Réglisse Noire by 1000Flowers

Confectionary Licorice Allsorts.jpg
Feathery caress of green fennel on the tongue, collected from the wild in the midst of Mediterranean winter. The initial leafiness is deceiving, as it is quickly replaced by the intense back-of-the-mouth sweetness of licorice roots, filling the entire mouth with a radiating warmth. And then a breath of fresh air makes a U-turn, bringing back an expansive ozone wind, rain-covered herbs in a garden. The wet foliage recedes slowly with a hide-and-seek that characterizes licorice notes (which I suspect is what makes them such a perfect culinary symbol for Halloween), revealing a brown soil of dusty patchouli and cocoa powder, moist vetiver rootlets and pure vanilla extract.

Réglisse Noire was created by Jessica Buchanan when she was studying perfumery at the G.I.P. (Grasse Institute of Perfumery). Licorice allsorts hold a sentimental spot for Jessica, as it was the only candy she was allowed as a kid when when visiting her grandmother, who always kept a crystal bowl of them in the living room. (Why do I get the feeling that her parents were health-freaks & tree huggers like mine? My mom would let me chew on plain dried licorice roots instead of giving me harmful sweets!) Their sweet taste remained in her mouth and in her memory, and is at the core of her first perfume that debuted her indie perfume house 1000Flowers in 2010.

In a perfume-tech-talk context, Réglisse Noire is an essay on the relationship between sweet vs. ozonic/green (anise, fennel, licorice, shiso leaf), and earthy notes (patchouli, vetiver, cocoa). It is a second cousin of Angel (also with dominant helional and patchouli notes), and an even closer relative to Lolita Lempicka. However, it is not nearly as linear as these are, and has more depth and complexity due to the higher proportion of natural raw materials. The vetiver truly cuts down the sweetness and mellows the artificial intensity of helional (a note similar to the scent of ozone, which one can detect around waterfall and reminded Jessica of some of the "greener" facets in licorice notes).

1000Flowers' mandate is to walk a balanced path between using naturals and synthetics that have less negative impact on the environment. For example: using only biodegradable musks that are naturally occurring (for example: she does not use galaxolide, which is what's in your Tide and most laundry detergents and dryer sheets, is NOT biodegradable), but she will use ambrettolide (naturally present in ambrette seeds, and which smells like "white musk"), or exaltolide (aka 15-pentadecalactone which is present in Angelica seeds).

Top notes:
White Pepper, Ozone, Mint, Shiso Leaf

Heart notes:
Star Anise, Ginger, Licorice, Cocoa

Base notes:
Patchouli, Vanilla, Vetiver, Musk

Interview with Jessica Buchanan in The Province

There are only a handful of Canadian perfumers, and only 2 of them are form British Columbia. My sister-in-craft, independent perfumer Jessica September Buchanan shares her story of how 1000FLOWERS came to life:
"I knew it was a risk but life is short, life is really short and if you've found something you really want to do (...) why not do it?"

She risked everything she's got by selling her home in Nelson, BC to study perfumery in Grasse, France. 4 years later, her company was born with the launch of the ozonic gourmand Reglisse Noire last fall, inspired by memories of visiting her grandmother and being treated with Licorice Allsorts, and this summer she introduced Fleur No.1, a delicate green floral inspired by the spring in the mountains of interior British Columbia.

Jessica was interviewed for The Province yesterday in "Capturing the smell of success" where you can read more of her philosophy and inspiration.
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