New British Perfume House: Shay & Blue – from former Chanel and Jo Malone man

22nd November, 2012

Shay & Blue is a brand new British perfumery, founded by Dom De Vetta. The house launches its first range of six fragrances shortly, with a dedicated boutique to open in March 2013 in Marylebone, London. De Vetta is a veteran of the fragrance industry having worked at L’Oreal, Jo Malone and Chanel, where he was responsible for the concept of the Les Exclusifs line.

De Vetta told Basenotes that working alongside Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake was “The most wonderful, magical fragrance 'school' for me…!!”.

“I persuaded the Chanel team in Paris that we should develop this as a special 'haute parfumerie' line, building on the existing Chanel boutique fragrances (at that time, No.22, Gardenia, Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie). They agreed, and I was made the project lead for this launch, creating the vision for the line of fragrances, working closely, frequently and directly with Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake in their Studio throughout 2004 and 2005 to create the line as it is today, including beauties like 31 rue Cambon, Coromandel, 28 La Pausa.”

After Chanel, De Vetta was Jo Malone’s first Global General Manager, replacing Jo Malone and her husband after their departure. He oversaw the expansion of Jo Malone London from seven countries to twenty-seven, more than doubling the size of the business in three years. Searched for, found, and selected a dedicated 'nose' for the house, Christine Nagel, and “worked personally extremely closely with her on all new fragrance projects, including Cologne Intense and creative limited editions like the Tea Collection.”

After leaving Jo Malone just over a year ago, De Vetta has been working on his own line: Shay & Blue, which is “Made with real fruits, flowers and spices” and “Inspired by the great classic perfumes of old, reinvented to be current and contemporary.”

De Vetta wanted a young perfumer to act as ‘house nose’ for the new company, so he turned to Christine Nagel, who he worked with at Jo Malone, for some advice on young talented perfumers. His search ended when he met Julie Massé (pictured above, with De Vetta).

Massé is from a Grasse family and has trained with perfumers such as Nagel and Pierre Bourdon. One of her recent creations was Blanc de Courrèges.

The fragrances are as follows with descriptions from the company:

Atropa Belladonna

An intoxicating beauty.

The bewitching Atropa Belladonna, Italian for ‘Beautiful Lady’, is also known as poisonous deadly nightshade.

This rare plant was ingested by 17th century Venetians for its potent cosmetic effect – its natural toxins dilated the pupils, giving its subject a deadly, hallucinogenic beauty.

Top: Berries, Cassis Liqueur

Heart: White Narcissus, Grasse Jasmine

Base: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Bourbon Vanilla

Blood Oranges

Blood Orange is a cross-breed of pomelo and virginal clementine. Humble citrus in perfumery can disappoint and disappear, but the muscular blood orange, thirsting for air-space grabs your attention.

Top: Blood orange, segments and juice.

Heart: Leather

Base: Dark Woods, Amber, Musky Notes

Amber Rose

The archetypal aristocrat of perfumery, Amber Rose strikes a seductive pose. This elegant madame has a rich pedigree at the heart of history’s most romantic fragrances. Here, she has been intensified and modernised to ring her up to date for the twenty-first century, to tempt and tantilise.

Top: May Rose

Heart: Dulche de Leche

Base: Woods, White Amber

Sicilian Limes

Ruthlessly risky. This Casanova of a fragrance is sharply tangy, a fizz of acidic citrus on the tongue with a shot of salt and danger. Sharply turned out. Ready for action.

Top: A rush of salt limes, sea air and citrus cocktails

Heart: Rosemary

Base: Cedarwood, Moss

Suffolk Lavender

Darkly expressive. Fashionable society, in the chic county of Suffolk, with the potential for a little after-dark adventure. Perfumery’s classic lavender has been harvested and blended with a richer and darker edge than usual, redolent of the dead of night.

Top: Lavender, Melon

Heart: Lavender, Spices, Smoky Incense

Base: Musk, Pine Wood

Almond Cucumber

A watery nymph. An unusual and inventive combination. Here, cucumber is used to express a watery, elegiac refinement, a dreamy nostalgia tempered and balanced by the powdery nuttiness and crunch of a chopped almond.

Top: cucumber

Heart: almond blossom, mimosa, heliotrope

Base: almond, almond wood

Above, Julie Massé, selecting the best of this year's jasmine crop

All six fragrances are available as 30ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum natural spray. Atropa Belladonna, Blood Oranges and Amber Rose are also available as 100% natural wax 140g candles with 40 hour burn time.

Shay & Blue’s website will launch around December 1st. As well as the website, the range will be available from March at the Shay & Blue store (80 York St, Old Marylebone). Another exclusive retail partner is to be announced.

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