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sábado, 6 de fevereiro de 2016

Jardin de France Past and Present: An Interview with Dominique Reiner

by: Serguey Borisov

At Pitti Fragranze exhibition I met one scent so special that I felt it necessary to make it my own and bring it home with me.
There are no hordes of fans chasing after it – this is a generic fragrance, one of dozens of similar scents.
It was not in any new products lists of the exhibition – this was not a novelty.
I did not expect to meet it again, either in Florence, or Italy – memories of the past life overtake us suddenly, to please or to make us sad. The only witness of my accidental joy was Jardin de France manager, Dominique Reinert, who made me aware of the almost unknown historical House.
Dominique Reinert: Jardin de France is a family company that was founded in 1920; it`s a small, niche perfume manufacturer (now 15 persons only). We specialize in the traditional Eau de Colognes which are very popular in France and we make everything in-house, that`s important for us. The last ten years we have developed some niche quality Eau de Parfums. We are not presented in chain-stores or department stores as we prefer specialized perfume shops, and better niche boutiques, because we need people who have time to explain our perfumes and philosophy – our products and especially our niche perfumes are almost unknown.
Jardin de France has deep roots of perfume heritage and perfumer knowledge. But also, we have a perfumer who came to our company about 10 years ago; she works with Yves Saint-Laurent, and she created our new fragrances.
At the beginning, Jardin de France used to produce all the raw materials for our perfume production at our premises in Burgundy. Now we buy them from Grasse as every other company does – but we still have all the competence about production and quality control and know-how, that`s important.
Sergey Borisov: Have you created any perfumes with the Burgundy wine producers?
Dominique Reinert: Not yet, we are thinking of it. Maybe next year.
Sergey Borisov: Let`s start with your traditional colognes?
Dominique Reinert: Yes, of course. We have the vintage Collection 1920, to remember where we come from, to keep the knowledge about our roots. And also we have contemporary collections too, to fit modern tastes – Jardin des Hesperides and Etoffes de Parfum.
The vintage collection is our signature collection which consists of 9 colognes based upon the most famous perfume ingredients: Rose Eternelle, Secret Hesperide, Lavande Exquise, Divine Angelique, Imperieux Vetiver, Ame de The Vert, Tendre Muguet, Fidele Violette, Reve de Chevrefeuille...
People may say they are old-fashioned, but colognes are quite popular in Europe as part of joie de vivre. All the colognes are my friends in the morning, but for the night I`m going with eau de parfum.
So you could see some of them are classical fresh colognes (rose, lavender, citrus), while others are quite new refreshing themes (green tea, angelica or honeysuckle). And our bestseller here is our green tea cologne – Ame de The Vert, The Soul of the Green Tea. Basically, all of them could be shared by men and women alike, while some of them could be perceived as more masculine (Secret Hesperide) or feminine (Tendre Muguet). That`s why we decided to keep the line short.
Sergey Borisov: I am sorry, you said that nine colognes is short collection?
Dominique Reinert: Yes, for us it`s short. It was much more, about 20 traditional colognes. Colognes are a very traditional product for the French or Italian pharmacies, we sold our colognes every week for all the France and we never stopped our cologne production since 1920. There`re a lot of clients who does not like new perfumes and stick with their favourite old colognes saying “I am not a young boy to wear that new things shown on TV”.
You can see the old bottles with simple traditional names, like Rose, Chypre, Naturelle, Fougere, Extravieille, Lavender, Muguet, Ambree, Citron Vert, Tabac… There were no boxes for them, just bottles on shelves, and they were about 30-35 euro for 110 ml with spray. And there was 250 ml also, and we used to use 110 ml as testers.
So we took out some colognes now, and those left will be presented in 3 sizes – 30 ml, 95 ml and 245 ml. The biggest is normal for classic splash colognes, and the smallest size is not traditional but it`s very appropriate to take with you when travelling. And also, small bottles are the sign of our times – people like to have a cologne with them in their bags, people like to change perfumes more often, they do not like to have signature perfumes any more.
Sergey Borisov: I like the good old way to refresh with colognes in the morning – to take a towel, pour some good measure of cologne in it and then rub it to the body: neck, chest, arms and everywhere. That`s just a perfect feeling and a great smell that gives you energy! Citrus or lavender works just perfect!
Dominique Reinert: Yes, that`s right – that`s why we have 245 ml bottles of cologne. And you know what? In the last ten years, so many new niche brands developed their own colognes in France, in Italy, in Germany, in Britain – the cologne genre is alive! Some people could think of eau de colognes as some old conservative fragrances, too traditional and not for young people, - but new brands create new modern formulas, making eau de cologne look younger. So the “eau de cologne” concept is renovated with every new cologne launched. And it`s good!
Let me show you something: a very classical and basic chypre (spraying on a blotter).
Sergey Borisov: Mmmmm! That`s so familiar! The Chypre! I used to smell like this, when I was 5 or 6 years old.
(Well, my “Proustian Madeleine” was Eau de Cologne Chypre by Jardin de France. I recalled immediately my Sunday visits to a Soviet hairdresser's salon, about once a month. We went there with my father in the mornings.
To elevate me high enough to be seen in the mirror, the hairdresser put a wooden plank on the chair armrests, and I had to take off my shoes as my feet rested on the seat. I remember white sheets around my neck, and an electric hair clipper vibrating on my nape, and clanking of scissors, and – the final treatment – being refreshed with a grown-up men`s cologne. Hairdressers always asked to refresh, as it brought them more money.
There were not many options in the Soviet times usually: I remember omnipresent Chypre, Sasha, and Russian Forest. But whatever I`d chosen – when I returned home, my Mom always smelled my head and sneezed artificially, saying “What a strong cologne!” Maybe the Soviet chypre smell was really quite harsh and strong at times, as I found Chypre by Jardin de France to be pleasing and a soft citrus-jasmine-patchouli cologne with fresh muguet and spicy cinnamon accents and green pine needle undertones.
The fragrance of childhood is always so emotional.)

Dominique Reinert: And there was also Fougere, a very traditional, very elegant masculine cologne. It`s always good to have it to know where all those masculines came from. And it`s not something you can meet at every street corner… You could find this as a base form in many masculine colognes – not in the original form, but with added bits, changed top notes, with all the modern bells and whistles…
Sergey Borisov: Mmmmm! And here we have the classical barbershop smell of shaving soap… That`s a really great cologne but I still would prefer my Chypre nostalgia.
Dominique Reinert: So let’s move to the more exclusive premium range? Our new collection is named Jardin de Hesperides, The Garden of Golden Apples. Do you know the legend? Of course, you do.
It was a god’s garden of immortality where citrus fruits grow. So there are perfumes named Gaia Eau Mythique and Damona Eau Divine (Gaia the goddess of the Earth, Damona the goddess of the healing springs), also Ouranos Eau Celeste and Osiris Eau Eternelle (Ouranos the god of sky, Osiris the god of immortality). The names gave us the legends and stories for the perfumes, natural and precious olfactory nuggets.
The whole concept for the Eau de Parfums is to make clear and transparent perfumes, that always start with citrus. Citrus notes presented in top notes are as clear as the gateway to the pure and clear structure where each note in the pyramid is evident and discernible. In Gaia Eau Mythique EDP, an orange bigarade and neroli accord is the green door to Gaia's realm, the earth, where vetiver roots and iris rhizomes grow. Green galbanum and angelica seeds made the earthy perfume green and alive.
Devoted to the goddess of healing springs, Damona starts with mandarine, bergamot and green orange to represent a refreshing and tonifying quality – then it goes to a warm, comforting, spicy caress of clove and cinnamon. And the piquant touch of black currant makes Damona very interesting. The woody base of cedarwood, sandalwood, incense and amber makes you feel clean, calm and renewed.
Ouranos is God of sky, so we tried to put as much sun into it as possible. The start is sunny bright with citron, lemon and bergamot. Jasmine and Myrtle are symbols of the God – and the base is woody again: Cedarwood, Guaiac and Oakmoss. People keep telling me that it`s Sardinia or Corsica in a bottle! That’s the great Mediterranean perfume, with a lot of freshness, I would say, it`s the most contemporary perfume in the collection.
Sergey Borisov: Yes, it`s quite modern, salty, woody transparent, with cardamom… I know one perfume that`s quite similar to it – Declaration Cartier.
Dominique Reinert: Yes, that’s true! Very good!
Next: Osiris, the Egyptian god that looks after all plants and spices. So it starts with spicy citrus notes of litsea cubeba and ginger combined with green mandarin and petitgrain. Then – bitter saffron and sweet Damas rose are the red duo that dances eternally. Immortelle, patchouli and musk make it a real oriental gem. Also, in each fragrance we combined high quality ingredients, natural and synthetic – every Eau de Parfum has got 4 natural oils. All the EDPs should be tested on the skin, as always.
Sergey Borisov: From the four Eau de Parfums I`d say my favorite perfume is green woody vetiver of Gaia – but I just cannot forget Chypre, sorry. That’s just my Soviet childhood! I`m just smitten! Now I realized how classical Chypre cologne should smell – and your version is closer to Soviet colognes than to Chypre Coty.
Dominique Reinert: OK, I`m glad you find something so full of emotions for you!
I just have some last details to tell about. So far as the whole concept Jardin de Hesperides is about transparence, we made bottles transparent as well as spray tubes. Look, the tubes are almost invisible (well, before you spray you can see them, but when tube is filled with perfume, it becomes invisible)! And we choose the special spray for the collection – the producer had 24 models of sprays in assortment – our spray does not spritz, it makes a light cloud of perfume in the air. The perfumes should be delicate. And you've likely heard that perfumes are invisible jewels in the air; I should say it once again. And we treat our perfumes like jewels, with these boxes, and all the luxurious design. People should know that they are buying something very valuable, by looking at the box. I believe it`s important for the brand.
Sergey Borisov: Thank you for the Jardin de France perfume collections review, Mr. Reinert. I wish your brand success as you keep the traditionalist French cologne part and innovate with your new collections!

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