“The garden is the smallest parcel of the world, and the, it is the totality of the world” wrote Michel Foucault in 1967 in “Espace Autres” (Of Other Spaces) …
“TheFrench Gardens of the Officine Universelle Buly” perfume collection stems from a large cardboard case found by chance. Hidden among the scattered treasures of an antique dealer, this case indeed seemed to contain an entire world: 550 small oval boxes dating from the 18thcentury, each containing old seeds and seedlings and a beautiful jade green notebook. Behind these Latin names of plants and flowers, handwritten in pen by a passionate botanist, was revealed an extraordinary imaginary garden composed of plants still ready to bloom two hundred years after their harvest, thus bringing back to life scents that had disappeared and reviving an entire French art of living.
....a state of curiosity about the universe that surrounds us, and this collection offers variations of “garden scents” from the vegetable garden, the orchard or the wild undergrowth, including familiar vegetables, aromatic plants or unusual fruits from all over the world that have been appreciated for their virtues for thousands of years. Their scents have an immense evocative power ,as close as possible tomemories and reality, without clinging to imagination but to pleasure, the pleasure of plunging in the ‘lush’, in the vegetable garden, in city or country gardens, old or ordinary, near or far. The perfume vials of these Eaux Triples are adorned in soft green, like the notebook of the anonymous botanist who collected the ancient seeds, decorated with fine gold to match the treasures they conceal: Iraqi Beetroot and Egyptian Rhubarb, Indian Cucumber and Syrian Mint, Oriental Watercress and Sardinian Parsley, Scandinavian Redcurrant and Peruvian Tomato, Caribbean Sweet Potato and Afghan Carrot, and lastly, Andes Verbena and Ulu Basil. This range of fruity, fresh, woody, herbaceous and spicy scents unfolds like a mystical notion of a lost paradise, echoing the cosmic link described by Michel Tournier in Le Vent Paraclet in 1977:
«It is the gardener's vocation to dig the earthand to question the sky.»
apothecaries and gardeners for thousands of years, but their irruption in the world of perfume really began in the 18th century with the use of powerful aromatic plants such as mint and verbena - with their strong lemon notes - in colognes. Vegetables were rarely used, but each time they were used over the last half of the twentieth century, they were met with great success: carrot seed made its first major appearance in the perfumeRose de Rochas in 1949, basil stands out inEau Sauvage by Dior in 1966, and tomato leaf inEau de Campagne by Sisley in 1976. The 2000s consecrate the culmination of the mixed freshness of cucumber with CK One Summer. Completely off the beaten track, vegetables have finally started appearing with a bang in top notes of unique fragrances in recent years, long after the reign of woody, floral and fruity ones, making these scents immediately fascinating, paradoxically ultra-modern and, at the same time, rooted in memory.
Combining scent and flavour, “French Gardens of the Officine Universelle Buly” perfume collection creates emotion by playing on the two senses of smell and taste through the idea of an extraordinary indulgence. The aromatic herbs, fruit and vegetables from the vegetable garden take the brain down a number of twists and turns, the sensual paths of pleasure. What is the image that emerges in the subconscious? It is often related to childhood and memories, like a journey through time, as perfectly described by Marcel Proust with his famous Madeleine accompanied by an infusion of lime blossom inDu côté de chez Swann, in 1913:
Twelve scents, twelve extraordinary stories
For these aromatic herbs, vegetables and garden fruits; marvellous paths lie behind their well-known names. With this collection of Eaux Triples, the Officine Universelle Buly reminds us that botanical species also travel and metamorphose, from country to country, from continent to continent, over the centuries, to reach us, as familiar as if they had always been part of our daily lives.
"Claudine, from that day on I knew what life was worth!... A garden where you can pick everything, eat everything, leave everything and take it all back..."
La Retraite sentimentale, 1900
The relationship between memory and smell is powerful and irrepressible. A happy memory will become engraved in your mind without you even realising it, anchored in your five senses - a song playing on the radio, the smell of clean laundry, the flowery perfume of a loving mother, the scent of waxed wood in a library, an herbaceous vegetable garden where you pick gooseberries one by one in the sun... These impressions from the past will trigger a lifelong surge of pleasure in the present each time they are felt again. In the same way, a new perfume can be chosen as a promise, the “soundtrack” of new happiness to be experienced. What determines sensitivity to a fragrance?
With infinite variations depending on the individual, geography and genetics, with three hundred olfactory receptors, each devoted to specific scents, it is an enigma even for neuroscientists. For instance, the receptor for violets is the same one for the molecule of tomatoes and red fruit, thus combining the scents of flowers and fruit. A perfume such as Scandinavian Redcurrant and Peruvian Tomato will therefore play on the familiar and the unfamiliar to create an impression of sensuality, but also of rediscovered innocence.
“The memory is the not-quite-living museum of our lives. Sometimes its doors are insufferably wide open with black stars in a grey sky, and horses clattering in and out, our dead animals resting here and there but often willing to come to life again to greet us, parents and brothers and sisters sit at the August table laughing while they eat twelve fresh vegetables from the garden.”
In search of Small Gods, 2006
Freshness reaches its peak with the combination ofIndian Cucumber and Syrian Mint. Here, the Officine blends a great aromatic classic - mint - with an outsider in the world of perfumery:cucumber. Far from our French summer plates, cucumber originated in the Himalayan mountains, where it was eaten in the valleys under the Sanskrit name of Soukasa. It was then cultivated on the banks of the Nile, where it became an offering of choice to the gods. In the 18thcentury, its cosmetic virtues made it the perfect ally for a rosy complexion. Its fresh, herbal scent has passed through doors of perfumery in recent years, giving impetus to summer fragrances. Almost its perfect opposite,mint, the queen of aromatic plants, comes in multiple varieties and countless hybrids. In Greek mythology, the young Minthe is transformed into a plant with a bewitching aroma - almost an aphrodisiac - to escape the jealous wife of Hades, Persephone. Celebrated as a medicinal plant by all cultures, it became an essential ingredient in Colognes, particularly the one favoured by Empress Eugenie in the 19thcentury. Today, its powerful, aromatic scent evokes the fresh waters of modern perfumery, as well as the Mediterranean summer for the taste buds, like so many sunny moments.
With Iraqi Beetroot and Egyptian Rhubarb, the Officine combines two exceptional “fruit-vegetables” (botanists classify both as vegetables): one sweet, the other slightly tangy, the first one round and velvety in deep purple-red, the second one with powerful green stems and fibres tinged with purple. Of mysterious origin, wild beetroot (Beta Maritima) undoubtedly began to grow in the Near East, Asia and along Mediterranean coasts, before being prized by the Germanic peoples (the sanguine Beta Vulgaris), then finding its place on the tables of gourmets in Europe under the reign of Louis XIV, and finally the subject of various mutations (Beta Imperialis) since the end of the 18th century to extract the gold of the time: sugar. Rhubarb, literally “Barbary root”, has been renowned for its medicinal properties in Asia and Greece for two thousand years. It travelled the Silk Road with Marco Polo, who described it as follows in his travel diaries in the 13th century: “I always believed that this rhubarb was some holy relic that he had brought from Jerusalem. He boldly gave all sorts of sick people this water to drink. It was impossible for them not to be greatly moved by such a bitter potion, and the change it made in them was reputed to be miraculous”. It was in England in the 19th century that rhubarb began to be eaten, in compote, crumble or pie, as a “fruit” with an extremely distinctive sweet and sour flavour.
Green is the scent of Oriental Watercress and Sardinian Parsley. An aquatic green first, with watercress, to which the Persians - among others - attributed almost supernatural virtues, restoring the health and strength of the body. The ancient Greeks considered it both an aphrodisiac and an antidote to alcohol. Its slightly bitter, green and pungent taste makes it an atypical alter ego of the more common salads, floating on the water but smouldering on fire. Present on all five continents and prized for thousands of years,parsley, another aromatic herb that has passed from apothecary to gastronomy, is in the ultra-green range. Endowed with properties as diverse as the cultures that have celebrated it, parsley is a herb which takes a very long time to emerge from the earth before unfolding its benefits, is linked in ancient writings to divinities and mythological heroes from Hercules to Persephone and Achilles. The Officine has merged the herbal strength of these two plants with the scents of geranium and vetiver for a woody accord.
The alliance of two scarlet stars,Scandinavian Redcurrant and Peruvian Tomato plays on an accord that is as green as it is fruity.The tomato, or golden apple (“pomodora”), disguises its fruity soul under its vegetable garment. Cultivated by the Incas and known as “tomatl”, this small golden fruit travelled across the ocean to Italy in the 16 th century, where it was long considered an ornamental plant before taking on its beautiful red colour, its modern size and being enjoyed on European plates. Its leaves have a powerful herbaceous scent, green to the point of dizziness. It is combined here with the fruity, pungent roundness of the Redcurrant, that originated in Northern Europe and has been one of the most popular fruits of French gardeners since the Middle Ages. Sweet and tangy, its delicacy is matched only by its vivacity, a sparkle that illuminates this Eau Triple.
Excessively orange, these two “sweet” vegetables, Caribbean Sweet Potato and Afghan Carrot, reveal the gentle flamboyance of a sunset, sprinkled with spices and refreshed with vetiver in this new scent of the Officine. Native to tropical South America, thesweet potato(“batata”) has travelled from Peru to New Zealand, Hawaii, the Marquesas Islands, the Philippines, China and also the West Indies. It was there, in Santo Domingo, that Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1492 and then brought it to Europe. Mineral with a honey-like flavour, it goes marvellously well with carrots, another orange “treasure” hidden underground. Traces of carrot seeds have been found by archaeologists in prehistoric dwellings in Central Asia. Originally purple and yellow, the carrot probably became orange thanks to a crossbreeding “creation” by botanists in Holland in the 16 th century. The scent of the carrot fragrance comes from its seeds, a fresh, powdery, woody scent that noses compare to that of one of the queens of flowers in perfume: the iris.
Beloved aromatic plants,Andean Verbena and Ulu Basil mingle their green accords in a great fresh zest in this Eau Triple of the Officine. Originated at high altitude in South America, lemongrass verbena has the extraordinary scent of lemon and citron, with a floral and spicy touch. Discovered in the 18 th century in Buenos Aires by Spanish and French botanists, this aromatic hesperidium later became one of the olfactory keys to the Eau de Cologne. With its distinctive fresh scent, basilis considered sacred in India, where it first appeared, protective and royal in ancient Rome and used in embalming rituals in Egypt. Now a familiar sight in our modern aromatic gardens, the herbal scent of basil irrepressibly evokes summer, an absolute green illuminated by the sun.
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