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L’Arbre de INUX – One of the best reasons to visit Paris…. - July 6, 2015

Image - - IUNX perfume boutique

Olivia Giacobetti holds a special place in my heart and in my personal perfume pantheon. It was her Passage d’Enfer that tilted my scent soul on its axis and re-ignited my love of fragrance the very first time I smelled it. But it isn’t just sentiment that draws me to her fragrances. The minimalist beauty of her compositions move me and I like the thought process behind her work. In an interview with the LA Times she said: “The architecture of perfume starts from the moment it’s sprayed and begins to evaporate. I imagine filling a space determined by the weight of the ingredients, their force or lightness. All this to form a balance between heavy and light, complex and simple, light and shadow. And it’s this equilibrium, this harmony, that will create the worst or the best! Certain perfumes unfurl image by image, each accord disappears to leave room for the next until you reach its heart. Others are round, compact. Their notes evaporate almost at the same rate. They’re linear from one end to the other.”

That her compositions have a beautiful balance between light and dark, heavy and ethereal, is a testament to her skill and creativity, but I love the way they smell - Tea for Two, Dzing!, Fou d'Absinthe, le b, En Passant, Vamp à NY, Idole de LubinCostes. She has created some of my favourite fragrances ever and for some of the best niche houses, but it’s the fragrances from her own line, IUNX, that, to me, are among her best.

IUNX, pronounced ‘Yoonx’ was launched in the early 2000’s with backing from Shiseido. Times change, economies ebb and flow and in March 2006 her store and stand in Printemps department store closed and then in 2008 the tiny shop at Hotel Costes on Rue Saint Honoré was opened. Now here’s the rub: this is the only place in the world you can get IUNX fragrances. As of this writing, they are not available at Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s, or Bendel’s. You can’t get them in Dubai or at airports in Japan or Paris. And you won’t see them online either because the bottles are HUGE! Like, over 12 inches long huge and heavy because they hold 150 ml. which makes shipping cost prohibitive.

So, you know what this means? Yep, a visit to IUNX is at the top of the list on every to perfume pilgrimage I make to Paris – even if it means ditching my dirty laundry at the end of the trip so I can fit a few bottles into my suitcase. Last time I was there, I made room for L’Arbre de IUNX.

Launched in 2013, L’Arbre, ‘The tree’ refers to the sandalwood tree. Sandalwood is one of the key ingredients in perfumery. It has a warm, soft, milky, precious-wood lingering aroma with a green top note that gives a long-lasting woody base to fragrances. It is also an excellent fixative. The best sandalwood is Mysore sandalwood from India, but high demand has resulted in over-harvesting of these slow-growing trees and a search for viable replacements, like Australian sandalwood.

The story behind L’Arbre is that Giacobetti has somehow come upon a source of sandalwood from India and based this fragrance on it. The truth is that while I have smelled thousands of perfumes, I’m no expert on sandalwood. What’s more, Giacobetti is very closed about the notes in the fragrances in her IUNX line. That’s fine with me, this is a sublime fragrance that would suffer from breaking it down to its component chemical parts.

So what does L’Arbre smell like? Sandalwood, true and authentic – from the green at the opening it grows woody, then warm, spicy and incensy. Over time, it shifts more than it blooms, playing a shadow game – sometimes salty, sometimes dry or creamy and I get a soft lovely, light nuance of fig – but is always exotic, woody and rich. L’Arbre doesn’t shout, it is too diaphanous for that and too minimalist. It’s a skin scent that softly settles with a quiet, potent sandalwood presence. See, there’s that balance I love so much.

I don’t need a reason to go to Paris, but I have every reason to visit IUNX whenever I do.

L’Arbre de IUNX is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.