A new kind of olfactory dictionary – “An Atlas of Natural Beauty” by Victoire de Taillac and Ramdane Touhami, L’Officine Universelle Buly, Paris
December 21, 2017
After juggling in between a prominent fashion conference, my day job and Christmas preparation, I come to realize that it’s time to do something more relaxing and pleasurable for myself, just when I tried to make up my mind on either having a soothing massage or a secluded afternoon tea, I just received an intriguing invitation to a book launch, which surprisingly, it’s a new book that written by a renowned French perfumer couple, Ms. Victoire de Taillac and Mr. Ramdane Touhami of L’Officine Universelle Buly, and for this particular book launch, which organized by my French friend who runs his lifestyle fashion boutique in Hong Kong, Mr. Arnault Castel of Kapok, they also brought in the French master calligrapher, Mr. Bruno Gigarel, to do the personalized signing for each guest on-site, along with a stylish and pretty display showcasing the fragrance with the new book, adding so much French artistry and heritage into the evening.
Having been a globetrotter and received multiple cultural influence during their travel, from Japan to Morocco, this passionate French couple is the main force of the revival of L’Officine Universelle Buly, an esteemed perfume house established since 1803 which famous by their alcohol-free premium fragrance. While Victoire devoted herself into running the daily business and operations of the boutique in Paris, and being a loving mother to raise their three children, Ramdane dedicates his time as an entrepreneur, art collector and a designer, both sharing a common ground of passing their knowledge of olfactory ingredients and their characteristics, the know-how of fine fragrance creation, and their expertise being in the beauty industry, to someone that are having the same aspiration, and, a fire-burning interest of indulging themselves to discover the odyssey of the world of French fragrance.
As for this new book, ‘An Atlas of Natural Beauty’, it’s literally a new manifestation of glorifying this beautiful French savoir-faire – fragrance making, keeping the tradition alive, and stays true to the core spirit of this French couple, creating something very quintessentially French with homage to their know-how, yet, putting their own thoughts and knowledge into this one book that guide the readers to explore different olfactory ingredients in a more ‘user-friendly’ approach, whether it’s the fruity and delicious note from an Apricot, or a sweet and euphoric floral note from a Peony, this beautiful book guides a reader step-by-step to understand the characteristics and usage of each specific ingredient, yet, preserving the elegant flair of the French Belle L’Epoque from the layout and design of the book, and it’s also informative and easy-reading (which for sure it won’t be very overwhelming nor uber-serious like reading a thousand-page encyclopedia). To me, it brings me back a lot of memories when I revisited the Buly boutique on Rue Bonaparte back in July this year, especially feeling their effort of preserving the original interior of the early 19th century upon stepping inside the boutique, letting their customer to experience how a past century parapharmacy looks like with a hint and light grassy and woody scent around, it’s just as valuable and dedicated as their effort on creating these high quality fragrances and beauty products, putting their heart, passion and love into it.
Before having a chance to revisit the Rue Bonaparte boutique once again (and even Paris), even with this beautiful copy of olfactory dictionary, it’s good enough to keep me relaxed and reboot, in the end, it’s part of how a fragrance works apart from solely a vanity purpose, right?
Image courtesy of L’Officine Universelle Buly Hong Kong / Kapok Hong Kong.