Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli (Orange Blossom)
Magnolia, Narcissus, Rose (Centifolia), Neroli (Orange Blossom), Jasmine, Iris, Ylang – Ylang
Sandalwood, Ambrette (Angelika Seeds), Amber, Musk
Houbigant – Quelques Fleurs Collection Privée – Jardin Secret
Composed by wunderkind Luca Maffei, Houbigant’s 2017 Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret is a wonderful update on the classic Quelques Fleurs, a scent that Princess Diana famously wore for her wedding and thereafter. Maffei brings the buttery floral template into modern times by dressing it up with a cool, bitter haze of orris butter, a silvery essence that elevates the composition and gives it a royal remoteness. Bracketed by a concerto of bright citrus notes on top and calm, powdered woods below, the orris spreads it calm, icy splendor over a heart of green narcissus, creamy magnolia, and tender roses from Grasse. It feels classic yet modern, a perfect marriage of cool, powdery notes and warm, buttery floral accords that will make you swoon.
Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret is an extrait that seeks to recreate on your skin the feeling of being in a sunny garden: picture a pretty and relatively formal one attached to a castle or country manor. The bergamot, mandarin, and neroli topnotes create a burst of bitter freshness that gives the garden a faintly Mediterranean feel, but the lush roses, magnolia, and daffodils in the heart make us think of the sunlit hills and vales of Grasse. Buttery ylang and orange blossom warm the scent with their generously sweet, indolic roundness.
The iris brings a chill touch of rooty powder and the suggestion of a lady’s glove, a fine grey one made in the artisanal workshops lining the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. By the time the sensual base of musks and sandalwood comes around, we are already in deep bliss, drinking in the beauty of a floral garden in full bloom. We find this scent to be a perfectly-judged expression of feminity, with its warm-but-cool, sweet-but-icy, musky-but-floral contradictions and counter-balances.