Timbuktu, Dzonghka or Traversèe du Bosphore created for L’Artisan Parfumeur, Penhaligon's Sartorial, Avignon and Kyoto for Comme des Garcons, or Sienne l'Hiver and Baume du Doge for Eau d'Italie, you know exactly what I mean (and if you’ve never worn anyone of these, well… what are you waiting for?). Bertrand’s clever technique combines both descriptive and abstract features, that is his fragrances recreate places both with caption (ie, "I smell mint, basil, sage ... we are definitely in a garden") and abstract notes, adding to the actual smells of the place the abstract idea we have of that place.
He usually identifies a central star, a characteristic scent immediately associated with that particular place (i.e. the smell of precious woods and resins from Bhutan, the taste of rose of Turkish Loukhoum, the smell of chalk dust in a tailor’s shop, the incense wafting in Japanese temples and Avignon churches, the smell of spices in the Doges’ Venice) and then adds co-starring notes, surrounding the protagonist scent, enlightning it, transfiguring it.
Bertrand is not only good because he’s able to determine the scent best representing the place, nor because he can make it immediately recognizable. He is, because he knows how to work it to make it truer than reality. Reality and abstraction are wings flying you to the exact place where he wants you to be: just spray, close your eyes and images will materialize on their own.
With the last launch of Eau d'Italie, "Jardin du Poète" he takes us into a Mediterranean garden. Pyramid says grapefruit, bitter orange, basil, angelica, helycrisum, pink pepper, cypress, vetiver and musk. The garden is not all there: there’s no bergamot and lemon, nor orange blossom, jasmine, geranium and rosemary which grow almost everywhere here. Moreover, red pepper and vetiver aren’t Mediterranean at all, while grapefruit and angelica are to be found only in few gardens. And yet... Yet you have no uncertainty about where you are, and enjoy at full the fresh green sensation: sharp, vigorous, energetic, nostril-widening. Even meditative in some way. In this garden you aren’t just to play and enjoy nature, but also to write, to read poetry, to govern a city.
The new launch by Eau d'Italie is simply beautiful. A formally impeccable beauty, clean, basic, even austere, serene and meditative. A round of applause for Bertrand, and two rounds for Sebastian Alvarez Murena (founder of Eau d'Italie), who continues carving his path into emotional beauty.