A strikingly elegant still life in scent, AEDES DE VENUSTAS’ eighth offering showcases an unexpected flower against a dusky, smoky background of resins and woods.

The Muse: Egyptian Geranium

A very special variety of geranium – not to be confused with the red blooms that grace window boxes –, Pelargonium graveolens, whose name means “sweet-scented”, yields one of the most versatile essences in perfumery. Distilled from the leaves of the plant rather than its flowers, it has long been used as a fresh rosy note, hence its vernacular name, “rose geranium”. Ever since the late 19th century, it is one of the key materials of the masculine fougère family. In Pélargonium, Nathalie Feisthauer draws geranium from the depths of the fragrance pyramid to display its complex facets.

The Scent: Pélargonium

A strikingly elegant still life in scent, Pélargonium portrays its namesake ingredient like one of the mysterious bouquets of Dutch Golden Age paintings. Described by Nathalie Feisthauer as “aromatic, with a crushed-leaf facet, less fruity and more balsamic than rose, almost incense-like”, Egyptian geranium acts as the central motif of this intriguing composition.

The perfumer starts by stretching a canvas of cool orris notes on a neat cedar-wood frame. Then she paints a dark, smoky background of vetiver Haiti, guaiac wood and moss.
Shot through with glints of green cardamom, the golden light of Calabrian bergamot suffuses the scene, caught by richly textured ingredients that bring volume and contrast.

The herbal sweetness of carrot enriches the orris accord; ambery clary sage suggests the softness of velvety leaves.
Lemony, peppery, incense-like elemi resin enhances both the fresh and balsamic facets of geranium. As a haze of musks smooths out its edges, Pélargonium’s stately bouquet takes on a spare, abstract beauty.

The Perfumer: Nathalie Feisthauer

As a tomboy in her native Alsace, the teenaged Nathalie never paid much attention to scent until she wandered into a perfumery in Strasbourg and fell in love with a provocatively spicy scent… Soon, she spent her spare time sniffing and – those were the days before internet – digging up the addresses of perfume companies at the post office. Somehow, she nabbed an appointment with a gentleman who asked her what her favorite perfume was. “Opium”, she answered. “I made that”, Jean-Louis Sieuzac shot back. Trained at the prestigious Roure School of perfumery, Nathalie has authored Hermès Eau des Merveilles (with Ralf Schwieger), a slew of Comme des Garçons including the infamous Tar, as well as the luscious Van Cleef & Arpels Gardénia Pétales… An independent perfumer, this is her first collaboration with AEDES DE VENUSTAS, a brand whose style she defines as “raw elegance”. About Pélargonium, she says “my aesthetic inspiration was an old-school flower everyone thinks they know, even though no one really knows it”.

Aedes de Venustas