Few things come close to the magic of a beautiful fragrance. Intangible and yet, indelible in the way it can touch the soul and senses, perfume has a way of conjuring up memories, transporting one to far-flung locales, triggering intimate emotions and leaving a lasting impression—all in a single spritz. This is why fragrances are such an intimate subject; so much so that many spend years finding their signature scent, one that serves as a distinctive extension—and expression—of their style and traits. Henry Jacques
Priding itself in concocting some of the world’s finest olfactive elixirs is Henry Jacques, an haute perfumery steeped in 40 years of French fragrance tradition with a taste for absolute refinement and bespoke masterpieces.
The maison, Parfums Henry Jacques
Founded by Henry Cremona in 1975, this family-owned French perfume brand spent most of the last 40 years crafting bespoke fragrances for the world’s most discerning clientele—from royalty and members of high society, to luxury collectors and connoisseurs. Not unlike an haute couture atelier, the maison is home to an encyclopedia of rarefied ingredients from all corners of globe, and a library of over 3,000 tailor made fragrance formulas. It was only until 2015 did it open its doors to the public, with the launch of a commercial line for retail comprising 50 scents under its Les Classiques de HJ collection—a curation and representation of the house’s immense olfactory work. In 2017, it opened its world-first standalone boutique, in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands.
The essences, the absolutes, and the lifeblood
Each fragrance here is composed of precious, pure and potent essences and absolutes, all naturally derived through meticulous extraction processes of which you’ll find pyramids of jewel-toned flasks containing botanicals and crystallised resins in its atelier-laboratory. Each completed fragrance formula is then left for over two months to infuse and draw out the deepest aromas of prized ingredients like sumptuous jasmine, ambergris and intoxicating tuberose. The result is rich, olfactive nectars that are meant to be delicately dabbed (not spritzed) directly onto pulse points, allowing the scent to gradually open up as it comes into contact with your skin and body heat.
The masterfully crafted, multi-faceted flacons
Revered in the design sphere, Christophe Tollemer is a French architect-designer who has crafted spectacular getaway properties and transformed palaces into hotels, having also worked on the royal grounds of Paris’ Versailles, where he did the interior design for Airelles’ Le Grand Contrôle. He is also the artistic director of Henry Jacques, dreaming up the most intricate flacon masterpieces that harmonise the house’s luxury codes with the majestic proportions that are a hallmark of his work. He has designed everything from the lavish vessels for perfume collections like Les Classiques HJ, Les Toupies and Jewellery, to standalone boutiques in Singapore, London, Dubai and Hong Kong. Each bottle he creates is crafted to illuminate and exalt the essence within—all hand-blown crystal bottles in minimalist and maximalist shapes (like elaborate spinning tops that sit at an angle), some adorned with opulent touches of gold lattice and precious stones, nestled in plush chests.
The power pairings, Les Toupies
Just like how the flacon masterpieces and the olfactive portraits within go hand in hand, Les Toupies celebrates stellar partnerships between precious fragrances—six signature perfumes that have become very dear to the maison—all encased in crystal masterpieces that exalt these storied golden nectars.
The first is a love story between Mr. H and Mrs. Y, a couple that epitomises French elegance and romance. Armed with undulating curves that almost embrace one another with their contrasting sizes, this elusive pair calls to mind a magical waltz, in a park, at sunset—a tender yet exhilarating dance between the warm, smokey and assertive Mr. H, composed of cedar leaf, geranium, sandalwood, tobacco, amber and patchouli; and Mrs. Y, that radiates with a delicate yet intoxicating floral blend of ylang-ylang, rose damascenia, jasmine, iris, wild Lily of the Valley and tonka bean.
The second diptych, No.16 and No.81 represent a creative journey through the lesser-travelled corners of the olfactory world, on a quest of fresh, modern expressions. Composed of intricate, artfully balanced layers, No.16 captivates with a heart of Rose de Mai, a great pillar of traditional perfumery. Lending warmth and richness to a lively floral opening and lingering honeyed trail, it blooms alongside gardenia, ylang-ylang, Florentine iris, ambrette seed white musk and vetiver. No.81 is a bottled balance of energy and enigmatism, with bergamot and a stunning citrusy punch of grapefruit, heated up by a piquant, woody swirl of Oudh el Dehen, ginger, sandalwood, musk and tonka bean. And encapsulating these are flacons, once again designed by artistic director, Christophe Tollemer, this time with strong angles and clean lines for a perfect symmetry of boldly architectural bottles.
The final chapter is Les Toupies III: Fanfan and Galileo—the most curved and rounded toupies, or spinning tops, of them all. Housed in symmetrical flacons with no central point and yet, possess a stable axis, these three-dimensional crystal objects house total opposites that have found a way to live and love in exuberant harmony. Galileo opens up with a tantalising hit of lavender and Italian mandarin, before warming up to decadent heart and base notes of patchouli, myrrh, benzoin, oak moss, tobacco and amber. Reflecting a fact of this is Fanfan, with a hint of lavender entwined with the grace and exoticism saffron, Egyptian geranium, Indian sandalwood, rose damascenia, cedar wood, amber and a touch of leather.
To go on a fragrance discovery journey of your own, visit the Henry Jacques boutique at Marina Bay Sands Hotel Tower 2, L1-08A, 1 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018971.