Skip to main content

Lumière Blanche – Move towards the light…. - January 14, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Lumière Blanche by Massimo Vitali -

I’m not much of a lemming – never have been, not likely ever to be. And, I’m a bit of a contrarian. If everybody likes it, I get suspicious. So, what I like about niche perfumes is that I can discover and explore them at my own pace and leisure. I have bought fragrances hours after they have come on the market and there are some that have been out for ages that I just haven’t gotten around to yet cause well, when everybody raves about them that makes me a bit….suspicious, so I put them on the back burner until after all the excitement has died down.

But every once in a while there is a fragrance that is so outstanding it deserves all the rave reviews it gets. Take Lumière Blanche by Olfactive Studio for example. The blogosphere has been abuzz with rapturous reviews about it since it was launched, so many that even I can get over myself long enough when to realise that it’s not just hype it’s the universe telling me to try it. I did and now I’m going to rave about it too.

Olfactive Studio is a small French niche line that is really shaking things up in the niche fragrance world. Their concept is to use photographs by contemporary artists to inspire fragrances. As stated on their website: "Olfactive Studio is an encounter between contemporary artistic photography and perfumery; between the eye and the nose.

Olfactive Studio is at the crossroads of a photographic studio and a perfume design studio. This is the first time ever that perfumers have teamed up with photographers to draw inspiration from their oeuvres. They sense the images to capture their essence."

Currently, there are four fragrances in the line. Kay is a huge fan of Still Life, but it is Lumière Blanche that stirred my arvicoline urges.

Lumière Blanche was inspired by a photograph of people on a beach in Sicily by Massimo Vitali. The photograph comes from his Beach Series and has been doctored so that the beach landscape is all in shades of white. People in bathing suits seem to frolic on a landscape of white sea and shore giving it a feeling that’s more snow and cold than sand and heat. The Olfactive Studio web site says that:

"Under the sun… precisely, white light evokes bedazzlement and saturation. When at the zenith and at its strongest, it gives the world a surreal brightness, a milky aura, and, on its outer edges, the lure of a mirage. It comes in the middle of summer, along an Italian coast. It surprises the bodies, frozen on this milky iceberg, with its dense foam and shrouding immateriality."

Enough about the photo – it’s the fragrance that I’m lemming for.

It opens fresh, green and bitter from cool cardamom, it’s cool aspect heightened by a note licoricey note of anise from star anise. Soon spicy cinnamon warms them creating a play of warm off cool. As it blooms, iris and almond milk emerge making it floral, creamy and with a gentle sweetness. There’s a whiff of peach here too. It’s right about here that I realized Lumière Blanche was made for skin – smelling it isn’t enough, I want to feel it. Cashemere wood at the heart leads the way to cedarwood – is this where the hint of camphor comes from? - and soft sandalwood at the base,  sweetened by tonka bean and wrapped in rich white musk.

At the drydown Lumière Blanche is warm, in contrast to the cool opening, milky and woody and surprisingly luminous. It is white light. Beautifully balanced and nuanced, it’s an original work of art that comes alive on skin - a gorgeous fragrance for men or women that is a pleasure to wear.

Taking the concept further, the juice is tinted opaque white – a suggestion of what is in the bottle and a nod to Massimo Vitali’s photograph.

Sometimes being a lemming has its rewards.


Lumière Blanche is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.