Blog post by Gwen

Bucoliques de Provence – lavender and iris and leather

Photo: Courtesy L’Artisan Parfumeur.

I love a good book. One of my favourite genres is memoirs - specifically, books written by people who immigrate to another country. I’m fascinated by the customs, manners and mores of other cultures from the perspective of an outsider because, really, you can’t read the label from inside the jar.

Writing this now, I am reminded of the book that started it all: “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle. His book, about an English couple in their 50’s who move to Ménerbes in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France, focuses on their life among the colourful locals - lazy builders, outlaw truffle hunters and a plumber who plays the clarinet – and really launched the genre.

After I read Mayle’s book I became infatuated (read: obsessed) with that region of France and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole. I learned that in the 60’s Picasso’s lover, Dora Maar, had lived in Ménerbes and read a bio of her. I discovered that the region is known for mushrooms, truffles, harsh red wine and lavender.  And we all know where that led to…an expensive truffle habit, a lot of red wine and a deep appreciation for lavender focused fragrances, like the exceptional Bucoliques de Provence from L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Bucoliques de Provence was launched in 2016 after Spanish-based perfume group Puig bought L’Artisan Parfumeur. This limited edition EDP is part of a new collection of fragrances that celebrate different regions of France. For Bucoliques de Provence, nose Fabrice Pellegrin, looked to the southeast: “The main idea for Bucoliques de Provence was to celebrate the heritage of Grasse. Lavender, naturally, presented itself, to illustrate the flowers of the South of France and, more specifically, the Provence region. But then the idea of leather came to me from the history of Grasse as ‘the Perfume City’: Catherine de Medici asked that the waters used for tanning leathers in the town be scented with flower maceration [to mask the smell of the hides].”

Bucoliques de Provence opens with a bracing, piquant note of juniper that soon yields to lavender – not just any lavender, but lavender from Seillans. Seillans is about 30 km west of Grasse, and the lavender grown there is unique to the terroir: rich and sweet, with aspects of honey, hay and wildflowers. And I smell them all. There is no sharpness or harshness to this lavender. In fact, it is surprisingly soft. The lavender is supported with iris – floral, opulent and powdery at times - and the combination gives Bucoliques de Provence a gorgeous elegance. The iris also bridges the lavender to a note of leather. The leather is soft and supple, and the effect is of a scented glove. White musk seems to hover above this skin scent rather than anchor it. The result is the smell of a soft spring day in the Provençal countryside.

I think I’ll treat myself to a spritz or two and then settle in with Mayle’s ‘Toujours Provence.’ 

Check out Bucoliques de Provence in our Shop.