Essential Parfums tells all with the frankness of its name. Settle what is absolutely necessary and make essential of quality. This means two things.
First, creativity needs freedom. Unconstraint empowers the perfumer to exercise their very best judgement in the creative process. Before niche perfumery worried about exclusivity, its concern was trust: allow the artist to make good, or even, make best.
Equally, even the most skilled perfumers need quality materials. Essential Parfums believes that a precious handful of natural ingredients triumph over a cacophony of lesser ones. Simplicity means sophistication and stark brilliance, limited to the essentials in order to retain the maximum possible impact.
Essential Parfums authors perfumes with brilliant ingredients. Each perfume reads like a study, a meditation on the potential of a particular note. Each perfume has an organic sensation, its highlighted ingredient respected and allowed to speak for itself. The perfumer brings the fragrance to life, sublimating its qualities.
The skill of the perfumer is one of composition. The most interesting compositions are arrangements that allow us to perceive familiar notes in a new light. This renews familiar sensations, whilst single notes are infinitely complexified
This article explores main notes in the context of its total perfume. In so doing, this develops an appreciation for the synergy between brilliant composition and the finest sustainable ingredients.
Ingredient: Akigalawood (Patchouli)
Akigalawood is an exciting woody material derived from patchouli oil that has been broken up, or 'fractionated' into its component molecules. It is radiant and expansive, reminiscent of patchouli, pepper, and oud wood, and nuanced with woody, spicy, and floral tones. It is appealing for a lightness that does not betray its power, lending immediate impact to numerous potential compositions. It is warm and dry yet fresh, diffusive and sharp yet grounded.
As the central feature of Bois Imperial, Akigalawood appears like tall vertical streaks of watery black ink. Present but not imposing, around this ingredient dances a decorous combination of Thai basil and Himalayan timut pepper up top. This descends into a heart of earthy vetiver and cedar notes flushed with the sensual touch of Ambrofix, an amber molecule with incredible tenacity, redolent of ambergris, wood, and tobacco, wrapping itself amongst the many layers of woody notes in Bois Imperial.
The magic achieved by Quintin Bisch is apparent but not readily obvious. Akigalawood is the key that enables an overdose of woody notes to beguiling effect. It vibrates and stirs, containing the immense power of woods within a sophisticated and graceful form.
Ingredient: Madagascan Vanilla
Olivier Pescheux takes a distinct approach in Divine Vanille, who begins with the natural material and expands it outwards. Imagine a passage along a series of stages, vanilla's nuances gorgeously extended so a singular flash becomes a sustained narrative.
Vanilla becomes a theme expressed in a series of beautiful instances. An initial sweetness is met with smoke and spice, only to reveal floral, resin and musk notes furthermore. This is the secret to its addiction: a singular perfume of plentiful facets. The challenge, then, is harmony and achieving seamless transitions.
This fragrance moves forward and back along its vanilla theme. The soft balmy texture of tonka bean and benzoin crosses into the warm glow of cinnamon then cooled with clary sage. Osmanthus picks up the floral accent, revealing its smoky, leathery, and tobacco-like nuances in turn. Redoubling this earthiness, notes of patchouli, cedar, and incense make their appearance.
Divine Vanille reminds us that natural materials are extraordinary and dazzlingly complex. It dissects and rebuilds the intricate vanilla note, offering an unparalleled experience.
Ingredient: Australian Sandalwood
Orange x Santal is the perfect whole. A natural marriage: the long and low length of sandalwood finds its complement in the ascending rise of bitter orange.
This mesmerising combination is a harmony of contrasts, each note perfected in this duet. The sizzle of orange links up with the snap of basil, two equivalently lively textures grazing across the surface of the sandalwood base. From down below, the umbrous touch of oakmoss bolsters this, alongside cool shades of cypress – producing a fortified base of woods.
Considered together, Orange x Santal reveals a mesmerising chypre silhouette: dark, sweetly smoky and off-dry. It reinforces the power of good quality sandalwood, against the litany of synthetics that form the mainstream of perfumery today. Many layers constitute the whole of this fragrance, blurring together to produce a singular and direct sensation. Present and emphatic, this is a dreamy composition, a return to classicism and the textbooks of perfumery.
Its primary lesson is a direct one: begin with exceptional ingredients, and well-trusted combinations. With technical skill and imagination, everything else will follow.
Essential Parfums is a brand with a conscience: sustainability is its third essential touchstone. Raw materials are carefully sourced, and this respect not only results in higher quality ingredients available to the perfumer, but a higher quality of life for the local communities and the environment from which it comes. We particularly love the sandalwood employed across the range – from Orange x Santal to The Musc. It is harvested by Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, promoting a sustainable supply of the precious ingredient. Two decades ago, Australia's Sandalwood Album underwent a significant reforestation effort, ensuring both protection and sustainability for the land of Aboriginal communities.