While the days of the 2 martini lunch in New York of the ‘60s may be past, cocktail bars in Paris of the ‘10s are flourishing. Sharing mid-summer cocktails on the terrace of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the rue St. Honoré with perfumer Jacques Huclier (Givaudan) offered a refreshing and multi-sensorial take on the contemporary cocktail experience. Jacques ordered the “Smooth Temptation” with sirop de figue, orange juice, Cognac Courvoisier, Bitter Plum, and champagne. I ordered “Dress Code Red” with sirop de rose, rasberries, Campari, Sloeberry Gin, Bitter Rhubarb, and champagne. After observing, sniffing, and sipping the “Smooth Temptation” Jacques said, “These are suburb combinations. What I notice as a perfumer is the intense fruitiness of the fig, heightened by the sparkling zestiness of the champagne and orange. The fruity aspect of the fig and the orange is both bitter and sweet. The fig brings warmth and a surprising roundness. And then, of course there’s the visible and textured aspect of the cocktail with the rich plum color of the fig resting at the bottom of the glass and the twist of orange peel floating near the top.
Following the same ritual with my “Dress Code Red”, Jacques said, “What I like about this one is that the red color gives the false impression that it’s going to be a very intense and heavy red flower, but when you smell it there’s a surprising aquatic freshness. And then you smell the raspberry followed by a certain bitterness (similar to the taste of arugula leaves) from the Campari. There’s also a fantastic visual, textural, and olfactory experience because of the floating peony petals.
No stranger to the dry martini, Jacques prefers gin and vermouth to vodka, and when making his own, adds a tiny bit of Cointreau before shaking it with a lot of ice. “I like it very, very cold, because it’s true that when its cold you get a very different sensation.”
Jacque’s creative range includes both niche and selective fragrances. Among others, he created Tumultu for Philippe Di Méo’s Liquides Imaginaires, A*Men for Thierry Mugler (French and American Fifis in 1997 and 1998), and Ricci Ricci for Nina Ricci (French Fifi in 2010 with co-creator Aurélian Guichard).