Ever since it opened shop in New York City, Aedes de Venustas has had a special place in my perfume-loving heart. I remember the old days when I’d anxiously await the arrival of the always-beautiful Aedes de Venustas catalogues and then figure out what perfume(s) and soaps and candles I couldn’t live without (the intervening 17 years have taught me I can live without just about everything!) I introduced “legions” to the store and online boutique by saying, around birthday-time and Christmas (in wording that varied): “A present for ME? There’s no need! Weeeeell, I love just about everything at (you guessed it) Aedes de Venustas.” Now Aedes de Venustas has launched a new fragrance called Aedes de Venustas Signature Eau de Parfum (not to be confused with the L’Artisan Parfumeur Aedes de Venustas fragrance.)
Bertrand Duchaufour, the perfumer of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Aedes de Venustas, developed Aedes de Venustas Signature, too; it has fragrance notes of rhubarb, tomato leaf, red currant, green apple, honeysuckle, vetiver, hazelnut and incense.
Aedes de Venustas Signature begins with a tangy, green/fruit accord: a “hot,” rough tomato leaf scent combined with musky currant, a quick burst of apple, and rhubarb. Let’s stop right here and talk “rhubarb.”
Often, an engineered fragrance note in perfumery is inspired by or named after something in nature; for instance, the ocean (walking next to it is one of my greatest pleasures), air (I breathe it often) and, in Signature’s case — rhubarb (I eat it). The oceans and air I’ve experienced really don’t smell like the calone/ozone notes I’ve encountered in perfumes, and the rhubarb I make into jam, jelly, or a tart, garnet-red syrup isn’t exactly replicated, to my nose anyway, in Aedes de Venustas Signature’s rhubarb accord. The Aedes de Venustas Signature “rhubarb” note smells a little bit like grapefruit; it’s fruity, tart and fresh, and a bit “unripe” in character. I like it. (And you’d better too if you’re hoping to enjoy this new scent; the rhubarb note lasts throughout the development of Aedes de Venustas Signature.)
After the fruity opening, a “filtered” or New Age (no smoke/no ash) incense note appears; it’s clean and clear and on the “quiet” side. (I do detect what I believe is the “hazelnut” note — moist, almost “oily” — but only if I sniff my skin closely.) Slowly, the notes of fruit and incense (with a touch of vetiver) meld and soften, but don’t turn powdery. Aedes de Venustas Signature produces a lovely, close-to-the-body veil of “incense candy” scent with good lasting power (though I’m tempted to reapply often because of the vibrant opening notes).
As I wore Aedes de Venustas Signature over the course of a week, it reminded me of two perfumes I’ve owned: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune (its problematic “pisse” note removed) and another Duchaufour perfume, Dzongkha (imagine those two perfumes masterfully blended). Aedes de Venustas Signature is a unisex fragrance, almost smack-dab in the center of the Male-Female perfume scale.
Aedes de Venustas Signature Eau de Parfum (for sale at Aedes is $225 for 100 ml; it comes in a gorgeous bottle and lavish velvet-covered box (see the unusual gold cap in ‘closed’ and ‘open’ positions in the photos above and at right). Aedes de Venustas Signature also is available in scented soap ($35 per 8.8 oz. cake); according to PR materials, candles will be sold, but are not currently for sale on the Aedes de Venustas site.
Disclaimer: Aedes de Venustas is a long-time Now Smell This advertiser.