Thursday 17 October 2019

POÈME DE SAGANO by Sonia Constant

The job of the perfumer is very similar to that of an actor, both professions require you to adapt your skills to the latest role or challenge. An actor will play many parts during their career but we often forget that numerous fragrances, be they luxury or high street, are often created by the same talented “nose”. Perfumers create to a brief, and often to a strict budget, but all of that changes if they are brave enough to venture out on their own. Sonia Constant has recently launched her ELLA K range and, whilst inspired by empowered journeyers, her Poème de Sagano offers some much needed space for contemplation.

Sonia Constant is one of the Givaudan stable of perfumers and has been responsible for fragrances from a wide variety of houses. From Guerlain’s Tiare Mimosa to Fragonard’s Muguet and Tom Ford’s Noir Extreme to Yves Rocher’s Cuir Vetiver, Sonia’s repertoire is expansive. However, even though many of her creations have taken a decidedly powerful stance on ingredients and volume, when it comes to her own ELLA K range the scents take on a much more contemplative and personal resonance. She wants her fragrances to emphasise your own personality rather than imposing one, and the results are truly spectacular.

The inspiration for the ELLA K range comes from a combination of four intrepid travellers, Ella Maillart, Alexandra David-Neel, Karen Blixen, and Amélia Earhart. These four courageous women helped to change the perception of female explorers and, alongside Sonia’s own thirst to discover new cultures and scents, are the perfect figureheads for a collection that matches new experiences with scented discoveries. The collection of eight perfumes takes us all the way from citrus to animalic but, at the same time, enhances the wearer’s own character. Sonia said to me, “a person’s scent is an extension of themselves, and it must match the person we fall in love with.”

Out of the eight fragrances that Sonia Constant showed me there was one that literally took my breath away. Poème de Sagano is described as a tribute to bergamot and takes its inspiration from the Arashiyama bamboo plantation in Kyoto. She said that she wanted to capture “the gentle to and fro of the bamboo caressing the sun, the infinite shades of green that surrounded me, and finally the sparkle of the sun’s rays as they forced their way through.” Bamboo has been a popular, if slightly sweetened, note in recent years but Poème de Sagano refreshes the balance with beautifully aromatic and citrus heights.

The fragrance opens with a mouth-wateringly sunny citrus blend of bergamot, grapefruit and yuzu but, at the same time, you also get the first impression of Sonia Constant’s interpretation of bamboo. Its lush, green-tea aroma is given an extra vibrancy with touches of nanah mint, which is a more pungent version of spearmint, and the merest whisper of eucalyptus. As the scent develops on the skin you get an embracing watercolour wash of musk accompanied by the smooth, crisp aroma of cedarwood but, in the background, a delicate hint of blackcurrant sweetness helps to support the stunningly evocative effect of a sun-touched bamboo. Poème de Sagano is, in a word, magnificent.

Poème de Sagano is available from ELLA K at priced at £175 for 70ml and exclusively from Harvey Nichols in the United Kingdom. You can also click on the image below to discover the scented secrets that Sonia Constant revealed during "Stephan's Six". [Sample provided by ELLA K]

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