The best kind of gifts can often be the ones that have meaning and depth behind them. Whether it reminds you of a loved one, or a specific moment, a place or a story, what can really add to the gift is when the brand being given has a hefty heritage. A gift, in a way, that will keep on giving as it can be passed down a family line.
Such things like jewellery and watches fit this gifting style well. Take for example the heritage of the Geneva-based Maison, Chopard, who from 1860 onwards took artistic vivacity and technical virtuosity, to fine jewellery watchmaking and even perfumes, transforming them into unforgettable feelings and memories.
It all began with Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the son of a farmer from a village in the Swiss part of the Jura mountains with a rich heritage of watchmaking. Despite the village being filled with watchmakers, Chopard has an unmatched talent and attention to detail that always stood out with his creations and helped gain him an international reputation aged only 24.
Deep in the heritage of the brand is a connection to royalty. The artisan watchmaker created works of art with innovative designs, which early on helped him export to such illustrious places like the court of Tsar Nicholas II in Russia.
Ice Cube Bangle by Chopard
The business grew and it was passed down the family, but once the third generation no longer had an heir that desired to take on the family business it was bought by German Karl Scheufele, who was running his own jewellery company at the time, and he brought together both his and Chopard’s watch and jewellery expertise.
The business grew considerably under his and his wife’s leadership and going on to be passed down to their children. The inclusion of perfumes as another way of gifting (to another or to oneself) into the brand started in 1986 with Happy Diamonds, a women’s fragrance, then following in 1994 with a men’s edition called Heaven.
This heritage along with the brand’s dedication to conscious sustainability ensuring their very own history goes hand in hand with ensuring the most precious things in the world have a future as well as a history.
From gold and precious stones to production, the company is committed to helping the environment going forward with projects such as the Sustainability Journey. This means that since July 2018, Chopard has reached 100% of ethical gold which means that all its jewellery and watch creations are currently made of ethical gold certified by this non-profit organization called FAIRMINED.
This philosophy is part and parcel of the way they approach contents they use in perfumery as well. It is about celebrating produce and ensuring the most exquisite ingredients will be available for many years to come.
There are many scents in the collection and after two Haute perfume collections, Gardens of the Tropics and Gardens of Paradise, comes the newest Haute Parfumerie collection for men called Gardens of the Kings.
It pays tribute to the most precious, noble and mythical natural ingredient in perfumery, oud. Specifically here pure OUD ASSAFI™, the world’s most precious oud.
Jalali Agarwood Sylhet Bangladesh
Most often the Oud we sense in fragrances is not real Oud. Its cost is prohibitive for most brands and so substitutes are utilized as a cheaper alternative to getting this distinct magical scent included. However, nothing will ever truly replace real Oud in a fragrance too magnificent an ingredient as it is.
Originating from the Sylhet region in Bangladesh, oud was born 3,500 years ago in the foothills of the Himalayas. A perfumed resin produced by a very rare species of Asian tropical tree, Oud Assafi is the finest quality extract of Aquilaria malaccensis It is one of the earth’s most precious and expensive oils, with very small quantities made each year.
An ingredient of pure joy, it is made up by a unique complexity of facets part smoky, woody and leathery notes, with accents of tobacco, vanilla and honey.
King of woods and wood of kings, as it is referred to, has left its mark on emblematic civilizations far and wide from India, the Silk Road and from China to Japan, even as far as the Arabian Peninsula and the borders of Byzantium.
Seen as a mythical and mystical wood, as a treasure of emperors and kings, the very essence of royalty and masculinity. Loved by Mughals and Maharajas of India to Arabian royalty; its price made it inaccessible to only them and helped give it its legendary reputation and rare use in its real form in perfumery.
Jalali Agarwood are a family (7th generation) of producers of oud with not just magnificent passed down knowledge, but also a devotion to responsible production.
Jalali Agarwood, an icon of excellence in the Naturals Together TM, a programme by Swiss fragrance house Firmenich, who is the partner of Chopard in fragrance and in all of their ongoing commitment to sustainable luxury perfumery.
After all, extracting and distilling Oud Assafi oil of the highest possible level of quality requires great mastery and patience, because it takes at least 40 to 50 years for the resin to ripen to perfection.
Jalali Agarwood in Bangladesh who harvest the finest quality Oud sustainably. Say:-
“The time of oud is not the time of men. It’s the time of Nature connecting generations through the legacy of an invaluable treasure, it’s a time that naturally inspires immense gratitude and sacred respect”. Jalali Agarwood
So now it is a little closer at hand for not just royalty with the introduction of four new facets of Oud from Chopard.
Introducing HAUTE PARFUMERIE COLLECTION GARDENS OF THE KINGS, Four perfumes – Agar Royal – Aigle Impérial – Nuit des Rois – Or de Calambac whose scents and names reveal the mysteries and fascination of oud through time and the world how this majestic ingredient has lent itself to different continents and therefore allowed for different interpretations.
The four fragrances have been created by a Master Perfumer taking Oud Assafi on an olfactive journey across India, China, the Middle-East and South America, blending it with a superb array of exceptional natural ingredients responsibly sourced from five different continents.
These elixirs have been magically bought to life in the gentle yet strong and perfectly balanced hands (and nose) of the master perfumer Alberto Morellis, a true saint in the world of perfumers.
Morellis was born and bred in Andalucía in Spain and has talked often of his inspirations from his home; the sea breeze, the cologne of his father, the trees and jasmine growing all around him. He has worked for every major perfume brand and his handprint is to be found on some of the greatest perfumes of our time.
First in the collection is Agar Royal; a celebration of India.
It is described:-
Agar Royal is a tribute to the Great Kings of the Indies, the palaces of the Maharajahs, and the splendour and shimmering colours of the subcontinent, which makes oud vibrate with all the light and richness of its land of origin
This starts at the top with bright fresh citrus in way of bergamot orange mandarin, with the inclusion of sensuous Jasmine sambac that queen in floral perfumery. In its middle sits grassy dry vetiver, spicy black pepper, patchouli to heighten it, with cypriol nagarmotha and that magnificent of ‘fully figured ‘tuberose giving a full-blooded middle to the scent. The base is the absolute celebration of Oud from Agarwood to Laotian oud.
Think the veil of an Indian princess all sheer and light reflective with fine threads of gold running through and studded with precious stones. A sparkling shimmering fragrance with a hidden veil of sensuousness.
Agar Royal is like a precious white fabric, a brocade of silk and white gold encrusted with stones, ornaments and sequins – the ceremonial dress of a great Mughal emperor.
Next comes Aigle Impérial; The top of the forest all the way to the forest floor of the far east.
Aigle Impérial pays tribute to the majestic jade-green forests and imperial gardens of the Far-East, treasuring sacred temples and magnificent palaces bathed in the vital energy of nature.
This is more ‘aromatic’ in natures at the top with fresh bergamot sparkling fiery ginger and soothing green matcha tea. Find in the middle a sense of the aquatic and balsamic suggestions via labdanum patchouli and oilbanum for the green and wood of the forest with smokey notes trailing at its base find the magnificent woods via guaiac wood agarwood and Laotian oud.
“I pictured a perfume as high and airy as the flight of an imperial eagle over the majestic forests of the high mountains of Asia, hiding sacred temples and magnificent silent palaces.
Next comes Nuit des Rois; think Arabia in all its grandeur.
Nuit des Rois is a grandiose tribute to the Arabian princes, masters of sumptuous ceremonies, and to the bewitching spell of starlit desert nights.
An intoxicating woody-spicy opulent fragrance. Its top is delicious powdery iris with Bulgarian rose (the fuller richer of the roses used in perfume). A middle of spicy saffron, cardamom and vanilla with sweet honey and neroli offset with bitter orange. The base brings together vetiver, sandalwood guaiac wood agarwood and Laotian oud.
“I imagined Nuit des Rois as an opulent elixir for a magical and sumptuous night in the infinite desert, bathed in golden light and the scent of extraordinary materials.
Last of the four is Or De Calambac; travels all the way to South America
Here Alberto Morillas frees himself from the history of oud by reinventing it and giving it the colours, energy and tastes of lush Latin America.
A spicy gourmand take on oud, which is unusual, so here it opens with warm spice of pink pepper and star anise, following onto by rich warm notes of hazelnuts, cacao, cinnamon and tonka bean for a gourmand heart and the added cooler note of juniper with a full-on heady base of myrhh, labdanum cypress guaiac wood vetiver agarwood and of course Laotian oud.
Alberto says of this:-
“I imagined Or de Calambac as an avant-garde oud freed from its historical heritage, travelling to the borders of a new continent and immersing itself in a territory that it has never explored before.
These four immense perfumes are not for the light-hearted, they are for lovers of full delicious and serious fragrances. Importantly, just like the jewellery and watch of the brand, the perfume ingredients longevity holds much weight for the brand. The olfactory journies come with rare essences and natural ingredients with the highest qualities from responsible and ethical sources.
“Chopard’s creation of perfumes is guided by a desire to perpetuate the noble heritage of perfumery: signature fragrances made from great raw materials with an ethical soul.”
Oud, agarwood, the wood of the gods, aloe-wood, calambac, eaglewood, jinkoh and gahara, however you want to approach this ecclesiastical of oils, these are four (although initially for men are very much unisex) scents that will take you on a journey. They will fly you to the ends of the earth as though you are on your own magical mystery flying carpet of scent experience.
To find out more about the brand please go to www.chopard.com
and Haute Perfumery www.chopard.com/uk/accessories/fragrances/haute-parfumerie