One of the launches that most struck me during Esxence exhibition is Aedes de Venustas, a fragrance created for the U.S. Based perfumery store bearing the same name. After years dedicated to offering the New York public artistic and unconventional perfumes, the owners decided to take a step further, creating a composition for their own brand, and involved Bertrand Duchaufour in the project. Through collaborations with such diverse brands (L'Artisan Parfumeur, Acqua di Parma, Neela Vermeire, Aedes, etc.), Bertrand is proposing consistently exceptional fragrances, among the best things you can smell around; challenging, vibrant, unexpected, and often, loved first sniff. Even when it's about another orange blossom or oud scent (Seville à l'Aube in L'Artisan line or Neela Vermeire's Trayee -soon reviewed here-), his way of interpreting the brief makes them unusual and interesting. Probably Bertrand's best quality is listening, and in fact his most successful works are those in which the client was able to follow his creative process more closely. His perfumes for Neela Vermeire are different from those for the new L'Artisan Parfumeur, which in turn is different from that of Aedes de Venustas, and this highlights an ability to morph his talent and views into what the client asks. May be this is the reason why Bertrand always surprises, and through his creative mark, he's making perfume something challenging again.
As an example, this scent for Aedes is different from what I'd expected. Given the baroque interior of the store (purple damask, crystal and gold, peacocks, decadent aesthetics and fine details) I was not expecting this miracle of simplicity.
But perhaps this is just correct: luxury is already in the sumptuous purple bottle with unusual, concealed gilded stopper; having it filled to the brim with tuberose, jasmine and damask rose would've been almost predictable, and perhaps redundant.
The bouquet is indeed is a modern, essential stylization of a chypre, dominated by green notes and a general bitterness.
The opening features -maybe- petigrain, artemisia and certainly helychrisum, immediately joined by an even more bitter and cold note, rhubarb. Unusual, isn't it? The vetiver heart contributes more green brightness and elegance. The patchouli is there but you just feel its silky moisture, not the woody effect. A cloud of incense envelops the composition, adding it an an extra-cool effect and a somehow “restrained” mood.
The overall feel is a clean, understated refinment, a strong yet serene personality, not prone to compromise. Although an edp with a good projection, it doesn't live too long, I would say a couple of hours, then gradually becomes quieter
No baroque reminiscence, then, no purple velvet, just excellent ingredients, creatively assembled in a minimalist light, precise to the millimeter.
I wrote that I see it as an essential, modernized version of a chypre. Well, most scents defined as "modern chypres" would love to be shadowy and sensual as chypres used to be in the past but unfortunately, seldom they succeeded at it: bergamot and cistus are used in smaller quantities because restricted by IFRA standards, rose and jasmine are too expensive to use and oakmoss, which offered a velvet shadow of incomparable beauty is almost unusable altogether...
Those who loved N.19 by Chanel, Balmain's Vent Vert, Y by YSL or Carven's Ma Griffe might find the same satisfaction with this Aedes de Venustas, while those who never approached chypres with particular enthusiasm, might be able to discover their sculpted, refined beauty starting from this strange and edgy scent, bearer of an originality really, really amazing.