Three kinds of jasmine for Jasmin de Toscane! Indian Jasmine, Jasmine Sambac, and an accord portraying Jasmine Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany variety (with a little help of headspace technology) plus a clever connection with Vetiver Gris, also composed by JC Herault for Jacques Fath – the hazelnut accord.
Rania Naim, the creative director, closes her eyes when she speaks about the inspiration behind this perfume. Here’s their story behind the perfume, perfumers’ take, and my review of Jasmin de Toscane, the newest addition to the Jacques Fath collection!
During my brief stay in Milan, while running frenetically around stands, I managed to stop by the Jacques Fath booth – twice, and I was delighted by both new creations: L’Iris de Fath EdP (the one I patiently waited for, and yearned to try), and the new Jasmin de Toscane.
The second time around I ran into Rania Naim and Jean-Christophe Herault (a senior perfumer at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) ), whom I met the year before as he presented Jacques Fath Vetiver Gris, and how he patiently and bravely stuck by his idea for this perfume, all the way to its realization – and managed to interview him briefly.
Jasmin de Toscane, a new perfume in the Fath’s Essentials collection, is a tribute to the variety of jasmine named Grand Duke of Tuscany (Arabian jasmine), the one with the biggest flowers of all Sambac’s, almost resembling Camellias.
Its sweet scent had a special meaning for Rania Naim – before she even knew the name of the variety that impressed her so much, growing in a garden in Beirut. Once discovered, hence the name, and idea for this perfume: Jasmin de Toscane.
One step further – she carefully transported a branch of blooming jasmine to France, and subjected it to headspace (there’s a great photo showing this procedure called Living Flower by IFF, but I’ll be able to publish it only when Jacques Fath presents Jasmine de Toscane on their website), so the idea was much closer to realization.
This is what Jean-Christophe told me:
EC: Rania just showed me a photo of the headspace of Jasmine flowers, it is so beautiful and impressive. Do tell me more about this creation.
JC Herrault: Yes, we did the headspace, made the whole analysis, and this was the starting point of my creation. I decided to use a lot of natural extracts, so there’s like 1% of natural Jasmine extrait in Jasmin de Toscane. That’s a lot. I mean today that’s considered a lot.
EC: Thank you for being transparent and sharing the percentage of the natural extrait. That makes the difference. Usually, when brands mention natural jasmine, the percentages are something like 0.0002% (this was meant to be a joke).
JC Herrault: Yes, that matters because usually it’s used practically in traces as you said, so in this case I wanted to stress this percentage also because Jacques Fath allowed me to celebrate Nature – with naturals in Jasmin de Toscane (by IFF LMR, editor’s note). And also, somewhat like with Vetiver Gris, there’s this tension between the modernity in Jasmin de Toscane – the freshness, greenness, and the impressive facets of naturals on the other side. Very expensive naturals, mind you. This is also a way I wanted to celebrate the art of classical French perfumery.
I played with these two aspects of Jasmine. I also used the hazelnut accord to bring something distinctive to this jasmine-centered creation, and I combined it with ambery and musky ingredients (IFF captive musk, editor’s note).
EC: You and Rania are becoming quite a team now, after Vetiver Gris and Jasmin de Toscane. Anything new and exciting you’re working on?
JC Herrault: Yes, kind of, maybe (laughs). We spoke just this morning about a possibility of a new creation.
EC: Do tell more about this specific variety of Jasmine. How did all this start?
Rania Naim: It all started in Beirut. I was fascinated by the smell of this jasmine I found in a garden. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I finally Googled it with a photo I took, and found out that it’s the Grand Duke of Tuscany variety! An idea was born…
JC Herrault: Yes, we had to work very fast. We began as soon as Rania came back from her vacation, bringing us these rich flowers, and they had to be super fresh! I tried to create a very natural-smelling Jasmine composition, but figurative as well, I think that this great greenness it possesses gives it a modern twist.
When you study naturals as a perfumer, when you analyze aspects of jasmine, you get to know them. I didn’t discover anything I didn’t know after the headspace analysis of this specific variety was made, but what I did discover is the difference in proportions, when compared to other Jasmin extracts. This specific jasmine had huge proportions of orange flowers, honey, and green aspects, so it was super interesting and exciting to have a starting point like this. I felt so close to Nature. And that felt good.
Jasmin de Toscane feels good indeed!
I consider it to be one of the best finds at Esxence 2023, and it won me over immediately. It feels timeless and irresistible!
There are no traces of dirty properties of Jasmine in Jasmine de Toscane, it’s overall feeling is bright, light, and elegant, a fragrant vision of a living flower swaying gently, refreshed by a lovely green citruses accord, and developing an extra dimension with a smooth and vivid ambery-musky base to which hazelnuts give texture and character.
There’s a fruity aspect too, never too sweet, a touch of color to enhance the white, and a bit of strawberry to enhance the feeling of delicacy.
Rania told me that it shall be officially released sometime in July – what a perfect summer perfume this shall be! I can imagine wearing it all through the day, at summer parties held in warm evenings, after-work cocktails on open-air terraces, and bright and sunny summer mornings – mornings that make you smile and look forward to the rest of the day. It’s just so cheerful and optimistic. Beautiful.
Notes (as given by the brand): Grapefruit oil, Freesia accord, Petitgrain oil Tunisia LMR, Jasmine grandiflorum absolute India LMR, Jasmine sambac absolute LMR, Living Jasmine Sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany, Musk Sinfonide, Benzoin resinoid LMR, Hazelnut accord.
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