Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bertrand Duchaufour and the Enchanted Forest

Bertrand Duchaufour is the creator of a new perfume, called Enchanted Forest for the Vagabond Prince brand, the first perfume to focus on blackcurrant in a domineering and soli-fruit, so to speak, role. A perfume of the forest and one which celebrates the Kupala, a Slavic festive tradition, a homage to nature and the mysteries of the forest.

Enchanted Forest by *AlineMendes on deviantART

The perfumer explains: "The challenge was great: I had to magnify the raw material (blackcurrant), a material used very often in perfumery and sometimes overused inelegantly through notes of red fruits, and in this regard I made a sort of soliflore. Soliflores are generally constructed on floral bases such as jasmine, rose, tuberose, but for Enchanted Forest the intention was quite different… and I had the idea of working the blackcurrant throughout the structure (head, heart, bottom) of the perfume. To do this, I used no less than a blackcurrant CO2 (an extract obtained directly from the blackcurrant buds, which is free of solvent residues), an absolute of blackcurrant and two different blackcurrant bases, including one of my own creation, to build a sort of skeleton, a vertical structure on which the entire perfume would be built."

 The new perfume can be sampled through a sample opportunity that Fragrantica organizes on the page with a longer article by Duchaufour from which the above quote is taken.

Notes for The Enchanted Forest for The Vagabond Prince:
Top notes:
pink pepper, aldehydes, sweet orange (traces), flower cassis, blackcurrant leaf, hawthorn, effects of rum and wine, rosemary, davana.
Heart notes:
blackcurrant buds absolute (by LMR from Grasse), CO2 blackcurrant (by Floral Concept from Grasse), Russian coriander seed, honeysuckle, rose, carnation, vetiver
Base notes:
opoponax resinoid, Siam benzoin, amber, oakmoss, fir balsam absolute, Patchouli Purecoeur®, castoreum absolute, cedar notes, vanilla, musk


  1. Miss Heliotrope00:54

    I was interested to read the comments on other boards about Bertrand Duchaufour's association with the Uzbekistan dictatorship.

    He has the right to choose who he works for. But I have the right not to give money to someone who appears to authenticate such regimes. Which is a pity - I think the name quite lovely & the scent sounds interesting.

  2. C,

    assuredly! He's a nose for hire. Like most of them (Fargeon catering to Marie Antoinette wasn't catering to a communist regime either). I never really understood why the extreme fandom; it was bound to come down into harsh criticism at some point.

    Still, the fragrantica giveaway is worth mentioning.

  3. Miss Heliotrope10:39

    All giveaways are worth mentioning.

    But I (others can make up their own minds) feel that people who dont have to (ie dont live under said regime) being so pro it is a bit silly. Mind you, it's only (oops) perfume - I would be more annoyed if a politician started saying the dictatorship was nice. Not everyone is as politically aware & involved as some of us. Or agrees with my perspective (well, Ive been told this -).

  4. Anonymous19:28

    I was disturbed to learn about that incident, and I think there are better ways to address the concern than hurting a niche perfume firm that wasn't involved in it: for example, informing oneself and writing to one's elected representatives - takes a bit more work, though! ~~nozknoz

  5. C,

    there is certainly a sour taste left by this practice of creating perfumes for dictators. Then again the great masters in painting created for some despicable human beings as well, but we're not judging harshly. It's not the same, though (IMHO), and this edges on the superficiality and ephemeron character of perfume itself. BD hasn't shown an above and beyond principle, that much can be noted.

  6. Noz,

    I bet the niche brand is regretting the decision to hire him as we speak, if it's hurting its sales indeed. You see this is the Damocles's sword in hiring a "rock star" perfumer; comes with baggage...

  7. Anonymous05:03

    The pain of fame - cue Gaga's Fame video! And thank you for posting that - it was amazing, especially for the dark days of December. ~~nozknoz

  8. N,

    you're most welcome, it was fun to include as it's such a visual feast.

  9. Anonymous08:49

    Duchaufour has responded on the Cafleurebon blog. This was never presented to him as a project to create fragrances for "the dictator's daughter." He was hired by a French firm that had a corporate client based in Uzbekistan. He talked with the head of that corporation, not "the dictator's daughter." It helps to know all sides of the story before making judgements.

  10. Anonymous08:56

    If Duchaufour is to be condemned even though he says he didn't know his client was related to the dictator, who else will you boycott? Chanel, because Coco had a Nazi boyfriend? Guerlain, because Jean-Paul Guerlain made a racist joke? Dior, because John Galliano went off on an anti-Semitic rant? What about luxury goods companies that use child labor? And what about all the other corporations you do business with, have you investigated their executives? Do they all agree with your politics and treat everyone kindly, or is ignorance bliss? Are the corporate executives you deal with just greedy egomaniacs who exploit workers -- and that's just fine with you?

  11. I get the impression that BD would view perfume creation as an art-form that transcends these mere boundaries! Maybe he fell in love with the Dictator's daughter, who knows? It is such a shame though. Not that it's on a similar scale, but - I'm constantly being advised to sell my work to galleries in Dubai as there's loads of money there, but I can't do it, the whole scene reeks of the worst excesses of capitalism - the rich buying diamond encrusted laptops while on the outskirts the poor are starving.

    Anyway, after all that, I applied for the free perfume sample of Enchanted Forest on Fragrantica, and I'm sorry to say it is beautiful! Pure Christmas, forest floor and Cassis liqueur, it brought tears to my eyes! Ah well. I must say I like the idea of perfumers being described as 'nose-in-residence' - the perfume world is maybe catching up with the Romanticist movement and the 18th century when artists became celebrities, and maybe this means in the near future won't be fobbed off so often with crappy scent, but we'll have to tolerate some seriously huge egos!

  12. An epic failure.
    Its an anti-Bertrand perfume.

    Like Serge's l'eau.

    Its a mess.
    Absolutely no complexity. Muddled.
    No smooth rendition between notes & accords.
    Reminds me of when I get stuck in sand when I go off roading. Agonizing.
    Complexity is not an opinion, nor is harmony of transition between top, middle and base. Not all perfumes are intended to be complex, nor should they be. But it's clear when Enchanted Forest was intended to be complex but failed miserably. Then there's the muddled transition.

    Don't get me wrong. I love B. Duchafour. Heck I own 15 of his creations but it's like a mangled walrus freeing itself from quicksand. It's not a graceful sight.


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