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Côte d’Amour – Coast of Love…really? July 5, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Wikipedia - Horses on the Beach at La Baule, France - Claire Maheux, june 2010

Yes, really. There really is a Côte d’Amour. It’s on the coast of France, in the Loire-Atlantique province around the town of La Baule, where the Loire river enters the Atlantic ocean. There’s a vast beach at La Baule, and it’s a destination for the French who love their bain de soleil in August when the entire country goes on vacation. The Côte d’Azur, the Côte d’Amour. – either one will do in the quest for the perfect tan.

A walk on the beach at La Baule, according to the L’Artisan Parfumeur website, was the inspiration for Côte d’Amour, a limited edition perfume launched in 2009, a follow-up to L’Eau de Jatamansi in L’Artisan's line of 100% natural, Eco-certified fragrances.  I grew up on the West Coast of Canada, where the seashore was literally part of our front yard. I’ve walked on many beaches around the world and I’ve travelled the coasts of France – read my post on Iroaz by L’ostmarch. For me, the smell of the seashore is a very powerful smell, an emotional trigger which instantly conjures memories and strong feelings.

Côte d’Amour was created by Celine Ellena, of The Different Company (yes, she is Jean-Claude Ellena’s daughter). She uses a simple, under-stated minimalist style with this natural scent, which opens with an unusual aromatic accord which smells to me like sea spray and rain drops on hot sand and rocks. This salty wet-dry accord becomes more green and citrusy, and after a few minutes starts to sweeten a little, becoming drier and taking on a powdery-herbal tone. When I read the top notes - salt flower, green tangerine, pink grapefruit, dune immortal flower, rosemary – the accord makes sense, but it’s impossible for me to pick out the individual notes. The accord is just so evocative of the smell of the shore at ebbtide, so beautifully done, that for a brief moment, I’m envious of Ms. Ellena’s talent.

Into the heart Côte d’Amour. sweetens a little – rose with a peppery edge, lavender-like aromatic heather, gorse blossom and broom which have very similar scents – hay-like, green grassy herbal but with a sweet alcoholic edge – combine to form a lovely grassy floral accord, which floats above the salty seashore. (I know the scent of broom really well…I collected bags of yellow broom blossoms on the hills above the rocky shoreline with my Dad so he could make broom wine, which tasted like sweet single-malt Scotch).

The basenotes of cypress, pine and driftwood add balsamic richness as well as a musky note, so that Côte d’Amour. wafts the scent of  smooth tanned skin after a day on the beach, slighty salty, slighty sweaty, sun-warmed with the merest hint of coconut suntan lotion. This is a fragrance that can work perfectly on male or female skin, and I’m surprised by the longevity of this natural-based perfume – the sillage is soft but the scent remains for hours.

I don’t know if Côte d’Amour. smells like the beach at La Baule, but I can tell you that I came close to tears the first time I gave it a sniff because it totally captures the smell of my seashores – the cool-salty-water green-algae dry-rocks-sand-mineral herbal-brown-kelp-driftwood sand-dune-vegetal-grassy-floral tidal-pool coastal smell that is hard-wired in my brain. I’ll wear Cote d’Amour this summer because it smells so fresh, natural, and real. It makes me feel good. I’ll also wear it the rest of the year, for the very same reasons.

Côte d’Amour. is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.