Parfumeurs Du Monde, part one

Originally published in,  12 February, 2017
Parfumeurs Du Monde: Doing Good and Smelling Divine…

“Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on earth, is an infinite game, the endless expression of generosity on behalf of all.” -Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author (And my mentor.)

There are many things which I hold dear, and two that have always sustained me are fine perfume (of course!) and volunteering/charitable work. Both of these provide endless hours of delight, plus the feeling of “doing good” on behalf of something or someone in need, is as fine a feeling as smelling a perfume that becomes an instant love.

Combine perfume with charitable kindness, and you’ve got my immediate attention!

Just recently, Isabelle Gellé of Les Parfums d’Isabelle in the UK has done an extraordinary thing with an all new and natural collection called Parfumeurs du Monde. As she describes it: ”Parfumeurs du monde” is the work-of-art resulting from a beautiful collaboration between six French perfumers who care about the planet. (The creation of) 100% natural essences in compliance with Parfumeurs du monde charter and with ethics in mind. Portions of the profits will be donated to Coeur de Forêt, a Paris-based NGO established in 2005 which supports small producers for the rehabilitation and protection of forests in Bolivia, Cameroon, Indonesia, Madagascar and Peru.”

Seriously cool, am I right?

And the perfumers involved in this project read like a Who’s Who of the fine fragrance industry. Each perfumer has taken a primary ingredient of a specific country whose forests are being depleted, and created an all natural perfume that suggests that particular forest “in-situ” as it were.


The perfumers and their created scents (all natural edp’s) are:

Master perfumer Michel Roudnitska: Agua Nativa (Peru)

Perrine Scandel: Izwe (South Africa)

Isabelle Gellé: Kashi (India)

Thierry Bernard: Tsingy (Madagascar)

Jean-Claude & Eric Gigodot: Tundzha (Turkey & Bulgaria)

In this first installment, let’s look at Agua Nativa and Tundzha…
Aqua Nativa edp (The ceremonial perfume of the Amazonian forest) by Michael Roudnitska (2017)

Son of perfume pioneer Edmond Roudnitska, Michael Roudnitska really needs no introduction, having created so many unforgettable perfumes for Parfums DelRae, Australia’s Grandiflora, and of course his extraordinary first creation, Noir Epices for Frederic Malle.

For this project, Parfumeurs Du Monde, Mssr. Roudnitska has created Aqua Nativa edp, a ceremonial fragrance suggested by the indigenous Shipibos tribe of Peru’s Amazon Basin. Using notes from Amazonian plant extracts like Piri-Piri and Palo Santo, Roudnitska has added a base of vetiver, vanilla, and patchouli, spicy and floral middle notes, creating a fantastic green fougére, that manages to straddle a vintage/contemporary border.

Opening with a beautiful herbal and citrus mix of basil and grapefruit, cooled by mint, Aqua Nativa wanders lost through the jungle, accompanied by the fleshy buttery smell of ylang, the sharp dusty scent of geranium and spice notes of cinnamon and clove. The feeling is one of hiking through a fantasy tropical jungle at once wet, humid, narcotic and also a bit poisonous and hallucinogenic. Stunning work.

Tundzha edp (Slavic cuddle of Rose Damascena) by Jean-Claude & Eric Gigodot (2017)

Approximately six thousand miles and multiple time-zones away, Tundzha edp places us smack-dab in the middle of a field of roses in central Europe, Bulgaria and Turkey to be precise. Best known for his wonderful work for Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger, Maison Incense, and one of the great “unicorns” of the past decade, Shantara’s Isiris, Jean-Claude Gigodot with the assistance of his son Eric, has created a perfect, airy paen to rose, sandalwood, vanilla, frankincense, and various beautiful florals. Like a picnic in May in a sun-dappled meadow, Tundzha is a clean and dare I say virginal rose, with a spicy carnation-like facet, innocent but maybe not. There’s lavender also, and geranium, both providing a fresh laundry cleanliness, but never soapy. A terrific perfume for the spring, shy but with an arched eyebrow and arms akimbo. Spray with abandon, you’ll not regret it. 

-Robert Herrmann, Contributor

Disclosure: Many thanks to Isabelle Gellé for supplying the samples, and my opinions are my own.

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