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Le Chèvrefeuille - A sentimental favourite - May 13, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Farmhouse in Provence - Vincent van Gogh, 1888 - National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

We have friends who have a beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence and over the years we’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to vacation with them there.

Moira and I both love to cook, so I have wonderful memories of going shopping with her at the village market, picking up what looks good, bringing it back to the house and making dinner together – laughing, talking, and cooking with a bottle of wine close by - then serving and enjoying dinner outside in the walled garden under a big old chestnut tree.

We’ve had great fun on those visits - good times and great memories, but there is one olfactory memory that always comes back this time of year and takes me back to dinner in the garden in Provence: the smell of honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle vines grew on the outside wall of the doorway leading from the kitchen to the garden, so every time you passed through the doorway, you got a whiff of one of the most heady floral fragrances I know.

I have vivid memories of carrying platters of food for dinner from the kitchen to the garden and taking a big gulp of honeysuckle-scented air as I passed through the doorway.

The kids have different memories of honeysuckle. They used to pluck the flowers and suck out the drop of sweet nectar that rests at the bottom of the blossom – a reminder that it’s not called ‘honeysuckle’ for nothing. Well, we call it that. Chèvrefeuille translates as ‘goat leaf’ which is what the French call honeysuckle.

The first time I smelled Le Chèvrefeuille by Annick Goutal I was immediately taken back to sweet memories of good times with good friends in Provence. Turns out I’m not the only with scent memories of honeysuckle in Provence since Le Chèvrefeuille was inspired by Goutal’s daughter Camille’s childhood memories of the honeysuckle that used to bloom outside her bedroom window at the family home there.

My memories makes Le Chèvrefeuille a sentimental favourite, but what makes it FBW was how fresh, green and gorgeous a frag it is.

It opens with the sweet, honeyed smell of honeysuckle tempered with the bitter citrus tang of petitgrain. Petitgrain is extracted from the leaves and twigs of bitter orange and this gives the opening a crisp, fresh green note that makes me think of the honeysuckle vine. The fragrance of honeysuckle is difficult to capture in perfume, and is often paired with other flowers to bolster its floral effect. Narcissus plays that role here. Like honeysuckle, narcissus is an early spring flower and its presence evokes the tender days of spring. As it blooms, the green note passes and jasmine comes forward. Honeysuckle’s fragrance intensifies in the evening - which is why I have such strong memories of it at dinner time - so it makes sense that exotic jasmine would show up in the mix creating a heady white floral accord, leading to a drydown where the jasmine is more prominent.

And what a drydown! Le Chèvrefeuille is the essence of spring - fresh, bright and romantic. It’s essentially, a soliflore with no dramatic twists, turns or surprises except for how much you’ll love it.

Le Chevrefeuille is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.