Thursday 15 December 2016

Forty-Eight Hours in Paris

"Travel broadens the mind" … it’s a well-used motto, but in the case of the last two days it certainly rings true. I spent forty-eight hours in Paris meeting perfume companies, perfumers, distributors, trainers, and still found time for some retail therapy. What I came away with though was far more than flacons; I came back excited that there are still creators with a sound understanding of perfume construction that doesn't just revolve around bells, whistles and bangs. From lush florals to Russian leather, sparkling colognes to the definitive muguet, I experienced them all.

One of the great things about visiting Paris is having the chance to meet up with new perfumers who have a different take on creation and formulation. One of those that I met was Daniel Pescio, who I think is definitely a man to watch. His background was originally in the film industry and so there is a lush theatricality to his fragrances. They are like self-contained stories built around exciting ingredients, but he manages to seamlessly blend a traditional richness with a touch of modern styling. His Muguet Extrait was easily the best interpretation of Lily of the Valley that I have ever smelled and as for Fleur Cannibale, well that is something for another time.

Even within the larger brands you have perfumers creating scents that, whilst they will never be mainstream, are important references to the past as well as the future. I am talking about Thomas Fontaine and Jean Patou. When he first started to unscramble the effects of the previous P&G ownership Thomas was recreating, as close as possible, the original scent and olfactory experience. His Joy was a masterpiece as were the first eight of the Collection Hèritage, but then he really flew with Colony. On this scent he reinterpreted it for a modern audience and the effect is tantalising. It is still easily recognisable as Colony but in its current form is now ready for a new audience.

Le Jardin Retrouvé was originally set up by the perfumer Yuri Gutsatz in 1975 with the sole aim of making the best possible fragrance at the most affordable price. You must remember that the 1960s truly were the beginning of “marketing department” power over the perfumer, and so this was his way of fighting back. The company relaunched in November using formulae as close to Yuir’s originals as possible and what his son, Michel, and his wife, Clara, have created is phenomenal. Do yourself a favour and purchase the sample set from the website, and the Cuir de Russie has to be smelled to be believed.

So, those were a few of the highlights of my trip to Paris. I’ll be writing properly about all of them in the coming weeks but I wanted to share an overview with you. It’s always nice to come home after a trip, but I always feel as though I leave a little piece of me in France.


  1. I've not heard of Daniel before. Are his perfumes available to sample anywhere??

    1. Not yet, but I'm sure that it won't be long. I'll bring them with me when I next see you in London. Best, Stephan