Monday, November 23, 2015

A tribute to plentiful gardens of India: Phul-Nana by Grossmith

Phul-Nana by Grossmith

About one month ago while in Tehran, I had chance to leisurely get around in Jovoy boutique and thanks to their friendly hospitality, we had a great time and discussions on perfumes. Today, I regret why I didn't get more samples from Grossmith while I was free to pick everything I want!

Phul Nana is a wonderful classic composition that cruises me back to a time I miss a lot. This is the best part of perfumery (and at the same time a painful part if you had to skip a lot of good things and people in the past) when unknown senses, evoked by smell, bring back sepia memories of past. This exactly smells mom's geranium collection in marble huge garden urns. Stony powdery surface of marble, velvety and hairy surface of geranium stems and leaves, and fluffy texture of petals.

You know when every single cell of your body is tied to a smell you hardly can deny it and geranium is my DNA, my obsession, as much as citruses. Now you can imagine how exquisitely Phul Nana demonstrates geranium.

A legacy, a reestablishment

The house of Grossmith had been found in 1835 in London by John Grossmith; one of England’s oldest perfume houses. His son, John Lipscomb Grossmith (1843-1921), developed the firm into a leading perfume house, manufacturing a wide range of perfumes, essential oils, fine soaps, face powders and toilet preparations including hand creams.

Until 1924 the firm has been managed by three generations of Grossmith family. Until 1980 when the house ceased business completely, it has honorably worked in perfume world and created a collection of unforgettable noble perfumes from premium natural materials for elite customers of the era.

After being about 30 years out of family ownership, the legacy of J. Grossmith is now owned by his great great grandson; Simon Brooke.
The company held royal warrant granted by the Queen Alexandra (1844-1925), and royal courts of Greece and Spain.

It is as amusing as the perfumes of the house to know about the formula book. When I inquired the house for official information supply about the history of the company they sent me files, a part of which describes:
"John Lipscomb Grossmith was trained as a perfumer in Grasse and returned to London to combine his creative and progressive perfumery skills with a pioneering recognition of the significance of expanding product ranges and creating brands. The formulae books held by the company are likely to have been written by John Lipscomb Grossmith and they contain original formulae of over 300 products including 96 perfumes, 23 EDT and colognes, 10 essential oil blends and 82 soaps which were marketed through over a hundred separate brand names."

In a collaboration with Robertet - a Grasse based fragrance house specializing in natural materials - and Holmes & Marchant - bottle designers who have designed the new flacons upon classic Grossmith Baccarat flacons - the new Grossmith reestablished in November 2009 and reproduced their truly classics using the original formulas without reference to costs and keeping naturals wherever possibleHasu-no-Hana (1888), Phul-Nana (1891) and Shem-el-Nessim (1906). The nose behind the classic collection and Saffron Rose from Black Label collection is Trevor Nicholl.

Phul Nana, a tribute to plentiful gardens of India

Let's get back to the scent: Phul Nana. This perfume is a fine classic gem and as I said no real classic nut, nor a geranium-insane dares to deny it. Phul Nana is an ambery oriental fougère fragrance with deep luxurious eastern floral overtones. Warm, sensual, classic and deeply woodsy. It took me almost a whole two weeks to discover every corner of this beautiful edifice for which I used up my samples!
The perfume unfurls with peppery citrus married to neroli that immediately recalls for a lush floral heart, composed by mature ylang-ylang, intrigant tuberose, heavenly jasmine, and royal romanticist geranium. This clash of fresh notes with crispy floral assault makes perplexing aura.

I have no idea why geranium imprints Napoleon in my mind! Geranium is green, fluffy, sweet gourmand, soapy, metallic and deeply camphorated which - here in Phul Nana - this aspect is intensified by tuberose which also adds indolic features to the composition, so in overall the heart of the fragrance smells a bit like tooth-paste just as Geranium Pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle. Camphorous vibe helps the floral air to present rather strong but coumarin and vanilla take control of unnecessary development of indolic theme, which is critical to show off the splendor of rich Indian flower gardens. And undoubtedly, no Indian perfume is successful without patchouli and sandalwood that appear in the heart of composition.

Although the opening of Phul Nana is totally woodless floral and geranium-spinning, the core is purely woodsy vanillic and faint milky which is charged by sandalwood, allied to floral patch, and pungent patchouli. It is so hypnotic.
Phul Nana is a pure classic. An old fashion, legal and timeless like Rolls Royce, a first class delivery, and a loyal old Indian refinement without conceptualizing it to western atmosphere, a noble legacy. It is interesting, being a rigid classic, it doesn't show off an animalic note.
The fragrance has strong longevity, very balanced effects between layers with faint edges at the end of each layer. About 9 hours with long base phase. It has also massive sillage that presents every slight characteristic of the fragrance.

Carpe Odor!

No comments: