When it comes to July, it always reminds me of one thing apart from Wimbledon (which was cancelled this year sadly), that is, the French national day (also known as Bastille Day); and it also reminds me of a promise that I made for myself, that I should spend my birthday in Paris (or France) if I could, being in the city of light and romance, dress elegantly with a polished outfit, adding a splash of sumptuous French fragrance, and spending a magical birthday evening over an elegant dinner and a glass of bubblies; While I can no longer keep this promise to myself anymore with the down drive of economy and chaotic situation in my city, which alters my lifestyle in 180-degree since two years ago, but that doesn’t mean I have given up this incredible and self-loving promise, on contrary, even if I cannot physically be there, I can always find something with French elegance to celebrate about, and for this year, I decided to settle for 2 fragrances from a luxury Parisian fragrance house, Pont des Arts Paris.
Just like the name-sake Parisian bridge that connects people and both banks in the city (left & right banks on each side of the Seine River), the brand name ‘Pont des Arts Paris’ literally has the similar meaning behind the story of this fragrance brand itself, it’s the encounter of the two Paris-born creators of the brand who are living in our time, having a heart connected to their roots of the Parisian romance, spectacular architecture, the love and passion about traditional French olfactory heritage, that using the famous Parisian bridge as the name to interprets their story and passion through fragrance.
When I first came across the fragrance by Pont des Arts Paris, the one thing that appeals me is the design of the bottle and packaging (and don’t worry, I am not judging the book by its cover only, so please keep reading), the simple elegant bottle with the golden engraved cap, and the architecture design elements from the bridge designed by engineers, which tells the thoughtfulness of the creators of the house; the fragrance comes with a box which its design comes from a concept of a book, with a subtle slogan writes ‘A delicate scent, a simple glance….but with life-changing potential….’, that adds much of the poetic touch into the fragrance itself.
With such a thoughtful cover, the fragrance itself pretty much reflects the same kind of refinement, and the effort by the creators and the creative team behind, with their 4-years research and development, employs the traditional methods of French high perfumery, using exceptional raw materials with more than 40 different ingredients per fragrance, and, the magic formulation by French master perfumers including one of my respected Bertrand Duchaufour (which we previously had an eQ&A with him from my previous blog), and Vincent Grandjon, the fragrance collection by Pont des Arts Paris is a result of professional effort, a contemporary perfume work-of-art, and a flair of modern luxury interpreted by French perfume artisan and creators.
After a couple of spray of ‘À ce soir’ (English as ‘See you tonight’, created by Bertrand Duchaufour), I can visualize the euphoric comfort during a summer day time, wearing a crispy white linen shirt and a beige flex linen suit, it’s an easing fragrance with a green and velvety opening, from the freshness of bamboo, green mandarin, blackcurrant bud and citron, then it gradually turns into floral accord however it’s not over feminine at all! I guess it’s the green notes and the leathery top notes that stays and mingled with the middle notes from Narcisses absolute and orchid, the velvety and creaminess becomes obvious when the balsamic notes starts to emerge: the warmth of Amber, the creaminess of Vanilla absolute, juxtaposed with a more substantial scent from Benzoin of Siam and Vetiver, which makes ‘À ce soir’ an ideal summer fragrance for day time, that brings out the understated sophistication and gentleness of a young man, with a calm yet energized spirit that smells dapper and smart.
While for ‘On s’était dit’ (English as ‘We had said’, created by Vincent Grandjon), it takes me to another view of the city of light, in the evening actually, the dark side of Paris but with much chic and Parisian ‘maniness’, perhaps it’s the opening notes of the herby, spicy and a hint of citrus smell, an intriguing and explosive combination from Mandarin, Kumquat, Nutmeg and Carrot seed, then it turns into a more woody accord such as Green Patchouli and Wood Bark. While I am not exactly a strong woody and herby person when it comes to fragrance, I have no idea what makes this fragrance so intriguing to me given the intense woody and herby accord, perhaps it’s the illusional effect that comes from the Green Patchouli and the Carrot Seed, that it’s a bit dark Goth and mysterious, a spooky masculinity that whispers something, a secret, an affair maybe, somewhere under a Parisian bridge with haze and pale white street lights, it’s a confident and stylish Parisian man in his sharp-cut and slender black suit, a tuxedo shirt without a bowtie, and with buttons open down almost half way of his body, subtly expose his well-built chest, wearing his pair of polished pointy leather boots, walking with the sound of a shoe heel hitting the cobblestone pavement, slowly and hauntingly, looking for his lover for a forbidden encounter, a secret love affair and a beautiful dance in the dark (think about the music video by one of my favorite French female singer - Mylène Farmer, and, English singer - Sting, in their song ‘Stolen car’), in short - audacious chic.
Either way, fragrance can take us to unrealistic fantasies, at the same time, with a well-thought and well-made fragrance, it can also bridge us from our fantasy to reality, the reality of trusting ourselves, to make-believe, having a kind and brave heart to love and to appreciate things around us, and of course, with some undeniable French allure and elegance in a hot summer night.
Image courtesy of Pont des Arts Paris