Here is a picture of the most famous muguet in the world: the one planted by Edmond Roudnitska as he was composing Diorissimo, in the garden of Sainte-Blanche, near Grasse, where he lived and set up his company Art et Parfum. This is where the oil of my own Séville à l'aube will be blended with tender loving care by my dear Olivier Maure, the owner of Art et Parfum and of Accords et Parfums, its production branch. If L'Artisan Parfumeur order it soon enough, I might be able to add a chapter about the blending to the US edition of The Perfume Lover: because of the number of precious, tricky natural ingredients in the formula, the whole operation is carried out manually, in an order determined by Gérard, the master of the blending facility, according to the way each material needs to be handled and how they react with each other.
When I was there yesterday with my friend Angela of Now Smell This, they were doing an organic vanilla reconstitution and they'd just added a "coconut" lactone obtained through fermentation, so that the whole facility smelled like a tropical drink. But just wandering off with Olivier into the multicoloured glory of the garden, we could dive nose-first into the very first May roses of the season, huge peonies, lilacs, white and purple wisteria, tiny mauve rosemary blossoms, yellow crownvetch flowers that were almost pure indoles, and little blue flowers whose name I forget, that smelled exactly like honey. We crumpled lemontree leaves that smelled of lemon verbena, and a special kind of sage... Then Michel Roudnitska kindly showed us up to his parents' office, where we discussed his work creating soul-healing blends based on shamanic rituals with Native American people in Canada and Brazil.
It was a magical day, with lunch on a terrace in front of the 10th century castle of Cabris. Angela and Olivier were the best company I could dream of. We thought of all of you. You were there with us.
And here is the original bottle of Diorissimo, owned by its author!
I am a writer and translator based in Ottawa, as well as the perfume editor for Citizen K and a writer for NEZ, the olfactive magazine. My book The Perfume Lover, A Personal History of Scent is published by Harper Collins (UK), St. Martin's Press (USA) and Penguin (Canada). The perfume linked to the book,Séville à l'aube, was composed by Bertrand Duchaufour for L'Artisan Parfumeur.