Thursday, 3 October 2019

TEISENDDU by Frassaï

There are scents from our childhood that have such a strong association that they almost conjure up an emotion inside you rather than a memory. That wonderful wash of happiness, or sadness in some cases, cannot be contained and bursts through the dam-like walls of our very souls. Sometimes even the description of a fragrance does it and that was exactly what happened to me when I read about Teisenddu by Frassaï. Proudly described as “the first woman-owned niche fragrance house from Argentina,” I knew that I had to discover more about the fascinating links with my native Wales.

Frassaï was founded in 2013 by Argentinian born Natalia Outeda but her links with the perfume industry stretch much further back. She began her career with Quest International as the Project Manager for their Bath & Body Works account before transferring to the fine fragrances division when they were bought by Givaudan in 2007. It was here that she really had her horizons expanded as she was tasked with developing “new olfactive directions” for many of the companies that they worked with. Many ideas never became reality, but it definitely sowed the seed for what would later become Frassaï.

One of the incredible advantages of working within a company like Givaudan is that you get to collaborate with a huge stable of perfumers, and this can really cement the fact that you need to pair the right perfumer with the right project. Working around the likes of Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Yann Vasnier, and Calice Becker opened her eyes to the possibilities within scent and, in 2012, she took the brave decision to branch out on her own. The Frassaï collection comprises of Blondine by Yann Vasnier, Tian Di by Olivier Gillotin, A Fuego Lento and Verano Porteño by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, and Teisenddu by Roxanne Kirkpatrick.

In May 1865, one hundred and fifty-three welsh emigrants sailed aboard the Mimosa from Liverpool to Patagonia to start a new life. Now, if there’s one thing that we Welsh like it’s a good cup of tea and a thick slice of heavily buttered Bara Brith. So, it’s no surprise at all then that this tradition travelled with them. In Argentina it was called Torta Negra, and is a much darker cake version of the original loaf, but it is still absolutely recognisable as our traditional favourite. Densely fruited, liberally spiced, and occasionally boozed, could Teisenddu really do justice to this famous piece of Welsh history?

The fragrance opens with the most incredible burst of bitter orange and dry mixed spice, as though you’ve just cut into a freshly baked Bara Brith, although it quickly expands to bring in delicious notes of dark fruits and a hint of mimosa. There’s a muscovado sugar quality that adds a rich depth rather than syrupy sweetness and, mixed with a sensually soft leather note, makes the perfect gourmand fragrance. You also get a boozy effect from a rum note and the clever addition of the juniper helps to keep the candied citrus right through to the end. An uplifting yet decadent gourmand fragrance, Teisenddu is making me homesick for Wales.

Teisenddu is available from the Frassaï website at frassai.com priced at $150 for 50ml or as part of the discovery set priced at $39. [Sample provided by Natalia Outeda]

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