When it comes to fragrance, everyone’s nose, and fragrance preference, is different. What one person things smells divine, the other thinks is disgusting. What smells good on one person, might not smell do great on another person’s body chemistry. As someone who loves fragrance and reviews a fair amount of it, I try to be impartial and not impose my personal preferences on anyone who might read my articles. But sometimes I find something exceptional, and I can’t help but broadcast that fact.
The four new fragrances in L’Occitane’s new fragrance collection, inspired by the perfumers in Grasse, France, is such a collection.
Although Grasse is a village worth checking out just for it’s charm, it is also considered by many to be the mecca of fragrance and perfumery. Grasse produces over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavorings) and has had a healthy perfume industry since the end of the 18th century. Not only is Grasse a place to create perfume, the climate (terroir) there is ideal for growing many kinds of fragrance plants, including world renowned jasmine, rose, and orange blossom. Many perfumers “noses” are trained or have spent time in the more than 60 companies that produce fragrance there.
This collection of Grasse fragrances offer pleasure to the noses of varied fragrance profiles, but all of them are quite unique, elegant, and sophisticated. They are reasonably priced ($75.00 2.5 fl. oz. Eau de Toilette) for a high quality scent, but hardly a boring, uncomplicated, fruity floral like the kind that stuff the shelves at department and drug store. The ampersand (&) embossed on the clear, glass bottle and even onto the pristine, white, cardboard outer boxes (which also have a braille imprint on them), are a nod to the fact that the notes have been brought together, two by two, thereby linking the key materials in the user’s mind.
The four fragrances were created by perfumer Karine DuBreuil, who is now the in-house perfumer for L’Occitane (so I’m guessing we’re going to be treated to new and beautiful scents as the seasons, pass). She learned her craft at the Roure School of Perfumery in Grasse, and has created other fragrances for L’Occitane, for over 15 years. But this new collection. in my personal opinion, really surpasses all the other collections of pleasing, L’Occitane fragrances.
At the launch and afterwards, at home, I spent some time with samples. So what can you expect?
Jasmin & Bergamote: Jasmine is a white flower that can be overpowering in a less skillful creation, but in this tone, the scent starts with a burst of bright bergamote, and it is only in a while, that the lovely floral aspects of jasmine is revealed on your skin. The Bergamote continues to show up, but the Jasmine blossoms to make this scent fresh, but also feminine.
Magnolia & Mure: In case you’re wondering what “Mure” is, it’s a blackberry. The magnolia is another really feminine white flower, but delicate both in appearance and scent. For those who live in Louisiana, it’s their state flower. The scent of the magnolia, some say, is a blend of cherry blossom and vanilla, with a hint of lemon. The blackberry, adds a musky and woodsy edge that is unique, categorizing it as a “fruity chypre.” Like the Jasmin & Bergamote, your nose may sniff one thing first, revealing the other blended in, once it’s on your skin. The mix of essential oil of Magnolia from the Far East, and blackberrry from the South of France, blends, beautifully
Vanille & Narcisse: I’m not a fan of narcissus. To me it smells like burning rubber tires, but in this particular fragrance, it has won me over. Again, the white floral narcissus absolutes from France smell spicy, but the Vanilla from Madagascar tones down the part of the narcissus that (to me) smells like chemicals burning. It’s a vanilla-centric oriental, but don’t expect it to smell like a cloying, drugstore or department store vanilla. This one blends so that you get the sensual nature of vanilla, without the extra “sweet” that sometimes makes it too “gooey.”
Thé Vert & Bigarade: This to me, is the most subtle of the fragrances, and it is unisex. The Green tea extract from Japan is soft, the Bitter orange essential oil from Tunisia makes it aromatic. Essential and aimed at both women and men, it has a thirst-quenching effect, when sparkling citrus notes burst forth in an accord of sweet and bitter Orange. You smell the tea, immediately, but then the bitter orange note, which really smells zesty and bright and citrus-y, is revealed. This is the only one of the three that doesn’t have a significant white flower in it, and I think it will make a wonderful warm weather pick-me up.
The fragrances debuted in-store and on usa.l’occitane.com on April 17th. However, if you’re looking for something special for mother’s day and you haven’t decided what to get yet, there is a L’Occitane Collector’s Edition Set for ($95.00 – $113 value) that includes any one of the four Collection de Grasse fragrances, paired with a Body Milk and complimentary Shower Gel. If you aren’t sure which scent sends you the most, get them all! There’s a L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse Mini Eau de Toilette Set ($30.00 – $46 value) with four little bottles, one of each of the four fragrances. It’s great for travel and a nice way to try all four scents. There is also a perfumed soap, too!!!