A basenotes fragrance must be an olfactory manifesto. What other purpose could a scent have, that bears the imprint of a community deeply dedicated to the art and craft of perfume? It must - /at all cost /- avoid the cheap and quotidian, the mass market routine that we have so frequently identified as the bane of modern perfumery. Instead it should reach back into the tradition of perfumery’s age of classic modernism with its emphasis on quality and complexity, while embracing the genuine technological advances and aesthetic innovations of recent years. It must feel instinctively comfortable to the lay person while revealing an intellectually vivid structure to the connoisseur - a meta-perfume that speaks of history and sings of beauty.
From these parameters derives my vision of a neo-classical masculine fougère fit for this Neo-Victorian era of ours, with its newfound LOHA love of understated luxury, true craft and subtle distinctions. It should follow Jacques Guerlain’s classic proportions – at least 80% natural, no more than 20% synthetic. It should feature, commemorating Houbigant’s Fougère Royale and the proud lineage it spawned, a lavender topnote. But this lavender should be CO2 extracted, thus embodying quality-enhancing state-of-the-art technology. It should incorporate liquorous florals in the heart, which were once the mark of male gentility and contemporarily embody 21^st century masculine sensitivity (the rose geranium of vintage Czech & Speake No. 88 or Washington Tremlett’s Black Tie, both originating from Forrester in Milan, may serve as a stylistic orientation). Its base should blend wood, green and spice (such as Australian sandalwood, oakmoss, coumarin, vetiver, labdanum) into a sense of /nouvelle tradition/ providing the depth of good natural oils while imparting some of the playful transparency mastered by Giacobetti or Buxton – yet it should avoid the obviousness of Iso-e-Super employed as a creative short-cut that demotes many contemporary creations. The machinery of modern olfactory tools should be sufficiently integrated with the classic structure, so as to form what one may call a steampunk fragrance, as it could be comfortably worn on hand-embroidered velvet wired with color-changing nanotechnology. Finally, it will subtly incorporate the unusual, a twist only of the unexpected, to signify its 21^st century pedigree (e.g. a miniscule amount of Kewda flower to sweeten a sandalwood-labdanum-coumarin-oakmoss base).
Thus the Victorian English Ferns, Mouchoir pour Monsieur, Caron pour un home and Dunhill of 1934, Agua Brava, Paco Rabanne and the other classics should receive their due homage, while yet another turn of innovation is folded into the structure of this new creation binding together past and present und the name of: L’Avant (“The Forward,” referencing “lavande, as well as l’avantgarde”).
In terms of style and market competition, two central reference points would be Knize perfumes, specifically Knize Forest, as well as Lorenzo Villoresi, e.g. Sandalo. The flacon should ideally be starkly geometrical Art Nouveau / Art Deco, the essence of craft tradition entwined wth modernism.
Submitted by the_good_life