May 17, 2017
Sylvaine Delacourte of Sylvaine Delacourte Fragrances
Late last autumn, fragrance lovers were delighted to discover the launch of a new range of five perfumes centered around musk. They were created by industry superstar Sylvaine Delacourte whom Master Perfumer (and recipient of the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) Maurice Roucel described as “One of the best creative directors I have ever worked with…”(in his interview with our Editor-in-Chief, Michelyn Camen). All the fragrances were beautiful but I was especially drawn to Florentina, a gorgeous tribute to a scent memory from Sylvaine’s childhood.
Before creating her own line, Mme. Delacourte was highly regarded for her work as the Director Of Fragrance Evaluation and Development with the venerable Parisian Maison Guerlain (alongside Jean-Paul Guerlain and Thierry Wasser), and had a crucial role in bringing us some of the most iconic perfumes of the past ten years, to wit; Insolence (and flankers), Acqua Allegoria Figue-Iris, L’Instant Magic, Quand Vient La Pluie, Guerlain Homme, and so many others.
George Lawrence Bulleid – At the Fountain©
All of the five new perfumes released in the new collection are wonderful, but Florentina, a stunning powdery iris-musk, was the one that absolutely swept me off my feet.
Girl with Laurel Headband. George Lawrence Bulleid (English,1858-1933)
Iris Florentina is a sub-species of iris that grows in the countryside surrounding Florence Italy, and its form is celebrated all around Florence with a Fleur-De-Lys style symbol on the city flag and buildings among others. The symbol has been in existence since Florence was founded in 59 BC by the Roman Empire. To honor the Roman goddess Flora, the new city was named after both its founder Florinus da Cellino, and the word Florentia (Latin for flowering).
George Lawrence Bulleid – Before the Bath
Florentina is Mme. Delacourte’s fragrant tribute to the scent of baby powder from her youth in northern France, and a stunning tribute it is. The idea of scent-memory has always been fascinating to me, that ability of certain scents to transport one back in time so throughly. Recently I asked Sylvaine about her own childhood scent-memories which provide the basis of this fantastic perfume:“Perfume is the most intense form of memory. I grew up in the north of France, near Lille, and Florentina is the result of my personal memories that I had from seven years of age and beyond. The face powder of my mother, the iris smell, the exquisite smell of the violet that my father gave me each week when it was the season, the smell of almond blended with vanilla from the pancakes cooked by my grandmother.
Robert’s Borotalco talcum Vintage ad
To provide tension to the fragrance, I chose vetiver which has a hazelnut smell, in honor of a hazelnut tree which was in our garden. The carnation note I think came from Youth Dew, my mothers’ perfume of choice. Then the smell of babies talcum powder is also important for me, it is the starting point of this creation. I love all the smells of talc, especially the Robert’s Borotalco talcum that comes from Italy.” (Note: Roberts Borotalco is still widely available online.) -Sylvaine Delacourte
Carina by George Lawrence Bulleid
All of these memories coalesce into a singular perfume that is beautifully blended using the finest ingredients, and we are gifted with a floral and Iris scent with touches of gourmand and a terrific soft musk base. The opening is a bright and fluffy almond note that is reminiscent of opening the door to a favorite bakery or patisserie, the steamy warm air redolent of sweet baking almond biscuits. The musk in the background adds the “fluffy” feeling, freshened by the heliotrope, iris, and violet.
George Lawrence Bulleid A Moment's Rest
The orange blossom lends an orange flower water baking note while the carnation is merely alluded to but present none the less; the vetiver is also amplified which surrounds the scent with the freshness of a garden on a beautiful afternoon. This is a very easy scent to wear for both women and men alike, and it wears very well both in cold weather and warm. When I first tried Florentina last November, I remember it as a perfect perfume for the holidays, and now in warmer weather the florals are more prominent, making it extremely accessible as a summer scent.
Notes: Cloves, benzoin, bergamot, iris, lavender, violet, carnation, vetiver, almond, orange blossom, vanilla, white musk, and heliotrope.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Sylvaine Delacourte for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own.
–Robert Herrmann, Sr. Contributor
George Lawrence Bulleid Tutt'Art@ Girl With a Lute
-Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief I used the art of George Bulleid, a Victorian painter best known for his classical style to convey Mme. Delacourte’s fragrances.
Editor’s Note: I named Sylvaine Delacourte’s new House as the recipient of CaFleureBon Best Buzz of 2016-Michelyn
Please be sure to register if you have not done so. To be eligible please let us know what you thought of Robert’s review, if you enjoy Iris perfume or a scent-memory from childhood and where you live. Please indicate if you would like to win Florentina or the discovery kit. Draw closes May 20, 2017