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Stopover in Perfumes #1: The Middle Kingdom

As is often the case our journey begins on the lands of the Middle Kingdom. The delicate notes of Mandarine-Mandarin capture the essence of the myths of Imperial China. Pushing the crimson gates of the Forbidden City, Serge Lutens tells us the fragrant story of the Emperor. All the accuracy of a refined tangerine note, dressed in a candied peel surprised by the intense accord of a smoked Lampsang Souchong black tea. A discreet appearance scent that reveals all its complexity while being contemplated, such as a traditional embroidered silk gown.

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Lotus flowers in Lou Lim Ieoc garden, Macau

One of the first trips I made after moving to Asia was going to Macau. This small enclave of southeast China is a former Portuguese colony, now formalized as an administrative region of the Republic of China.

After over four hundred years of colonization, Macao was one of the last European colonies in Asia. The Portuguese influence is clearly felt. You will be seduced by the charm of neighborhoods and their narrow cobbled streets, balconies adorned with linen drying in the sun, not to mention the splendid mansions lined with azulejos tiles; all witnesses of an incredible past.

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Osmanthe Yunnan, Hermès

A chaque voyage son parfum. Le besoin de me remémorer les instants vécus en voyage m’oblige à trouver une odeur qui puisse retranscrire mes souvenirs. Suite à mon voyage dans la région de Guilin en Chine du Sud, j’ai essayé d’imaginer quel parfum pourrait caractériser au mieux les odeurs découvertes dans cette magnifique province de l’empire du milieu. Mélange subtil d’osmanthus et de thé, il m’est apparu telle une évidence, il s’agit d’Osmanthe Yunnan, parfum d’Hermès, crée en 2005 par Jean Claude Ellena pour la collection des Hermessences.

Avec Osmanthe Yunnan, Hermès nous fait bel et bien voyager au cœur de la Chine. Véritable hommage à la fleur d’osmanthus, le parfum est construit autour des différentes tonalités de la fleur chérie, subtiles et délicates, elles évoquent à la fois l’abricot, le thé et le freesia.

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Visit of a tea plantation in Guilin

The last stop of my journey; Guilin. It is a large Chinese city, like an organized bazaar, with its dense population and frenetic circulation. The shops compete on the strength of their soundtrack, all mixed with the incessant honking and you’re in the heart of a huge mess. After Yangshuo, the contrast is striking.

The osmanthus meanwhile is always the actor of the landscape, here again it borders the streets and sidewalks. Lost in the city, the small trees mix with concrete buildings and the smell of exhaust fumes. I came to Guilin full of hope, the rain was more abundant at the north, but unfortunately the osmanthus flowers hadn’t bloomed here yet either…

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