Thursday 18 April 2019

VALENTIN by Olivier Pescheux

There is nothing better than receiving a glowing review from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, but it does make the imminent launch of your new fragrance a little bit of a nail-biting experience. This was the position that Fragonard found themselves in this year after the reviewing pair fell for the charms of L’Aventurier. It had been created by Jordi Fernandez of Givaudan, and built upon the success of the previous Homme Élégant by Quentin Bisch, but 2019 had already been scheduled for the release of the company's new male fragrance. So, how does the romantic Valentin by Olivier Pescheux fare?

Fragonard is probably best known for its wonderfully opulent Belle de Nuit. This floral oriental fragrance was launched in 1946 and truly put the company on the map. Whilst the current version has been reorchestrated, it is still a diamond in the Fragonard crown. The goal of finding a male equivalent to this iconic perfume always eluded the company and customers toyed with scents such as the now discontinued Zizanie, Confidential, and Siècle. Whilst their current collection of nine masculine fragrances covers a range of styles, Agnès Costa wanted to romanticise the series and called on Olivier Pescheux to create number ten.

Olivier Pescheux studied perfumery at ISIPCA in Versailles and always says that his fascination with fragrance started as a child when he saw the film Le Sauvage, which starred Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand. The film had Montand playing a perfumer and, after watching it with his mother, Olivier decided that was the career for him. Stints at Annick Goutal, Payan Bertrand, and the Kao Corporation followed his graduation from ISIPCA before he joined Givaudan in 1998. He would go on to create fragrances for Dior, Diptyque, Mont Blanc, and Paco Rabanne before turning his attention to Fragonard and Valentin.

Now, the name Valentin has been borrowed from an older Fragonard fragrance that is long discontinued but, as the scent has a mix of classic and contemporary notes, it feels right to lift it from the archives. Also, the company have plans this spring to devote a large space in Grasse to men’s outfitting. By this I mean fragrance, clothing, accessories, and gifting. They promise to show us how to be “a Fragonard man” and I’m looking forward to seeing what that entails. For now, however, it’s time to discover the “romantic accents” that lie within the new male perfume, Valentin.

The classic quality of Valentin appears right at the start with a lively burst of bergamot and lemon that sits alongside a smooth lavender. Before you have time to linger on that blue aromatic it is joined by an arresting blend of ginger and cardamom. Now, ginger is a very fashionable ingredient at the moment and, as part of this duo, it adds a real fire to the perfume. Up to this point it does have a romantically traditional quality about it but the continued development on the skin shows why Olivier Pescheux is at the top of his game.

He clever pairs off the remaining ingredients in a way that seems to accent particular qualities. The patchouli is buddied up with cedarwood to accent that woody facet and a note of sandalwood is sweetened with the perfect dash of tonka bean. However, the fragrance's parting combination of dry oakmoss pushed even further by a carefully tempered vetiver really is what lingers as the fragrance fades. Valentin melts into the skin and journeys from a classic cologne through to a contemporary composition. Though technically a masculine fragrance, Valentin will also be perfect for those ladies that love their chypres.

Valentin is available from Fragonard boutiques and the website at priced at £28 for 100ml and £40 for 200ml.

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