I recently received perfume samples from the Richard Lüscher Britos (RLB) range (thanks to Serena Britos). This is a collection with an intriguing premise. Three childhood friends have banded together to create natural perfumes with strong links to terroir. This is a term that traditionally relates to wine and the connection to the land that nurtures the grapes.
“The interaction of different factors such as climate, nature of the soil, landscape and culture define a specific area – a “Terroir”. ..Terroir products stand for the opposite of replaceable. They all tell an individual story of a specific place. They create awareness and experience. For exactly that reason those “Terroirs” are the fundament of every Richard Lüscher Britos perfume.” (RLB website)
I’ve often thought that wine and perfume are very similar in terms of how they can be appreciated. Although wine tasting and collecting are regarded as serious pursuits whereas perfume is considered to be a tad frivolous and a wholly feminine domain (oh how wrong can people be).
Natural perfumes is a category with which I am relatively unfamiliar. I’m keen to start getting to know perfumes that use only naturals in their formulation and I like the reasoning behind ‘natural’. I know however that it’s a loaded term that has been bandied about so often that it has lost its cachet and has been bastardised by its over use in green washed products.
Ethics play a significant role in the production of the RLB perfumes regarding how the natural materials are grown and harvested.
“Even when our nose approves, our hearts have the casting vote. If our hearts say no we move on.” (RLB website)
The name of the perfume house arises from the surnames of three childhood friends – Malvin Richard, Lukas Lüscher and Serena Britos. Malvin Richard is the son of perfumer Jean – Claude Richard. He accompanied his father on his travels where he developed an interest in aromatic plants and essences. Lukas Lüscher discovered a love for the fragrances during walks in the Swiss woods. He met Richard at school where they discovered they had similar interests. Serena Britos’ parents were friends with Malvin’s and she studied ethno botanics. She rounds out the trio’s skills and expertise.
The artwork housed in the sample box and displayed on the website is top notch with a mix of old and new design elements that brilliantly evoke the style of each perfume. The titles of the perfume refer to the location of the terroir. While I admire the idea, this is actually confusing for me in terms of remembering which perfume is which. Happily the perfumes are also named by location. This is my preference.
There are five perfumes in the collection that I will refer to by name not numbers (Valais, Madagaskar, Columbia, Calabria and Causse Méjean. Causse Méjean immediately grabbed my attention and for me is the stand out in the range. It features the stunning mountain lavender grown at this location in the Midi Pyrénées in France. This perfume is the love child of Swiss alchemist Andy Tauer. Here’s what Tauer had to say about his perfume (taken from his blog ….)
“For me, it was going back to the roots, with joy and passion. For them, it is the beginning of a great venture. Them is Richard Lüscher Britos, and they just started an all natural, terroir based fragrance line that is beyond the ordinary.
I was there this summer, (Méjean) end July, and the lavender was in full bloom. It is little patches of lavender, no fields, and it grows wild. The essential oil, from plants collected by a woman’s cooperative, allowed to harvest the wild lavender in this natural park area, this essential oil is beyond the ordinary. It comes from these geographic area: 44°N-3°E. This is the terroir.
One of my challenges when composing this fragrance: The wind. How do you create wind? Yes, that was part of the brief… Ah, and yes, the fragrance 44N 3E is not your standard all natural “fume”. I composed it with essential oils, absolutes, resins and no isolates, and nothing else; it is spectacular, lasts forever, and glows like a brilliant cut diamond. It is quite remarkable, indeed.”
44° N 03°E – Causse Méjean EDT : Nose : Andy Tauer : Year : 2014 : Notes : Lavender, Juniper, Pine, Resins, Vanilla, Chestnut, Sugar.
I’ll make my feelings clear. This is a stunning perfume with one of the most beautiful lavender notes I’ve ever encountered. This lavender would win over even the staunchest critics of this polarising purple flower. Lavender or its synthetic equivalent in perfume can be harsh and unforgiving. This lavender from Causse Méjean is a simply beautiful rendition. It has a light and powdery aspect yet also manages to sparkle at the same time. I can imagine floating on a purple hazy cloud being swept along by wind. A perfume that is both comforting and hauntingly alluring.
Juniper and pine add another layer to the mountainous facets of the perfume. This aspect is serene and breathtaking. The resinous facet is burnished by vanilla and is just drop dead gorgeous. I love perfumes when you get whiffs of them during the day and you wonder what smells so beautiful. This is one of those scents.
As with all fragrances made by Andy Tauer this also has great longevity and sillage which for me is surprising, as natural perfumes and time on skin are not a match made in heaven. Causse Méjean is a lovely work by Andy Tauer. I’m a huge fan of his scents – and generally have a lot of success with them. They feel perfect on my skin. Hello to Le Maroc Pour Elle, L’Air Du Desert Marocain, Lonestar Memories and Rose de Vermeille and Incense Rosé …
I highly recommend this as the scent that may make you fall in love with lavender. If you already know Tauer’s Reverie au Jardin then I think you may desire this just a little more.
The Low Down : A stunning natural lavender perfume with mountain facets of juniper and pine laced with vanilla and chestnut. One of Tauer’s best and a great introduction to the Richard Lüscher Britos line.
For where to purchase : Please see the Richard Lüscher Britos website for further details. A sample set of all 5 perfumes is available for 45 CHF and a 50ml bottle is 150 CHF.
Notes : Images : Richard Lüscher Britos from the website and Andy Tauer from Twitter tweaked by Megan In Sainte Maxime.