Travel the World With Diptyque's New 'Le Grand Tour' Collection
"Fragrance has the power to create a motionless journey," says Cécile Matton. "When you travel, everything you see, feel, and smell gets intertwined. Olfactive memories are some of the strongest."
Matton is one of five expert perfumers commissioned by the luxury fragrance house Diptyque to help celebrate its 60th anniversary in style. For the travel-themed Le Grand Tour collection, launched this week, each scent artist created a custom fragrance inspired by one of the Diptyque founders' favorite places.
Matton was assigned Venice, where Yves Coueslant, Desmond Knox-Leet, and Christiane Montadre-Gautrot traveled regularly. "A travel memory can be revived as soon as you smell something associated with it," she says. "And the emotion you felt in that moment is there, too." Matton distilled quintessentially Venetian travel memories into a bright, vegetal eau de toilette.
Here, the perfumers discuss how they brought a sense of place to each product in the collection.
To conjure this Greek village on the slopes of Mount Pelion, Olivier Pescheux's blend of fig, cypress, and immortelle comes in an unmistakably Aegean blue and white ceramic oval (pictured above) with a tassel in the style of kombolói, the region's traditional worry beads. "The scent of the fig trees was extraordinary," Pescheux recalls of his travels in the region, "and the immortelle calls to mind the light and heat of summer."
Salty sea air might first come to mind, but Cécile Matton instead focuses on the vegetal, herbal scents of the floating city's hidden gardens. "I blended iconic Italian ingredients," she explains: "tomato, with its juicy flesh; bell pepper, with both green and slightly aquatic notes; aromatic herbs such as basil; and citrus fruits that bathe the fragrance in light." They mingle together in an eau de toilette that pairs perfectly with a Venetian Spritz.
One of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, this ancient Lebanese port has been a center of Mediterranean trade for millennia. "My idea was to transcribe the scents and colors of the souks, the stalls brimming with seeds, spices, and colorful powders," says perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin. His fragrance combines cardamom, cedar, coffee, and musk in a marbled clay vessel that conjures wisps of smoke and views of the sea.
"I was inspired by ikebana and read several books trying to understand the philosophy behind it," explains Alexandra Carlin, who used rose, vetiver, and incense notes to evoke the classical art of flower arrangement. She also wanted to incorporate an "olfactive accident" as a nod to the aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi, the acceptance and appreciation of the imperfect. "Beetroot brings in an unexpected bitter, sour addition," she says. Each bottle comes sheathed in a luxe floral-print furoshiki, the square cloth used in Japan for wrapping gifts.
"For me, Paris is not a destination, but rather, my starting point," says Olivia Giacobetti. "I know its history, its intimacies, and its smells." For this homage to her and Diptyque's mutual hometown, the perfumer channeled the sights and scents of a stroll along the Seine: the weathered wood and old pages of the booksellers' stands, the breeze through the trees that line the river, "the damp smell of Parisian stone, at once sweet and mineral."