Some of you may recall that the digestive problems of a certain Icelandic volcano caused me and Madame Persolaise to be stranded in Istanbul last year. Well, apparently the same thing happened to Bertrand Duchaufour. But whilst I returned home with an empty bottle of Antaeus, he got back with another idea for a perfume.
To my mind, Traversée Du Bosphore does not for one moment evoke the former Constantinople - a sprawling metropolis I'll forever associate with smells of the sea, fresh fish, bread, coffee and roasting meat - but that's besides the point. Taking his inspiration from green apples and Turkish delight, Duchaufour has concocted another highly original brew that reinforces his reputation as one of the most innovative perfumers working today. The bridge between the fruit and the powdery confection is a rasping, paper-like, staunchly modern dryness which lends the whole an admirable shape-shifting complexity that continues to intrigue for hours. Its name invites a certain amount of geo-political musing, and yes, the fragrance's balance of two extremes suggests a journey between contrasting worlds, but it isn't clear whether we're travelling from west to east or vice versa. All we know is that the destination is covered by an intoxicating cloud of finely-ground, rose-tinted sugar... as opposed to toxic ash!
Released in a year that also saw the launch of the highly-praised Nuit De Tubéreuse, Traversée marks another fine addition to L'Artisan's feminine range. It's worth mentioning that it works beautifully as a candle too, filling the air with a butteriness that softens the edges of the most trying of days like an indulgent teaspoon of condensed milk.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained in 2010; fragrance tested on skin.]