14 febbraio 2010

Olivier Durbano: the line "Parfum de Pierres Poèmes"

A few months ago during Pitti Immagine Fragranze, I met Olivier Durbano. His story intrigued me very much. He started years ago as a jewelry designer: unique pieces that he imagines starting from the most beautiful stones he encounters. The stones speak to him with a symbolism which inspires him, he makes necklaces and bracelets where forms are only there to bring attention to the beauty of the stone with the starring role. His website has a gallery with some really beautiful works (here and here my favourites).

A few years ago he spent time in Grasse, and was at that time that he felt something inside urging him toward Perfume and creation. So in addition to jewelry, five fragrances began to shape the collection "Parfums de Pierre Poèmes: Rock Crystal, Amethyst, Black Tourmaline, Jade, Tourquoise.

Picture: mimifroufrou

The first was Rock Crystal, an incense with citrus notes, followed by Amethyst (incense, spices and notes of flowers), Jade (a woody aromatic: tea, star anise, elychrisum, cardamom, with some floral notes) Tourquoise (an “ozonic” incense with seaweed, lotus flower, juniper, honey and ambergris), Black Tourmaline (incense, lot of spices including cumin, coriander and cardamom, and smoky woods).
All his fragrances are created to evoke the symbolism carried by the stones in different eras and latitudes, such as elevation of consciousness (Jade), health and good fortune (turquoise), protection (rock crystal) . And since Olivier thinks the stones’ symbolism is bound with their colours, scents carry also the stones’ colours (Jade, Amethyst and Turquoise being the most unusual and fascinating: intense green the first, beautiful, deep purple the second and a vivid turquoise the third). Inside the bottle, then, are immersed 3 small "pearls" of the stone, so that name, scent, colour and stones vibrate in unison, carrying the same message.
I really like the concept, I must say that it’s intellectually very stimulating. But as usual, if scents were less interesting than their environment I wouldn’t talk about them at all: in this case, therefore, were the fragrances to intrigue me.
They are all variations on the incense/spice theme, the story angle changes with more flowers or woods, or sometimes he pushes up a certain note to make it stand out, thus using incense as a smooth basis upon which the rest is expressed. Spices he uses are not the most "domesticated" spics used in so many refined compositions like cinnamon, pink pepper, vanilla, cloves. They are primitive and animalic as cumin, coriander, black pepper, mate, cardamom, star anise, rendered in a vivid and powerful way. I especially like Black Tourmaline, as the most "dark" smoky, almost disturbing, the most Romantic Amethyst (romantic in the sense of "Sturm und Drang" not in the sense of "Hearts and Roses") and Jade, all aromatic edges.
But they are all very interesting, with strong personalities, long lasting and with powerful impact. They wont’ pass unnoticed, in fact. I’d recommend everyone to try them, even though I know that only a few would be electrified by them. Why? Because I feel them as too "forward" to be easily understood. “Forward” in the sense of style, taste and composition. And this is good because it means that Olivier has done something original and not stereotypical at all, with a fairly recognizable personal imprint. I don’t know if this is good for his business, but… It’s not my problem.
Ah, I have not said what a kind individual he is. I met him for the interview, we chatted a while, then the next day I meet him because he presented his fragrance to the SniffaPitti group (the picture above was taken on that occasion, I wrote about it here), so I had two days to observe him and get an idea of the person behind the fragrances. He won me for his gentle ways, he’s a very open person, with a charming shyness and a refined taste (but not at all ostentatious, and I liked it!).  Below, Olivier (left) together with Andy Tauer (right) during Pitti Immagine Fragranze in a picture taken by Guido (ProfumImport).

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