Recently I wanted to try something new that is not so talked yet, so I decided to explore the collection of the French niche house Ann Gerard. It caught my interest because all scents are created by Bertrand Duchaufour, a nose I resonate with very well most of the time. From what I have read, the jewellery designer Anne Gerard launched her own brand of luxury accessories in 1994, creating since then for prestigious companies around the world and one of her greatest skills is that she`s able to translate her customs ideas and even feelings into precious jewels that are both timeless and perfectly fitted on the personality of their owners – something I believe she achieved also very well with her collection of scents that she launched later in 2012. The line is small but eclectic and rich, covering different olfactory genres approached from new angles.
Perle de Mousse for example surprised my nose with its pale green smell that develops gradually and softly, as a whispered love poem. It exhibits melancholic facets of a classic chypre fragrance, proving this category still work very well in our days with a few subtle changes and improvements. First of all it is not so heavy as an old school chypre. It debuts leafy and just slightly aldehydic, then travels through a fine, scented cloud of lush flowers to reach a smooth base dominated by resins. An interesting fact is that the floral middle part seems to be the shortest, being kept tight between the verdant opening and the warm resins of the base. The thing I admire the most is how one single ingredient, namely ivy that is perceptible right from the start, is able to dominate and influence the whole composition, anchoring the scent into contemporary. Bertrand Duchaufour made a brilliant choice by deciding to increase the volume of this cold green raw material that has a faint bitter facet instead of using the common citruses that dissipate much faster. Thus, the ivy is very effective in the mixture. The note envelopes the shy bouquet of flowers and the warm resins and musk in an invigorating and transparent veil all the way through, giving a gentle contour to the elegant scent that seems very feminine and classic but with a modern, unexpected twist.
Then there is the enthralling Ciel d`Opale which is also quite green, but in a different way, a bit more bolder and fruitier. In the opening it smells like a ripe fruit with a very pleasant odor and I see it is actually quince (I don`t think I would have guessed that), which is seconded by accords of spring flowers that are becoming more and more pronounced over time. It recalls an orchard caressed by the sun. Ciel d`Opale is like a barefoot walk on a thick grass, is about daylight, sunkissed skin, fresh picked blooms and warm shades of fruits contrasting with the infinite blue background of the sky. Joy in a bottle.
When I sprayed Cuir de Nacre my mind said “leather”! Mmmm…this is not a harsh, soldiery leather, but a suave, supple, high quality suede braided with a mellow mixture of resins.The scent doesn`t change too much, it just smoothes out more and more becoming quite powdery towards the drydown when a diaphanous combination of iris and musk closes the composition in a languorous, soft manner. Cuir Nacre feels plush and inviting in every stage of its development. The delicate note of suede appears here without oily facets as in Daim Blonde from Serge Lutens, instead it is accompanied by a very pleasant and sweet powdery undertone form beginning to the end and that reminds me a bit of Daim Rouge form Sentifique both sharing the same kind of appealing suede, but the comparison stops here, because Daim Rouge is way more naughtier, whereas Cuir de Nacre has a tranquil life, but full of sexiness nevertheless.
And finally, Rose Cut (2014). Great name, isn`t it? It comes from an old diamond cutting technique. There are many reasons why I consider this a stunning scent. It is based on a strong mixture of rose and patchouli – a pair that is so overexposed this days along the rose and oud – but here the story is told in a such a nice way that I cannot help myself but fall for it. The scent has a fascinating evolution. Have you seen the film Memento? The scenes are shown in reverse order and surprisingly so does this rose scent evolve. Most of the times a scent starts with a fleeting bright top notes and it gets denser over time. It`s not the case here. Rose Cut starts heavy and muddy, presenting a dark mixture of damp soil infused with whisky under a tenebrous patchouli bush. But in time, a burgundy sweet rose starts to show up and it begins to grow out of this sinful ground, shacking its petals of dust and eventually becoming a pure red flower with a dirty past and a bright future. It bears a passing resemblance with Rose Absolue from Yves Rocher in the middle part, where the rose mixes the most with patchouli, and I call this phase the “jammy intercourse”, but Rose Cut is much more complex and boozy, darker. In the end the rose is clean and shines as a gem in the sunset. A well made and long lasting scent.
In my opinion Rose Cut and Cuir de Nacre might be very interesting also on men. I`m really impressed by this collection, it has attitude and at the same time the scents are easy to wear. As for me, I laid my eyes on Rose Cut – as Marilyn sang: Diamonds Are a Girl`s Best Friend – I would now add: …and roses too.