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Eau de Céleri – The pleasure of something that has been denied... – April 13, 2015


Photo: Courtesy Monsillage Parfums

I hate celery. I refused to eat it as a child and avoid eating it as an adult. I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t believe she doesn’t like celery. I love celery. It’s delicious – crunchy, mild, herbaceous and a little sweet.” Like many food dislikes, there probably isn’t a rational explanation for it. But here’s the thing: as I got older, I felt a tug of curiosity about celery. Maybe I really was missing something. Maybe it was time to let go of an old decision I made as a child.

And so one night, at a fancy-shmancy restaurant in Montréal, when the first course of the tasting menu was celery done three ways, I decided to give celery a chance. I wanted to experience it, to see smell it and taste it. What a smart move. That celery dish was delicious was one of the most memorable dishes I have ever eaten. I happily cleaned my plate and could have eaten more.

Perfumer Isabelle Michaud, who launched Monsillage her Montréal-based niche line in 2009, understands that curiosity to explore something you have been denied, for whatever reason. She is allergic to celery and yet, her latest creation, Eau de Céleri, is based on celery. She wrote me saying that “a certain longing for something that I can't have may have heightened my sensitivity to the celery notes and kept it interesting to me as a subject of desire for a perfume creation.”

Ms. Michaud is definitely a rising star, and Eau de Céleri, is buzzing through the blog-o-sphere since it won top prize in the Artisan Category of 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards which celebrates creativity, innovation and excellence in global independent, artisan and experimental perfumery.

When I first smelled Eau de Céleri, well, I wasted no time ordering a bottle. I love wearing it! Because what I learned at that dinner in Montréal was that I Iike celery if a skilled hand coaxes the best out of it in a dish or in a fragrance.

Eau de Céleri opens crisp and green from coriander leaf, galbanum and cut grass with a citrus vibrancy from bergamot, lemon and grapefruit. It’s fresh, bright and herbal – like celery. There actually isn’t any celery in the fragrance. The celery note comes from a molecule found in jasmine oil that smells a lot like celery. As it blooms, a heart of floral buds comes forward adding a beautiful floral quality to the fragrance so that it doesn’t smell like a vegetable – it smells gorgeous. On me, there are whiffs of anise that break through that adds a perfect sweetness. Citrusy, verdant vetiver is at the base, right alongside sweet, dark patchouli. These two give it an earthiness and a woodiness that is accented with  cedarwood. The jasmine works with the base notes to create a chypre effect.

The drydown is vibrant, elegant and light with that celery effect lingering for hours. To me, the surprise is how weightless it is, despite the heavy-sounding notes at the base. I can see myself going through bottles of this as the weather warms.

So, have I become a celery lover? No, not really. I still avoid eating it. I suppose it’s because I just don’t get any pleasure from it. But wearing Eau de Céleri? Now that is pure pleasure.

Eau de Céleri is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.