вторник, февраля 14, 2006


Rose Barbare by Chandler Burr (02/06)

Rose Barbare Guerlain
Mitsouko Guerlain
In 2004, the Creative Director of Guerlain, Sylvaine Delacourte, approached several perfumers, among them Francis Kurkdjian, with the proposition of creating a new Guerlain feminine. What was interesting about the "perfume brief" (the perfume's conceptual blueprint) was that there was no brief, at least not in a traditional sense. Delacourte wanted, she said quite concisely, a concept of rose. She stipulated a rose not vapid, not romantic, and not sweet. But what it could be? No guidance. "Give us your concept— whatever you want." Kurkdjian not only created Rose Barbare, a sublime rose, in three weeks, he did it in one, single modification.
The concept of Rose Barbare is a contemporary reinterpretation of Guerlain's 1919 Mitsouko, one of the greatest chypres ever. A chypre perfume is the most strictly parametered of any classic category, built on a mathematical equation of three precise materials: mousse de chкne (oak moss) + ciste labdanum (which comes from a bush and smells, bizarrely enough, like a wild rutting animal) + patchouli. And then all the usual theological arguments: Must there or must there not also be a citrusy bergamot top, etc. Jacques Guerlain built Mitsouko by breaking the power of the oak moss with a natural jasmine and, more significantly, a new synthetic molecule that had recently appeared. Jukov and Schestakow might have patented aldehyde C-14 (actually not an aldehyde but a lactone; it's real name is gamma-undecalactone) in 1908, but Michael Edwards reports that it had been available from other suppliers, and it was probably Firmenich that introduced Jacques Guerlain to the molecule in the form of a base it called Persicol, which it had put on the market in 1908. C-14 was a marvel, a fruity, aromatic, delicious scent that gave ripe peach skin. Guerlain plugged C-14 into the equation perfectly (the rumor is, actually, similar to Chanel 5, that he in fact accidentally overdosed the stuff; who knows), and Mitsouko became a thing of subtle opulence, strength and balance and silken twilight.
Kurkdjian took Mitsuoko's idea and spun it forward. Instead of jasmine, he built with rose as the steel skeleton of this machine, an extremely expensive Turkish rose absolute from the excellent Grasse-based scent materials producer Robertet. The rose/patchouli accord features in Clinique's 1971 Aromatics Elixir by IFF perfumer Bernard Chant, and Kurkdjian himself had done a run with it in his Narcisco Rodriguez. Here, he welded on the C-14 for the peach, then attached aldehyde C-11, which gives at once a certain rosiness and a tiny zinging sharp. Then Firmenich's Hedione and some musks. The result is one of the most stunning roses on the market. That this thing was built in one mod doubles the effect. Here is a scent that sweeps over you like the shadow of an Airbus 340, vast and utterly smooth in a mixture of light and dark, impressive in its wingspan, but it has is a tactile component that is eye-narrowing, like running your fingers lightly over 000-gauge sandpaper. Paris is a gorgeous rose, and Shiseido's White Rose is a luminous one, but Rose Barbare, with this texture like a sheet of graphite, is the one whose skin you can feel.

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