As a child growing up in South Florida there were so many things the Cuban exile community added to our lives in the 1960’s. One of my favorites was that the Holiday season ended a week later. Not until the Dia de los Reyes happened on January 6 did we consider taking down the decorations. It was always the kind of mellow after-party to the hectic Christmas/ New Year’s shuffle. The mothers of my Cuban friends would give us Anglos a stocking stuffer while their kids usually got one last “big” present. My family was always invited to dinner. The traditional dessert is called “king cake” which didn’t interest me that much. What interested me was the home-made flan my friend’s mother would make. The caramel covered custard is still one of my favorite desserts. I would sit in their living room with the Christmas tree, wreath and roping breathing in the combination of pine and sweets. I didn’t expect to find that in a fragrance until I tried Maison Rebatchi Bois D’Enfants.
Maison Rebatchi is the new line from owner- creative director Mohamed Rebatchi. Who debuted four perfumes at Pitti Fragranze in 2018. Each of them is inspired by M. Rebatchi’s life. The story attached to Bois D’Enfants is summer walks through the woods of where in France he spent his summer. From the moment I tried it I saw the pine tree focused early going as a Holiday style of perfume. When the flan accord came together in the base that made me think January not July.
M. Rebatchi collaborated with perfumer Karine Chevallier on Bois D’Enfants. I can see the summer walk through the pine woods if I choose that perspective. It is much easier to see it as the final days of the Christmas tree adding its scent to the wood-paneled family room. A hint of scent from the Holiday flowers coming through. As I drag my spoon through the caramel and custard of flan.
Mme Chevallier uses baie rose to open with a green freshness tilted to the herbal side. The pine comes next uplifted by an austere incense. The piney nature intensifies with fir balsam mellowing the sharper camphoraceous aspects. A powdery veil of iris and rose also shows up during this. What comes next is an amazing construction of a gourmand accord using sandalwood, vanilla, and musk. I’ve seen these ingredients come together as a praline accord but here this is combined as rich caramel custard. I’m not even sure I’ve got all the ingredients that Mme Chevallier uses because this is a solid accord which I found difficult to analyze completely into its components. Once the accord is in place you have a creamy gourmand counterpoint to the resinous pine.
Bois D’Enfants has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Bois D’Enfants translates to “wooden children” it definitely connects with my “enfant” but not in a wooden way. It takes me back to the final days of my childhood Holidays on the Dia de los Reyes.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Maison Rebatchi.
One of the great joys of attending the large perfume expositions is the opportunity to discover a new brand. I have been unable to attend the last two years which means I live vicariously through the tweets of my friends who are there. What I like about that is that many of them don’t know each other. What that means is if I start hearing about a new brand from more than a couple of them, it is one I want to try. This past Pitti Fragranze the new brand which was standing out in my electronic whisperstream was Maison Rebatchi.
The brand was founded by Mohamed Rebatchi who describes himself as a “self-taught perfumer and passionate”. He wanted to translate the northwestern region of Africa, known as the Maghreb, into fragrance. Something I admire is for being a self-taught perfumer he relied on professional perfumers as his collaborators for the first four releases. What he knows about materials allowed him to probably participate in a more focused manner with the four different perfumers he worked with on his debut collection. I think this is one of the stronger debut collections I’ve encountered recently. M. Rebatchi maintained a coherent focus throughout.
The one perfume of the four I was most anxious to try was Joyeux Osmanthe. M. Rebatchi worked with perfumer Maurice Roucel to create an effulgent duet of osmanthus and tuberose. It washed away the whole trend of transparent fragile perfumes of this year in a wave of floral beauty.
First thing is Joyeux Osmanthe is more a tuberose perfume than an osmanthus one. It is like a duel of high-spirited floral divas which tuberose eventually wins. That give-and-take in the heart is what sets this apart.
The perfume opens with a transparent top accord of spiced fruits combined with a green leafy ingredient. It acts as a curtain-raiser as tuberose struts on stage. This is the creamy slightly mentholated version of the white flower. The green from the top accord is used as a marker to pick up those green aspects of the tuberose. It serves as a reminder there are subtler harmonics than a big blowsy flower. As osmanthus comes on stage the fruits from the top fall right into line pushing that aspect of it to the front. As the divas get warmed up it is the green of the tuberose and the fruitiness of the Osmanthus which interact. As things move forward the indolic core of tuberose and the botanical animalic leather-like nature of Osmanthus also find a nice balance before the overwhelming floralcy of the tuberose finally emerges on top. M. Roucel has become adept at mixing the synthetic woody ingredients into something with more character; which is what happens here. It is easy for those woody ingredients to overwhelm. In this case they provide the floorboards of the stage for our two floral stars to take a bow upon.
Joyeux Osmanthe has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage.
One of my text correspondents sent me this, “I just smelled the perfume I am 100% sure you would have named best in show if you were here”. Not sure if that would have been true. What is true is Joyeux Osmanthe is one of my favorite new perfumes of 2018. I am certain I will be reviewing the other three after the New Year. Until then, the two floral divas will keep me company.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples supplied by Maison Rebatchi.