Monday 3 October 2022


Bottle of L'Appartement de Madame de Florian perfume by Charles Wong
Scent is often described as having the ability to conjure up the memories of long-forgotten people, places and events. However, you’re not always in control of where those memories will take you. It could remind you of the scent of a ex-lover, or bring back images of an old address, but it even has the power to stimulate a little bit of scented time travel. A fragrance that is based on a time or place outside of our own experience runs the risk of being difficult for customers to relate to, but L'Appartement de Madame de Florian from Charles Wong perfectly combines romantic Parisian danger with unexplained mystery from another time.

Charles Wong is a name that many people will be unfamiliar with when it comes to fragrance, but is definitely one that niche lovers should be hunting out. He started his company back in 2019 with his first fragrance, Aurora. This took traditional French perfumery, added in a snifter of eccentric English aristocracy, and finished with a flourish of Asian-inspired mystery. Linderhof am Morgen arrived in 2020, which took the Bavarian palace of the same name as its starting point, but this went in a more patisserie meets polished woodwork direction. However, number three really feels like he’s settled into his stride.

Madame de Florian is the name of the famous Parisian demimonde whose apartment was discovered untouched in 2010. It had been undisturbed since 1966 and still contained many dust-covered belongings that dated back to the 1930s and before. One of these was a painting of her by Giovanni Boldini, one of her many lovers, and sees her wearing the now famous pink muslin evening gown. You can almost imagine the parties that she would throw and attend from the way she’s displaying a plunging neckline and throwing her head back as if she’s revealing in the notoriety.

Perfume box for L'Appartement de Madame de Florian perfume by Charles Wong
Charles Wong was fascinated by the story of the apartment and of Madame de Florian, and so set about creating a fragrance that would conjure up both the apartment and the woman. He again enlisted the help of Richard Asfour from Parfums Corialys and, together, they brought this famous courtesan to life. Charles wanted to depict the “ethereal, sophisticated, sumptuousness character” but, as a contrast, also show a “seductive and darkly-romantic direction”. With the bottle adorned with both dusty rose and blood-red ribbon, simply removing the cap signals that you’re about to discover the two sides of Madam de Florian.

The fragrance opens with a bright burst of bergamot, accompanied by a touch of pink pepper, but is quickly followed by a combination of cardamom and melon. This latter note adds a wateriness to the scent, almost cocktail-like, and the spice adds a decadent absinthe edge. There’s a delicate touch of rose in here as well, again dewy rather than rich, before a juicy note of overripe black currant arrives. The development of the perfume brings us up to date with an amber warmth and cinnamon-like incense that hints at the trapped air of distant parties, before a dry vetiver conjures up the untouched paper of a long-forgotten invitation. Time may have moved on, but Madame de Florian’s memories remain.

L'Appartement de Madame de Florian is priced at £185 for 50ml Extrait de Parfum, and comes in an initial limited production of forty bottles. To order, or for details of stockists, you can contact Charles Wong directly by clicking here. [Sample provided by Charles Wong]

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