Karl Bradl co-owner of Aedes de Venustas at May 22 Paris launch of “‘Oeillet Bengale’ in the Ells Collection show rooms
On a dark afternoon in February I stopped by the Aedes de Venustas boutique on Christopher Street in New York. I was on a short three-day trip to attend Elements Showcase, and finding myself with a small window of time before a dinner engagement, I had decided to take a chance that owners Karl Bradl or Robert Gerstner might still be in the shop. There had been a blizzard the day before and the snow in the streets was a combination of slush and crust.
After announcing myself at the reception desk, I had a moment to browse among the glowing perfume displays before Karl emerged from the shadows of the back office, his smile a beacon of quiet assurance in the mauve tones of the boutique.
Almost immediately he produced a small tester bottle from his pocket. “I’ve got something to show you,” he said. “It’s finally finished. ‘Oeillet Bengale’.”
I didn’t catch the name as he said it, but the moment I smelled the fragrance I recognized a rose — fresh, transparent and powdery. A rose with a distinct clove-like peppery smell that made me want to breathe in more deeply.
“Ah, what a lovely rose!” I exclaimed, and then read for the first time the code name on the bottle: ‘Oeillet Noir CS’ (final) December 3, 2013′. ‘Oeillet’ means ‘carnation’ in French.
“Oh dear,” I said. “I’m confused. I was sure this was a rose, but now that I read the name, ‘oeillet’, I realize that what I like most about this fragrance is the wonderful peppery smell that occurs in both roses and carnations.”
Karl was smiling again. “But you’re right. It is a rose. I originally wanted to do a carnation fragrance, but while researching the project I completely fell in love with some visuals of a Bengalian rose. Technically it’s a rose, but it looks like a carnation. So, instead of doing a carnation I asked Rodrigo [Rodrigo Flores-Roux, the Franco-Mexican Givaudan perfumer] to create a rose with a twist. And that’s how we got ‘Oeillet Bengale’. It took a while, but we ultimately got all the nuances I wanted.”
Karl put the bottle in my hand. “Take this. You can have it now. The launch won’t be until sometime this spring. June probably. The visuals aren’t ready yet and we’re still playing with the color of the flacon. But this is the finished fragrance.”
When I left the boutique and entered the gathering darkness of the street I was wondering what a rose that resembles a carnation could possibly look like. But these musings were scattered by the immediate need to focus on where to place my feet on the icy sidewalk while navigating my way down Christopher street.
At the corner of 6th Avenue I looked north to check the traffic, and a gust of wind whipped my hair into my face, and with it, a whiff of ‘Oeillet Bengale’. For an instant, sharp-edge winter mingled with something softly layered yet crisp.
“Oh, of course,” I said to myself. “That’s what they’ll look like. The way they smell.”
My gloved hand turned the bottle in my coat pocket. “We need to remember these things in winter….”
Aedes de Venustas
9 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014
Available in Paris at:
Jovoy Parfums Rares
4 Rue de Castiglione
13 Rue du Roi de Sicile
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