Monday, 27 April 2020

TIARELLA by Fragonard

One of the questions that I get asked most often is “Which perfume do you wish that they would bring back?” Now this usually ends up relating to the particular fragrance house that you’re talking about, and so the answer is a little weighted in their favour. When you’re given free rein to decide then the decision becomes more about whether you go down the “scholarly” route or choose something more personal. So, in the current climate of reduced launches, I asked myself this question and the answer may surprise you. The fragrance that I would like to see come back is Tiarella by Fragonard.

The story of Fragonard has become synonymous with the south of France and, whilst it may have started as a tourist novelty, this fragrance house is now competing on a truly global level. The company was founded in 1926 by Eugène Fuchs and originally focused its attentions on the increasing desire for “leisurely diversions” around the Côte d’Azur. Grasse was already a centre for perfumery when Eugène decided to entice the tourists away from the highlife of Cannes, but even he could never have imagined the dynasty that would be created when he bought that original perfume factory.

Three generations later, the whole business is now safely in the hands of the three great granddaughters of the founder. Anne, Françoise, and Agnès all have very particular skills that they bring to the company, and it’s this pooling of abilities that has seen Fragonard transform from floral waters to fine fragrance. Agnès has always strived to encourage the perfumers to create scents that remain close to the wearer, and this is what the customers have come to love. However, some of the classic fragrances in the collection do break out of this mould and reveal themselves in all their powerhouse glory.

One of the discontinued fragrances by Fragonard that often comes up in conversation is Tiarella. Now, you’ll have to bear with me here because the details of this perfume are a little bit sketchy. The information that the company were able to provide suggests that the fragrance was launched in the early eighties and seems to have been discontinued about ten years later. That would place it during the time of Fragonard's last in-house nose, Serge Kalouguine. Now he once said of French perfumery, “it represents our country”, and that was never more evident than in the wonderfully aldehydic, and sublimely sensuous, Tiarella.

This woody floral opens with the arresting aldehydic sparkle that you’d expect from an eighties fragrance. A mix of bergamot and neroli continues the brightness before a floral heart of jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley arrives to take control. The sparkle remains throughout but a powdery iris then arrives, which throws off glints of violet, before a blend of peach-touched sandalwood and earthy vetiver add mystery to the floral heart. A final wash of cashmere-like musk and a whisper of an amber accord pulls the whole fragrance into a sensuous embrace and, whilst it may scream femininity, this is one fragrance that I would not be without.

Tiarella has been discontinued for thirty years but does occasionally appear on internet auction sites. For more information about Fragonard and their current collection you can visit their website at fragonard.com.

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