June 18 2011
Those who have followed The Reconnoisseur from its inception may remember a little homage I penned last year to a certain fragrance – Magnolia Romana, one of seven scents under the Eau d’Italie marque produced by the Roman Marina Sersale, and sold primarily at Le Sirenuse, the hotel in Positano run by her cousins Antonio and Carla. The hotel rivals the fragrance collection on my list of All-Time Best Things About Italy; and all the days of the year I can’t be poolside at Le Sirenuse with a glass of falanghina in hand (which is about 361 of them, sadly), I invoke its effortless elegance by dousing myself in the scent of my happy memories there.
On my last visit, in March, Carla let me in on a little secret: there’s an eighth Eau d’Italie fragrance, brand new and close to the hearts of its creators; as with the collection’s other perfumes, this one was created by the venerated nose Bertrand Duchaufour, and ventures far afield in Italy for its inspiration. Jardin du Poete invokes Sicily – Syracuse in the era of Magna Graecia, to be precise, when that ravishingly lovely city-state was ruled by fierce aesthetes who held court and created beauty in cool, shady gardens and atria perfumed by oranges and cypress, herbs and musk, richly woody helichrysum and soothing angelica.
Jardin du Poete (£87) is in character the exact opposite of my beloved Magnolia Romana: but somehow, I’m totally taken with it. Where the latter is rich in floral middle notes and deeply feminine, the former is tart, fresh, even slightly arid (two friends have asked if it is a unisex fragrance). Jardin du Poete deftly plays mid-notes of a herbaceous garden, from red pepper to green basil to vetiver, and the sylvan mood mellows as it wears, but never quite fades. Maybe it’s the scent my inner muse has been searching for.
The best bit: I can indulge my muse without paying for a pilgrimage to Posi, since the entire Eau d’Italie range is now available at Les Senteurs, right here in Belgravia, London.