from the islands of French Polynesia, citrus fruits and the roundness of vanilla make up the olfactory postcard. “It’s refreshing, but also very sweet and suave, with its notes of amber rum,” says Laurent Bertazzo.
CHERRY AMARENA: Obsessive
We’re back in Italy again, with Tom Ford’s sultry Lost Cherry. In this red bottle lacquered on the inside, released in 2018, an essence that will appeal to lovers of amarena cherry. “We have a very beautiful Morello cherry, almond and tonka bean,” describes the fragrance expert. A perfume with warm, sweet gourmet notes.
SHORTBREAD : So British
Fancy another trip? This time it’s to the green countryside across the English border. Rendezvous in a cosy little cottage. With Scarlett Poppy, Joe Malone offers the remote scent of poppies, “with ambrette seeds, hibiscus and a plant musk”. You’ll be transported from the first discovery. “It’s also a bit like the smell of a shortbread dipped in almond milk…”.
FRANGIPANE : Royal
C’est bientôt l’heure de l’Épiphanie! Avec Ambré Eccentrico, de la collection Armani/Privé, les amateurs de galette des Rois seront rassasiés avant l’heure ! « Le Prunol, la cannelle et un accord vanille, patchouli, résines rappellent la rondeur et l’intensité de la frangipane », termine Laurent Bertazzo.
It’s almost time for Epiphany! With Ambré Eccentrico, from the Armani/Privé collection, lovers of the Kin’s Cake (galette des Rois) will be satisfied early! “Prunol, cinnamon and an association of vanilla, patchouli and resins bring to mind the roundness and intensity of frangipane,” concludes Laurent Bertazzo.
Men or women?
And if you’re wondering whether these fragrances are for men or women, the Paris 8 fragrance expert has just one answer for you: to find out, try them!