In 1927, at the height of the glamorous Roaring Twenties, Louis Vuitton launched its very first fragrance. Heures d’Absence was exclusive; there were just 300 bottles made, and each was decorated with a miniature airplane motif to showcase the brand’s enduring love of travel and adventure during the golden era of aviation. Nearly a century later, that first formula has long been lost – no one knows quite how that first spritz smelt.
Thankfully the fragrance is about to be given a second lease of life. And, due to the loss of its original formula, a renewed scent. Louis Vuitton’s master perfumer, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, sought to bring together a bouquet of flowers with a contemporary twist. The creation took three years to formulate and, as part of the development process, Cavallier-Belletrud tells Bazaar, he even got his wife and daughter to trial wearing it to see if people in the street would comment.
It's unsurprising to learn that they did. Inside one bottle is flora from all corners of the world; jasmine from Grasse and sambac jasmine from China are set against the light May rose. These are combined with powdery mimosa from the Tanneron and balanced by a sharp touch of raspberry, warm vanilla notes of Peruvian balm alongside deeper Sri Lankan sandalwood and musk to bring out more sensual elements.
The scent is not for everyone, and nor is it meant to be: "If you do, you only create a soup," declares Cavallier-Belletrud. Instead, "everything is done in service of the flowers, there’s no element to rein them in or disturb their message". We agree – not only is Heures d’Absence a welcome addition to the 11 other women’s fragrances by Louis Vuitton – but a welcome addition to our shelves.
Heures d’Absence, £185 100 ml EDP is available on March 5 at select Louis Vuitton stores and at louisvuitton.com.
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