If you look up the word foundation in a dictionary you’ll find synonyms such as beginnings, support, and starting point. All perfectly suited to describe how we feel about our fragrance producer and raw material sourcing company, Accords & Parfums in Cabris. They are our long-term support in everything we do as a perfume company and very much the foundation to make it work.
Domaine is our ode to them.
So, how does one go about translating this into scent? For that, we need to look back in time. Let’s go back to when one man decided that this is where he would build his paradise.
Art & Parfums, as it was originally called opened its doors in 1946 by the now legendary perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. High in the mountains above Grasse, he built the Domaine Sainte Blanche, an enchanted olfactory garden overlooking Cannes and the Lérins islands in the distance. A scented playground for anyone interested in the art of perfumery.
This is also where Mona spent 15 years of her life as Edmond’s apprentice and where Fredrik took his first briefs as a junior perfumer.
Edmonds catalog of groundbreaking fragrances speaks for itself but there is one that is especially close to our hearts. Diorissimo by Dior!
Diorissimo was made in a more romantic age of perfumery. New olfactory molecules and scientific breakthroughs allowed perfumers to recreate previously impossible things. Continuously rewriting the rules of what a fragrance could be.
The inspiration for Diorissimo came from Dior himself. Lily of the Valley was his favorite scent and because it is a mute flower, it gives no useable quantities of oil making it especially difficult to portray accurately in a fragrance. However, Edmond took on the challenge and created a classic. The Lily of the Valley flowers he originally used still grows at the Domaine Sainte Blanche. One can easily imagine Dior walking in the gardens together with Edmond, picking one up and putting it in his lapel.
Working on recreating mute flowers comes with its pros and cons. It requires the perfumer to combine synthetics and naturals, hiding certain parts and pushing others. Thankfully, it also gives the perfumer the opportunity to interpret it however they want. Edmonds version is almost photorealistic, whereas Mona’s attempt is slightly fresher and more indolic, Fredrik’s creation for Domaine on the other hand, comes, with a rounder floral effect, built on a memory from one especially warm spring morning, on his way into work at Accords & Parfums.
If you’ve read the story about the Sainte Blanche from the Alinea collection, you know that getting to Accords & Parfums from the village of Cabris is quite the walk. It’s a long uphill hike until you reach the small back gate, that will take you directly into the gardens. At one point in time, there was a key used to get into the gardens – however, it disappeared long ago. Therefore, in order to enter, you had to resort to a gracious climb over the gate, sometimes with very limited success.
It was after one of these climbs that Fredrik first met that now-famous patch of Lily of the Valley. Who knows if it was the warm weather, the large quantity of them or that they were just in bloom, but to Fredrik, the intensity and volume of the scent itself was simply mind-blowing. It was a less watery scent, with hints of warm spring soil and a warmer, more full-bodied floral effect.
Almost as if they were serenading their own arrival.
Domaine is a fragrance where the past meets the present. It is ode to what has been but also a celebration of what the future will bring. It’s our love letter to Accords & Parfums, our history as a brand, the art of perfumery, and the beauty of life itself. A story told by one of nature’s true miracles, the scent of Lily of the Valley.