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Mont de Narcisse – Complex and ethereal and intimate

Narcissus poeticus 

Our son brought his girlfriend over to the house a couple of weeks ago to meet the family. She's a lovely young woman – warm, smart and gorgeous – and we were taken with her right away. While I was putting the finishing touches on dinner and my husband was opening the wine, I noticed my son pointing out photographs on the mantle to his new love.

'Here's my aunt in Paris. Oh, and this one is me when I was four and here's my Mom and Dad just after they were married…'

'And is this your Dad?' she asked, pointing to a young man standing in a field of flowers.

'Nope. That's my grandfather. Oh, here's a picture of me playing in net….'

Dinner was lovely, and I felt the strong connection between my son and this very special young woman. After they said their goodbyes and the table was cleared, I went over to the mantle.  

It's funny how you can walk by a photo dozens of times a day and never really look at it. I wanted a closer look at the photo of my father-in-law standing in that field of flowers. The picture was taken long before I met him, but I recognized the flowers - poet's narcissus – and the meadow was covered with them. A true Swiss, my father-in-law, loved hiking and walking in the alps, and while we did a lot of that with him when he was alive, yet somehow, I never made it to those Auvergnese meadows with him. But that photo brought the day to life: a spring day, the warmth of the sun, the heady aromas of all those fragrant flowers swimming in the air, the smell of the grass, the smell of the place. I regretted not having shared that day with my father-in-law. So, I suppose I was searching for some of that experience when I picked up a bottle of Mont de Narcisse from L'Artisan.

 Mont de Narcisse was launched in 2018 as part of L'Artisan's "Les Paysages" collection of fragrances which were inspired by French Landscapes, in this case, Auvergne's highlands as background.

It opens with a bright burst of bergamot that tingles my nose and ushers in a note of lavender. To my nose, it smells like true lavender grown in Haute-Provence - fragrant, fresh and so camphorous it's heady. A note of pepper adds a smoldering warmth and a touch of earthiness, while cardamom adds a spicy sweetness to top. The advertising blurb for Mont de Narcisse says these two spices represent the scent of volcanic soil in the area – I'll have to take their word for it. As it mellows, immortelle appears, displaying its hay and honey facets. This is just flat-out gorgeous! Slowly, the narcissus appears. Let's press pause here for a minute... 

The narcissus used in Mont de Narcisse is Poet's narcissus, the jewel in the crown of plants that grow in the Auvergne region. The scent of narcissus oil is rich and complex with facets of iris, rose, hyacinth, jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom and ylang-ylang. It's heady and opulent, green and floral, and one of the most sought-after flowers used in perfumery. I smell it here, but it has an ethereal quality, as though I was picking up the scent in a spring breeze. Green notes add a sense of place: we are in a meadow. A note of plum adds a fruity dimension to the heart, while Osmanthus adds a creamy sensuality to the narcissus. Narcissus has a leather facet, and Osmanthus amplifies it with its own leather aspect, taking it down to the base where it rests on birch – woody, sweet and green-tinged.  Vanilla is here too, more cozy than sweet, giving Mont de Narcisse the smoothness of suede that creates a certain intimacy.

The drydown is complex, smooth, complex, and so refined, it smells great on both men and women. The true beauty of Mont de Narcisse is how nose Anne Flipo has used a supporting cast of notes to highlight the various aspects of the narcissus.

Every time I pass that photo on the mantel of my father-in-law standing in a sea of narcissus, I smile to myself, thinking that I have shared that experience with him in some small way.  

Mont de Narcisse is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.            

Image - - Narsissus poeticus radifloris, by Tigerente, April 3, 2006