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Turkish Delight — L’Artisan Parfumeur Introduces Its New Traversée Du Bosphore Fragrance

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The city of Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus, a narrow navigational strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Namara (which is itself connected to the Aegen Sea). In April, during a 10-day expedition through Istanbul, L’Artisan Parfumeur‘s Bertrand Duchaufour (shown in the video above) — the genius behind brand favorites like Fleur de Liane —stumbled across the aroma that, together, would allow him to craft a groundbreaking oriental fragrance, one that could redefine the category that Guerlain’s Shalimar has long conquered with its vanilla-tinged labdanum heart. The new scent, then, is fittingly dubbed Traversée du Bosphore, nodding to the Turkish trek that inspired its creation.

Tulip flowers — revered in Turkish culture since the height if the Ottoman empire, when they were linked to privilege and nobility —were in full bloom, and the air was permeated with their green, fresh, dewy scent. Duchaufour then thought to combine the tulip note with that of the slightly bitter but joyful saffron spice, which itself has deep roots in Asia, having been used as a remedy for melancholy in ancient Persia. But these were merely the entry points to the aromatic gem Duchaufour would envision, one grounded by the scent of leather. While strolling along streets lined with open-air shops carrying leather bags, shoes and gloves, the celebrated perfumer realized that this buttery, soft, powdery leather scent was the key to an innovative oriental fragrance, one that was feminine but exotic, mysterious but gentle.

Though leather tends to be associated with masculine scents, the note Duchaufour uses in the new L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore perfume is far from astringent or animalistic, instead taking on a velvety, powdery form that recalls the soft texture of premium suede. This leather base was then combined with joyous saffron, green tulip, elusive and earthy iris, and the decadently sweet scent of confectionery treats like Rose Turkish Delight and Pistachio Turkish Delight, giving way to a sultaness worthy fragrance heart that is at once piquant, refreshing, mysterious, and soft but sugary.

In terms of base notes, musk, benzoin and atlas cedar ground the fragrance, giving it a more carnal allure and toning down the sweeter notes. The top notes, meanwhile, awaken the senses with a burst of juicy fruitiness, adding a nice contrast with a combination of green apple, ginger, pomegranate and saffron notes. These specific fruits were all chosen because of their link to Istanbul — the green apple, for example, nods to the molasses-like apple shisha concoction smoked by many Turks, while the pomegranate note references the fruit’s use in green and black teas.

Altogether, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Traversée du Bosphore is an aromatic revelation that will win over even those who typically shy away from the oriental fragrance category. Sophisticated and enticing, smoky and spicy yet powdery and elusive, the perfume makes you feel like you’re aboard a ship making its way through the Bosphorus, taking in the scents that define the nearby city and give it its inimitable charm.

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore Eau de Parfum, $115 for 50 ml and $155 for 100 ml. Available at ArtisanParfumeur.us

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