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Out of the ordinary

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The olfactory world is searching out rarer and finer ingredients to create exclusive-smelling scents

Spices from Asia, citrus from the Mediterranean and roses from Grasse: the notes in a new breed of aromas capture journeys made by perfumers to source the finest ingredients and tell of exploration and adventure.

Jean-Claude Ellena, the nose behind the new addition to the Collection Hermessence, Epice Marine (£175 for 100ml eau de toilette; hermes.com), took inspiration for the fragrance from his travels to the Brittany coast, but interestingly chose Sichuan pepper to add a “breath of fresh air” quality. Although commonly used in the culinary world, Sichuan pepper is rarely utilised in the realm of fragrance. Not a peppercorn but a dried berry, it smells similar to lavender with notes of lemon.

Since 1987, Chanel established a partnership with the largest flower producers in Grasse to harvest jasmine for the fragrance house. The flower must be hand-picked before sunrise and blooms for up to 100 days. It’s the defining ingredient of the new Les Exclusifs fragrance 1932 (£110 for 75ml eau de toilette; 020-7493 3836).

Spice And Wood (£415 for 250ml eau de parfum; creedfragrances.co.uk) contains a heart note of angelica root, which is sourced by, and cultivated exclusively for, the House Of Creed in France. Also used in herbal medicine, angelica root is grown in areas with damp soil such as rivers and marshes and it imparts a musky earthiness to the fragrance.

Finally, the rose de mai sourced for Roja Dove’s Bergamot Extrait (£275 for 50ml extrait; rojadove.com), grown in Grasse, costs £32,000 per kilo to produce. The rose harvest lasts just three weeks a year.

So for a one-of-a-kind scent, spritz on one of these creations by perfumers with olfactory vision.

(Photography: Arthur Woodcroft)

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