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Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum – At last! (May 7, 2012 New Fragrance Listing)



Some fragrances get a lot of build up before release and often times it’s undeserved. You can’t wait to try it and when you finally get your hands on a decant, well, frankly, it’s just like lunch bag let down. There has been so much discussion about the launch of Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, that you’d have to live in a cave in middle earth not to know that it’s the signature scent of the New York niche perfume shop, Aedes de Venustas and was created by Bertrand Duchaufour.

And then I sniffed it and realised that the hype isn’t hype, it’s well-deserved praise and I understood why there was so much excitement about it in the perfume world.

But, because I sometimes hang out in a cave in middle earth, there are a couple of points that need to be clarified before we go on.

First, the name Aedes de Venustas – it’s the name of the shop and the perfume. It’s Latin and it means ‘Temple of Beauty’. So far, so good. Here’s where most people get tripped up – pronouncing Aedes de Venustas. Actually, it’s the ‘Aedes’ that gives people the most trouble. Even the most experienced and sophisticated perfumistas get it wrong. It’s not ‘Ee-dees’ or ‘Ad-ees’ or even ‘A-eedees’. It’s "Eye-dace day Weh-noose-tahs". FYI - I practiced saying it in front of a mirror for hours until I got it right.

Next the birth order of the fragrance. Isn’t there already a fragrance called Aedes de Venustas? Well, it’s like this: in 2009 Aedes de Venustas partnered with L’Artisan and launched an EdP called Aedes de Venustas. Kay blogged about it here. The fragrance that was just released has the same name, but was produced under the Aedes de Venustas brand and has nothing to do with L’Artisan. On their web site Aedes refers to this new release as their first signature scent.

Both frags were created by Bertrand Duchaufour.

So, what does Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum smell like? Green, rooty, earthy, rich, opulent - in a word: perfection. It opens with a bitter citrus note that leads the way to tart, metallic, green rhubarb joined by earthy tomato leaf. The unique thing about this frag, and one of the reasons why blogs are so abuzz with its launch, is that it doesn’t really have the traditional top/heart/base linear progression. It is experienced as a full, rounded fragrance – right from the start.

At its core is rhubarb and vetiver. They remain present throughout the scent, but morph as it blooms over time. On me, the rhubarb/tomato leaf accord never really disappears, but the rhubarb becomes less harsh with the addition of hazelnut and green apple. The vetiver - woody, rooty and bitter - is tempered and sweetened with honeysuckle and red berries. Incense adds a resinous darkness that somehow seems to amplify the green aspect of the rhubarb instead of weighing it down at the base as it might in a more traditional composition.

Hey, I’m not a chemist and I’m not a perfumer, but I’ve smelled a lot of fragrances and I know that this is a very different architectural expression of scent and that I. Love. It.

I’ve been to Aedes de Venustas (say it with me now…) in NYC many times. Opened in 1995 by owners Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner, it’s an opulent little shop done up in deep colours, rich textures and with luxurious details – the black paper blotters with the Aedes de Venustas insignia in gold, velvet drapes, soft lighting. Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum is a rich, opulent scent that echoes the aesthetic of the shop while at the same time declaring that there is a new and exciting future for niche perfumes and that Bradl and Gerstner have embraced that future.

It’s the bridging of the old and the new that makes Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum gorgeous to wear - well, what else would you expect from M. Duchaufour? Now that I have it, I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

Today we’re adding Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum to our decant listing. Decants are $5.00.