2011, if it keeps going in this way, is going to be the Bertrand Duchaufour Scent of The Month Club. As we stand here in the middle of May I am trying the fifth fragrance by M Duchaufour. If M Duchaufour was cranking out one fragrance a month it would probably be a concern but the truth is some of the new releases were actually created some time ago and that is the story of the new fragrance for Eau D’Italie Jardin du Poete.
Sebastian Alvarez and Marina Sersale of Eau D'Italie
At Esxence 2011 I met Marina Sersale, one half of the husband and wife team behind Eau D’Italie, and she told me M Duchaufour had created Jardin du Poete almost two years ago. The reason it took so long is Sebastian Alvarez and Sig.ra Sersale had a difficult time sourcing the material M Duchaufour used to create his laboratory samples. Two years on, Jardin du Poete is now ready to be released to all of us.
When Sig.ra Sersale gave me my preview spritz on day one of Esxence 2011 I almost immediately fell for this fragrance and knew I would impatiently be waiting for my samples so I could really find out how much I liked this. M Duchaufour has done six previous fragrances for Eau D’Italie and they have ranged from the olfactive landscape of Sienne L’Hiver to the rich rosiness of Paestum Rose. Jardin du Poete creates a landscape like Sienne L’Hiver but it also has a central note of immortelle which echoes the rose of Paestum Rose.
Coin depicting Agthocles circa 317 BC
Jardin du Poete was based on the Sicilian rulers during Greek times and in particular on the succession of tyrants who ruled Syracuse, the most influential Sicilian city of those times. These tyrants weren’t just iron fisted brutes they were also aesthetes with many diverse interests including cultivation of flowers and poetry. Thus the name of Jardin du Poete could just as easily have been Jardin du Despot but as Sig.ra Sersale told me that just didn’t seem like a great name for a perfume, especially something as light as Jardin du Poete is.
M Duchaufour chooses to begin our garden stroll near the citrus grove as grapefruit and bitter orange predominate in the early stages. They are joined by a strongly herbal basil note which on my skin turns to an astringent tomato leaf even though that is not listed as a note. The vegetal feel in contrast to the citrus makes Jardin du Poete close to feeling like the reality brought to fragrant life in Sienne L’Hiver.
Latomia del Paradiso in Sicily
The turning point away from that is the moment the immortelle arises; the rich maple syrup quality of immortelle is accentuated with a hint of baie rose to add piquant counterpoint to the immortelle. M Duchaufour’s use of immortelle is so amazingly light in Jardin du Poete it almost makes it feel like a different note. Most of the time immortelle is a dominant note, its own tyrant, over the surrounding notes but in Jardin du Poete it carries a brightness to it that I have rarely experienced in immortelle fragrances. The base is lightly woody cypress and grassy vetiver overlaid on a bed of musk. The cypress, in particular, keeps the sunniness of Jardin du Poete at high noon.
Jardin du Poete has average longevity and average sillage.
If it sounds like I’m being ungrateful when I call 2011 the Bertrand Duchaufour 'Scent of the Month Clu'b that is far from what I am feeling. The five fragrances that have been released in 2011 could not be more different but yet all retain something indefinably Duchaufour-ian in their architecture. As of right now the one of these that I will be wearing for most of the summer is going to be Jardin du Poete because this most likely is going to be the fragrance I associate with the Summer of 2011.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor