Since joining Basenotes I have had my eyes, and particularly my nose, opened
to a new world of sensory delights. I have smelled perfumes I would never have
known how to access and have come to know what I like and what I don't.
The perfumer who has given me the most delight and who has stretched my
cerebral appreciation of scents to the max has to be Bertrand Duchaufour.
It all began with Sienne l'Hiver. I had never experienced anything quite like this before.
I got the whole picture dancing in my head and, even if it had been called something
else, I would have recognised the atmosphere of a mediterranean cobbled street in
the cool season. The very unusual greasy smell of olive mixed with the odour of hay and truffles -
wow! These were unusual, nose-tickling ingredients; this was the composition of a true genius.
Then I found his other works : Timbuktu, Avignon, Jubilation XXV, Paestum Rose, Baume du Doge - all these infused with the same incense theme - meditative and introspective.
Dzongkha, which reveals his affinity with Buddhism and Asia.
Flora Bella for Lalique - sensuous and tropical..
Amaranthine for Penhaligon - I have to admit this one blew me away! Very voluptuous and quite "naughty" for
such a stuffy old perfumery. Who would have expected it?
Havana Vanille - arguably his best composition for l'Artisan Parfumeur.
Bertrand also uses a variety of unusual, rare flowers, oils and woods in his perfumes:-
Karo Karounde, Elemis, Wenge wood, Davana and even condensed milk! He is always pushing the
boundaries of our olfactory experiences.
When I read recently that Duchaufour was also a photographer and a portrait and landscape painter and that he rarely wears perfume himself, except maybe occasionally Dior Homme (my favourite men's scent) I knew I had found a twin soul. Dior Homme is a brilliant scent and for him to say so makes it even more special in my eyes.
Yes I'll admit it - I'm a star-struck fan and would give my right arm to meet M. Duchaufour and talk perfume with him (in French even!)
I pray that L'Artisan Parfumeur will cherish and appreciate his genius. I look forward to more of his glorious compositions.