Blog post by Gwen

L'Ether – smoky and woody and intimate

Photo: perfumeniche

In my blog post for Passage d’Enfer, created by Olivia Giacobetti for L’Artisan Parfumeur, I talk about how this fragrance rekindled my passion for perfume by opening me up to niche brands. It also made me a devotee of Ms. Olivia Giacobetti’s work. Her olfactory trademark is creating minimalist, uncomplicated, ethereal masterpieces. I have heard people say that her fragrances don’t last on skin, and that may be the case for some, but sniff closely, sniff the air around you, and you realize you’re wrapped in an exquisite veil of scent.

I own many of her perfumes, but the ones she made for her line called IUNX (pronounced ‘YOONKS’) are my favourites. In 2003, the Shiseido group and Olivia Giacobetti, Fabienne Conte-Sevigne and Francis Giacobetti partnered to launch the IUNX brand of candles, creams, bath products and fragrances. In 2006, the partnership with Shiseido ended, and the IUNX brand was returned to the creators, and then it disappeared. It resurfaced in 2009 in a small space outside the Hotel Costes in Paris.

For me, the fragrances in the IUNX line are her best because she’s not interpreting someone else’s vision, brief or directive. The IUNX fragrances are personal and intimate. In the marketing brochure for IUNX, Giacobetti says: ‘IUNX is my freedom, I put there what I like, what touches me, what I also miss...I love perfumes that tell stories, inspiration is everywhere, on the corner of my street or at the end of the world. From the rapon, I brought back Hinoki wood and puffed rice, from Mexico, raw wood and black corn. In Mali, I remember a summer fire that enveloped everything, I would have liked to distill the whole of India to restore this captivating mixture of flowers and sandalwood smoke…’ On my first visit to IUNX, I bought L'Ether. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

It opens with a note of myrrh that smells bitter, balsamic, resinous and slightly smoky. It’s soon joined by benzoin. Together, they smell more smoky than resinous. The benzoin also adds a rich woodiness and vanilla-tinged sweetness to the opening. Giacobetti extends the woodiness with maplewood, rosewood and white sandalwood. The maplewood amplifies benzoin’s vanilla aspect with its gentle sweetness, the white sandalwood is creamy and soft while the rosewood links to a note of lush rose that adds floralcy to L'Ether. A note of saffron adds spicy warmth to the rose and the woods.

The effect is a gorgeous smoky, woody fragrance with a hint of bitterness from the myrrh that doesn’t have defined stages on me. It is a slow-paced fragrance that’s more like a vapour. It feels like being enveloped in the soft, warm breath of a resin fire.

Put it on the back of your neck on a warm day, and then feel the love when people get close to you.

L'Ether is an olfactory ghost from something Olivia Giacobetti experienced; that's what IUNX is all about. Now it’s ours to experience.

Check out L'Ether in our Shop.