This Article is Hidden

L’Avant - woody spicy neo-classical fougère for Men


08th January, 2000

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

  • Share this

Advertisement — comments are below


    • Redneck Perfumisto | 10th January 2010 18:01

      I'll make no secret of hoping this one gets done. At a minimum, I wish for one fragrance to heed your most important general thought:

      [quote] 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.[/quote]

      I do believe that we are offering the opportunity for this to happen. If at least one fragrance is constructed without regard to cost (within reason, meaning don't put it in Baccarat, please), then I think it is possible to do what can still be done, accepting that CPL may have one or both hands tied by IFRA.

      We have the opportunity for a fragrance in honor of Basenotes to be a leader and point of reference, if I dare say, even (arguably - beautifully arguably) of a new genre or movement in perfumery. Let it be so! :beer:

    • Strat | 20th January 2010 00:33

      This is to me an outstanding concept. There are a few elements in there that would be stretching for me, but that's part of the fun. On the whole, this is the sort of fragrance I envision (enscent?) in my quieter moments when I wonder what's possible.

      It's a tall order. "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

      I have a maxim that has stood me in good stead in both the technology and fragrance realms. "There are two kinds of fool: one who says 'this is old and therefore good' and one who says 'this is new and therefore better."

      It seems to me that this community, with this sort of brief, demonstrates the right sort of folks to make a go of trying to find what's best in both.

    • jayjupes | 7th February 2010 21:54

      this is well planned and would love to see(smell) it well executed.

    • the_good_life | 9th February 2010 20:44

      Thanks for your encouraging comments. Whether my actual brief is chosen or not, I too hope that some of the key principles it embodies will be observed in the making of these fragrances. This is a fantastic opportunity to make a statement about perfumery - as well as three beautiful perfumes - and to some extent the result will have an impact on BN's reputation as well. The magnificent outpouring of intelligent creativity in the shape of so many fine texts is already an impressive show of the perfume intelligence and sensibility gathered here under the green banner.