A contemporary baroque take on geranium highlights the raw grace of the prized olfactive material. A strikingly elegant still life in scent, Pelargonium by Aedes de Venustas portrays its namesake ingredient like one of the mysterious floral compositions of Dutch Golden Age paintings.
“My aesthetic inspiration was an old-school flower everyone thinks they know, even though no one really knows it,” says perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer, who draws geranium from the depths of the fragrance pyramid to display its complex facets, using freshly-crushed leaves shed light on dusky woods and resins.
Yet this 2017 work is not your garden variety red geranium. 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, this geranium has long been used as a fresh rosy note, hence its vernacular name, “rose geranium”.
Here, Feisthauer says, geranium is less fruity and more balsamic, almost incense-like, acting as the central motif of this intriguing composition. The perfumer starts by stretching a canvas of cool orris notes on a neat cedarwood 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 as a haze of musks smooths out its edges.
Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium has now been carefully transferred to a precious new vessel: A fluted glass bottle marked by peacock blue accents, a matte black insignia-stamped cap, and a sleek yet weighty design that marks the next chapter in the Aedes de Venustas story.
As it is worn, Pelargonium’s stately bouquet takes on a spare, abstract beauty, an evolving work of art that imparts its beauty freely on skin