Known to explore unknown waters, Arnaud Poulain takes modern perfumery back to its roots, inventing unexpected matches between long forgotten olfactive universes. Les Eaux Primordiales was launched, with Amélie Bourgeois, as a personal ode to epic journeys, and to the origins of industrial culture.
Each component of the brand finds birth in a cultural movement – the bottles were inspired by the graphic geometry of architecture captured by the eyes of Bernd and Hilla Becher, the lettering is a tribute to Howard Keller who, cradled by the mechanical sound of typewriters through the XXth Century, invented the Courier font. The name itself, and maybe the brand’s strongest influence, thrives from the heart of the ocean, 20 000 Leagues under the Sea.
From those elements emerged seven mechanical and nostalgia-infused scents. Built on amber and flowers, polished by the inventor’s memories, fusing modernity with scents reborn from bygone days. They embody that perpetual movement Arnaud Poulain – and Amélie Bourgeois – have brought to life, oscillating between present and past. Sweet and acid like your mom’s rhubarb pie, fresh and sharp like a barber’s close shave, powdery and feminine like the Golden Age… And if fragrances travel through time, they, sometimes, even push the limits of space itself, like Particules Imprévisibles might, and as the name suggests (Unpredictable Particles), which was conceived so as to pursue its own personal evolution depending on the skin it touches.
The base is all about lavender, iris, violet and spices, each balancing the other smoothly, creating Les Eaux Primordiales’ unique signature. The duo succeeds flawlessly in creating perfumes that bear a distinctive unisex quality, and offer more than simple journeys to the past. Back to the future is what their trip is all about.
Mécanique Intuitive, the latest of seven fragrances, seems to finish a first voyage by returning to the core of the brand: Jules Vernes himself and his nautical fantasy that is the Nautilus. A jewel of technical inventiveness in his time, this extraordinary submarine could not only cut through the deepest waters, it even succeeded in evoking – in the mind of the modern perfumer – the scent of a 45 day-macerated juice.
Swanking the head notes, to focus on the richness and depth of the heart and base ones, Mécanique Intuitive brilliantly reunites violet and labdanum – the only floral essence to produce animal-like notes. The Tonka bean brings the 50s inspired mix an unexpected exoticism and a warm modernity, before reaching the highest ground of its journey with crisp tobacco and almond aromas.
The perfume is, like Captain Nemo’s vessel, adventurous, daring, luxuriant and spirit-lifting. Driven by its hunger for discovery, it was born to travel the world and its wildest depths.
Journey in Les Eaux Primordiales at LECLAIREUR Sévigné.