L‘Original is the reincarnation of French interior designer Andrée Putman’s first fragrance, Préparation Parfumée launched in 2001 and discontinued in 2013.
It is part of a larger collection launched to celebrate the anniversary of the creation of Préparation Parfumée, all of them signed by one of my favourite perfumers - Olivia Giacobetti.
L‘Original was inspired by the vertical garden of the Pershing Hall Hotel in Paris. Andrée Putman designed the interiors, while French-born botanist Patrick Blanc created a living textured tapestry of lush, green plants and small trees. There is no soil, so plants are nourished by water that drips from the top of the wall, through the plants, down to a trough below. Not surprisingly, L‘Original is a woody aquatic.
A warm, spicy note of pepper opens L‘Original. The pepper isn’t sharp or bracing but has been manipulated in such a way that it smells green and herbal to me. It’s combined with a note of damp wood, like the smell of water flowing over tree branches that evoke the scent of the rainforest. Waterlilies at the heart, subtly sweet and floral, amplify the aqueous quality of the scent. The damp wood accord lasts to the base, where cilantro counterbalances it with a gentle, herbal greenness.
L‘Original dries down to a skin scent with a serene, transparent beauty that manages to be powerfully evocative with only four notes, proving that minimalism in good design - of an object, a room, or a fragrance - isn’t about fewer things but a few of the right things. This is Olivia Giacobetti at her best.
I’m glad to have one of my favourite perfumes back on the shelf. I read a comment somewhere that L‘Original is the perfect summer scent, and I scoffed. Since when is beauty seasonal, I wondered.
Notes: pepper, wood, waterlilies and cilantro leaf.