Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Beauty Bottled -

WALK PAST A HON­EY­SUCKLE BUSH in the dim­ming light and you’ll smell a very dif­fer­ent flower than in the day­time: richer, creamier and more in­tox­i­cat­ing. It’s a sweet-smelling sur­vival strat­egy de­signed to at­tract the moths that dis­trib­ute the pollen from the flower’s pale gold trum­pets, and has al­ways in­trigued mas­ter per­fumer Anne Flipo, the cre­ative ‘nose’ be­hind flo­ral hits such as Chloé Love Story, Ralph Lau­ren Woman and L’ar­ti­san Par­fumeur La Chasse Aux Papil­lons. ‘I have a hedge of wild hon­ey­suckle in my gar­den – it’s honeyed and fruity dur­ing the day and even more ad­dic­tive at night, rem­i­nis­cent of or­ange blos­som or jas­mine, but with a hint of rose,’ she says. ‘So when Cé­line Roux, Jo Malone Lon­don’s head of global fra­grance de­vel­op­ment, told me she wanted to work with hon­ey­suckle, I jumped at the chance.’ What fol­lowed was an ad­ven­ture that would linger in her mem­ory longer than the head­i­est bloom, and would lead Anne, Cé­line and tech­ni­cal per­fumer Pene­lope Bigelow to We­ston­birt Ar­bore­tum in Glouces­ter­shire – 600 acres of beau­ti­fully land­scaped trees, shrubs… and dozens of hon­ey­suckle bushes. ‘It was quite a project,’ says Anne. ‘There are hun­dreds of species, and we’d al­ready tested as many as we could. We took our time, search­ing for the most ra­di­ant scent. And then we found it – Lon­icera per­icly­menum. But while it had the fruity flo­ralcy we’d been look­ing for, the sen­sual el­e­ment was miss­ing.’ Over din­ner, a plan took shape. ‘We knew we’d get what we needed now the sun had gone down, and we had the code that would let us into the ar­bore­tum,’ says Anne. ‘Cé­line or­dered a bot­tle of Cham­pagne and three glasses, and we made our way back.’

Like other del­i­cate blooms, such as lily of the val­ley and pe­ony, hon­ey­suckle doesn’t re­spond well to steam dis­til­la­tion, one of the tra­di­tional meth­ods used to ex­tract scented oils for per­fumery. In­stead, Pene­lope used a tech­nol­ogy known as Headspace to cap­ture the mol­e­cules float­ing around the hon­ey­suckle, with a sys­tem of air­tight glass pods, gasses and resin. Later, they would be an­a­lysed, recre­ated in the lab and blended to make the new cologne (if you’ve ever smelled a per­fume with ab­stract or un­usual notes – book­shops or bas­mati rice, for ex­am­ple – or botan­i­cals that are too rare to be har­vested, it’s likely that Headspace was in­volved).

For the hour it took to cap­ture the mol­e­cules, Anne, Cé­line and Pene­lope en­joyed the moon­lit peace of the ar­bore­tum – and their Cham­pagne, which, adds Anne, had set­tled at the ideal tem­per­a­ture in the cool June night. ‘Ev­ery­thing was per­fect – a re­minder of how im­por­tant it is to seize the mo­ment. I can sense the joy of that night when­ever I smell Hon­ey­suckle & Da­vana, and I hope that oth­ers will, too.’

£94: rich, ra­di­ant, and alive with hap­pi­ness.

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