American niche perfume brand Kelly & Jones have been inspired by the medley of scents encountered when wine and perfume meet thanks to happenstance. Inspired by a particularly harmonious chance accord created by a vanilla scent and oaky and honeydewy notes wafting from a wine bottle, they decided to reiterate the experience making it the systematic source of their inspiration. The result is a Notes of Wine Collection featuring #1 Notes of Sauvignon Blanc, #2 Notes of Riesling, #3 Notes of Cabernet, #4 Notes of Merlot and #5 Notes of Chardonnay. While wine-inspired perfumes exist already such as most notoriously with the houses of Frapin and Ginestet, here we are told that there is an effect of co-enhancing synergy at work...
Fragrance notes have been teased out from wine varietals not so much as replicas but as enhancers. Perfume-wearers are invited to drink wine after having sprayed on the corresponding harmonizing perfume. The personal fragrance then becomes reportedly enlivened by the aroma of the kind of wine suggested while the wine is said to taste better thanks to its complementary perfume notes.
This approach goes against the grain of wine-tasting habits, which usually takes purposefully place in a perfume-free zone.
"But then the winemaker asked firmly, “WHO is wearing perfume in the tasting room?”
In the world of wine tasting, wearing perfume while sipping is strictly prohibited, I quickly learned, as it interferes with the bouquet of the wine in the glass. I'd suddenly and accidentally defied the etiquette of the tasting room. But something intriguing was happening here, as my perfume mingled perfectly with the wine."
#1 Notes de Sauvignon Blanc is "A crisp, refreshing unisex blend of yuzu grapefruit, starfruit, green apple and a hint of camellia flower."
#2 Notes de Riesling is about "Aromas of fresh-picked white peach, anjou pear, bergamot and raspberry leaf."
#3 Notes of Cabernet: "This swoon-worthy blend has spicy notes of pink peppercorn, ripe black cherry, and tobacco flower on a gorgeous base of vintage leather."
#4 Notes of Merlot is described as "A smooth, balanced essence and beautiful blend of red currant, mission fig, rhubarb and lovely candied violet."
#5 Notes of Chardonnay is apparently the original source of inspiration for the whole line. It is "A rich, vibrant and seductive blend of sweet honeydew melon, vanilla blossom and luscious crème brulee all rounded out on a base of toasted oak."
While the concept sounds clever and enticing, it remains to be seen whether it can be experienced as easily in real daily life as on paper. From a perfumista's perspective, the collection is more like an invitation to drink wine from time to time but she/he would expect autonomous beauty contained in the perfume bottle developing on its own. In fact, the whole point usually is to take distance from real wine and re-imagine it by making it particularly evocative, not just of wine in a bottle, but also of wine country, of intangible memories that the winey notes might evoke.
Each 50 ml eau de parfum is priced at $84. Samples and Rollettes also available at kellyandjones.com.