The Muse: Egyptian Geranium
A very special variety of geranium -- not to be confused with the red blooms that grace window boxes --, Pelargonium graveolens, whose name means “sweet-scented”, yields one of the most versatile essences in perfumery. Distilled from the leaves of the plant rather than its flowers, it has long been used as a fresh rosy note, hence its vernacular name, “rose geranium”. Ever since the late 19th century, it is one of the key materials of the masculine fougère family. In Pelargonium, the perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer draws geranium from the depths of the fragrance pyramid to display its complex facets.
The Scent: Pelargonium
A strikingly elegant still life in scent, Pelargonium portrays its namesake ingredient like one of the mysterious floral compositions of Dutch Golden Age paintings. Described by Nathalie Feisthauer as “aromatic, with a crushed-leaf facet, less fruity and more balsamic than rose, almost incense-like”, geranium Egypt acts as the central motif of this intriguing composition.
The perfumer starts by stretching a canvas of cool orris notes on a neat cedar-wood frame. Then she paints a dark, smoky background of vetiver Haiti, guaiac wood and moss.
Shot through with glints of green cardamom, the golden light of Calabrian bergamot suffuses the scene, caught by richly textured ingredients that bring volume and contrast to the composition. The herbal sweetness of carrot enriches the orris accord; ambery clary sage suggests the softness of velvety leaves.
Lemony, peppery, incense-like elemi resin enhances both the fresh and balsamic facets of geranium. As a haze of musks smooths out its edges, Pelargonium’s stately bouquet takes on a spare, abstract beauty.
Perfumer: Nathalie Feisthauer
Olfactive Group: Aromatic
Top Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, black pepper, Sichuan pepper, cardamom
Middle Notes: Egyptian geranium, orris, carrot seed, elemi resin
Base Notes: Cedarwood, vetiver, guaiac wood, musk, moss