One of the very first perfume styles, cologne, was inspired by one man’s walk in the Alps near his home. It is the essence of perfumery to capture the smells of the great outdoors in a liquid form. It is one of the reasons cologne is one of my favorite styles. There is an inherent openness to those who honor the original form. Of course we don’t typically walk in the Alps anymore, we drive. Bastide 1958 captures the scent of driving around in a convertible through Provence.
Frederic and Shirin Fekkai
Bastide is the brand overseen and creatively directed by couple Shirin and Frederic Fekkai. They have assembled a great collection of perfumes inspired by their home in Aix-en-Provence. In 1958 this is the memory of M. Fekkai growing up here. He and his friends would take his father’s convertible, radio on loud, through the fields and hills. This is what an Alpine walk looks like in the 20th century. Working with perfumer Mathieu Nardin they create a classic cologne structure infused with the summer scents of Provence.
The structure of cologne is simple citrus, herbs, flowers. 1958 hews to that recipe. It opens on a brilliantly sunny citrus accord of petitgrain. I think the focused nature of petitgrain is the ideal choice to represent the late summer sun above a cruising convertible. The herbs chosen are clary sage and rosemary. They set up a green duet which is supported by an herbal lavender. To complete the cologne triad orange blossom appears. At this point it is a perfect classic cologne composition. M. Nardin has one extra twist to add, a light skin musk. This is the scent of tanned skin with a sheen of moisture. It inserts itself into the cologne providing a hint of carefree days of youth in the final days of the summer.
1958 has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.
I’m not sure why the brand shies away from calling 1958 a cologne. In every way that matters it is; which is a great thing. I really wished they has added a subtitle to 1958. If they had, Cologne de Provence would be perfect.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bastide.
Late last year on a trip to my local Nordstrom’s my contact there introduced me to the Bastide brand of perfume. Bastide is a part of a new comprehensive beauty brand based in Aix-en-Provence, France. Founded by husband-and-wife Frederic Fekkai and Shirin von Wulffen the concept is to use Provence as inspiration for the entire line. What I like is it is a moderately priced line and the perfumes released are bargains. Of the first three releases from 2017 I purchased a rollerball of Neroli Lumiere. I’ve worn it a couple of times, but I am especially looking forward to wearing it in the spring. I was planning on doing an Under the Radar column on it next month after I became more acquainted with it. Instead my daily search results informed me of a new release which was ready to wear now; Figue Amour.
Frederic Fekkai and Shirin von Wulffen
The creative team has so far exclusively worked with perfumer Mathieu Nardin over all four releases. There seemed to be an early aesthetic forming over the first three, but Figue Amour seems different which means that might not be as apparent yet. What had me so excited about Figue Amour was when I saw the note list; the heart accord was violet, fig, and orris. Those are three of my very favorite notes, my hopes were high.
In the description I am told nearly all the figs in France come from Provence. I’m not sure how many of them have violets and iris growing underneath them but that is the effect M. Nardin achieves. I spend an early spring day underneath a fig tree surrounded by purple flowers.
A stiff March breeze blows through the early moments, cardamom carries the smell of fresh berries and bergamot to me. Then as the breeze dies down the violet and orris lift me up into the figs ripe on the branches of the tree. M. Nardin uses the fully ripened fig around which the candied violet version of the ingredient coats. The orris provides a grounding effect without becoming powdery. The trunk of the tree is a smooth sandalwood given some warmth with a few musks.
Figue Amour has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I really want to point out the entire line of Bastide perfumes they are worth giving a try on your next visit to the mall. You can pick them up in 10mL rollerballs which I think is a fantastic way to encourage sampling. If you’re looking for a perfume to tame the lion of March then give Figue Amour a run it will definitely get you to the calm end of the month.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.