In the Mood for…

When the weather turns chillier,  I instinctively reach for my heady, spicy, more intense fragrances.  This year I’m loving boozy accords….  I’m really in the mood to smell like a sexy cocktail (inside and out), put on a spangly little dress, kick up my stiletto heels, and celebrate the season in style.  And I’ve found the perfect fragrance to toast the glittering festivities with – Absolument Absinthe, by Absolument Parfumeur. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of the Scent Universe!


I’ve always been fascinated by the parallels between perfumery and wine and spirits – the creation process of the perfumer, winemaker and liquoriste are quite similar in knowing how to combine just the right ingredients to produce an amazing scent or taste. And both fragrance and liquor create a mood and give an emotional reaction… they have the compelling power to make us FEEL and transport us. Which is why I’m so drawn to them!

So yes, I’ll admit it  – I’ve been completely seduced by Absolument Absinthe. From the totally intoxicating aroma – notes include absinthe, black Chinese tea, bergamot, cannabis (yes!),  galbanum, lily of the valley, lotus flower, jasmine, ylang ylang, nutmeg, cardamom, sandalwood, and musk –  and also from the dramatic back-story of the drink that inspired it. And I *do* love a great story!

I did some research, and learned that Absinthe was originally portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen that made people lose control and act on their impulses in dangerous ways. The chemical compound thujone, although present in only tiny amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects even though there was no scientific or medical evidence to support this claim, and Absinthe has never been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than other spirits.

Absinthe was incredibly popular as an alcoholic drink in the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly among artists and writers, who felt it inspired their creativity.  Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Emile Zola and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were all noted Absinthe drinkers who featured Absinthe in their work. But by 1915, Absinthe had been banned in the United States and Europe.

Fast-forward to the 21st century: Pascal Rolland, founder of the Liquoriste de Provence, is the brave innovator who reintroduced Absinthe liquor in France in 1999, after an 84-year boycott that spanned half the globe. Inspired by his customers’ increasing love of the Absinthe flavor,  and always looking for ways to stretch his creative wings, Pascal worked with a Master Perfumer in Grasse and produced his first perfume, Absolument Absinthe, in 2005… thus becoming the first liquor-maker perfumer!

Pascal and the perfumer experimented with cold extraction, heat concentration, and alambic distillation to obtain a pure essence of the absinthe plant.  A suggestion from another perfumer in Grasse to add the essence of cannabis resulted in a captivating and compelling, highly-concentrated long-lasting aroma of feminine amber and floral notes combined with masculine vegetal and woody notes. Friends and relatives begged Pascal to share his secret concoction with them, and he eventually brought the forbidden perfume to the public, where it became an immediate success.

And the rest, as they say, is history! Pascal loved creating perfume so much that he dedicated himself fully to his fragrances, launching several more over the years, and securing a place for Absolument Parfumeur in the select world of niche fragrances.

This article originally appeared in the Parfumerie de France Blog on 12/22/15.