Although I haven’t seen as much of it in 2018 the concept of “deconstructed” perfumes were bandied about a lot last year. What that usually translated to in terms of a perfume was something lighter and all too often banal. There is an ideal within my imagination that if a perfumer is trying to deconstruct something it should be apparent without being told. Which is how I felt while wearing Bruno Fazzolari Fontevraud.
The chypre style of perfume is one of the oldest styles. It has also been one of the most affected by material restrictions, especially on the oakmoss which makes up one of the essential ingredients. It has made it fertile ground for current perfumers to find a way to re-create the accord without the proscribed ingredients. If you can’t use the traditional recipe then this should be something to which deconstruction is an obvious choice. It is what I smelled in Mr. Fazzolari’s creation.
The name comes from The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud. It began its days, 900 years ago, as a monastery in France. It would transition to a prison which author Jean Genet refers to in his autobiographical novel “The Miracle of the Rose”. Fontevraud feels to me like a fragrance trying to stage a jailbreak from the norms of chypre construction. The fruity floral chypre is taken for a makeover by Mr. Fazzolari.
That renovation begins with the choice of the fruits; guava and pear. When I saw these on the note list I expected something lush and tropical. Mr. Fazzolari instead pulls off a neat trick by using opoponax along with the fruit. It forms a power-packed opening where the guava and pear eschew lush for ebullient. There is the joy of riding an amusement park ride as you reach the top of the arc to whoosh back to earth with speed. In the case of Fontevraud the top accord zooms towards a spicy rose. Picking it up and accelerating towards the top of the next curve. As it all heads towards the chypre base accord it arrives to find it inverted. Typical chypre accords play off the depth and bite of oakmoss. Mr. Fazzolari pushes the other two ingredients to a more forward position leaving the oakmoss in the background as a supporting player.
Fontevraud has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.
The first hour or so of wearing Fontevraud is a powerhouse. If he had used traditional berries as his fruit I am not sure I could’ve taken it. It is to Mr. Fazzolari’s credit that at the high volume, by using different fruit choices, I was kept engaged. Mr. Fazzolari successfully deconstructed chypre without saying a word.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.