Villanelle Perfume

 Photo: BBC America

Photo: BBC America

A few weeks ago I noticed an unusual activity on my website, one of my perfumes got a lot of attention and was googled again and again. Then people started buying the same sample, then some even bought Extrait de Parfum or Eau de Parfum without even trying samples. What was going on? It was Villanelle, a perfume created and released by me in March 2018. 

If you have been following me for some time, you know that Villanelle is part of my Poetic Spring Collection and it embodies not only late spring days but all the dark scent notes related to soil, moss, dusty air before a storm, a heavy humid air in the Flemish woods and some mysterious, obscure treasures of earth. Well, that was my story behind the perfume, until I found out that there is another perfume, a fictional perfume, called La Villanelle in the books by Luke Jennings in his Codename Villanelle [Villanelle #1-4] book, a thriller "that inspired TV sensation Killing Eve" (goodreads)Well, first I though what a coincidence that they had the same name, although the word Villanelle itself means "a pastoral or lyrical poem of nineteen lines, with only two rhymes throughout, and some lines repeated". 

My first inspiration behind the name was a poem by Keith Douglas:

Villanelle Of Spring Bells

Bells in the town alight with spring
converse, with a concordance of new airs
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

People emerge from winter to hear them ring,
children glitter with mischief and the blind man hears
bells in the town alight with spring.

Even he on his eyes feels the caressing
finger of Persephone, and her voice escaped from tears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

Bird feels the enchantment of his wing
and in ten fine notes dispels twenty cares.
Bells in the town alight with spring

warble the praise of Time, for he can bring
this season: chimes the merry heaven bears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

All evil men intent on evil thing
falter, for in their cold unready ears
bells in the town alight with spring
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

Well, there is in fact not much in common between Villanelle and La Villanelle, except that there is something dark hidden between perfume notes, since the perfume is based on heavier accords of the base notes of labdanum, frankincense, oakmoss, marjoram, galbanum, etc. When I describe the perfume to people, I say, it is the darkest of all perfumes I have created but not the darkest perfume in history. Think of May storms, when day light changes into darkness,  the overcast sky creates a dark mood, something is going to happen, a thunder, a storm, a blast of wind, when the path you took in a forest smells of wet moss, with the first heavy drops of late spring shower, you feel the dust rising up into the air, when the wind wandering among the old oak trees brings the smell of fresh leafage, wet bark and shadowy animals and footsteps left by someone. The scent of Villanelle perfume is not gloomy but rather murky. You have no choice but to follow the path you took because the forest will get only darker with stormy weather.

Well, darkness in nature and darkness of soul can somehow be intertwined. Is that what is happening to Villanelle since people thought to try it? I do not know it. Honestly, it is very difficult to find a name for a perfume these days and when I wanted to blend two forms of art: poetry and perfumery, I was happy to find many connections.

I have not seen the series Kliing Eve myself, although your orders are making me want to see it. I saw a trailer and the moment when Villanelle was opened and sniffed. Now I know how much people got involved into the plot and how much they wanted to smell the perfume themselves. Some might be disappointed, some might be surprised, some - delighted but Villanelle perfume was never inspired either by the book or series, it is a real perfume with its own story and a passionate perfumer and aesthete behind it, while La Villanelle, a fictional perfume, might have its own alluring character, somehow they got on one google page when people starting searching for a real Villanelle perfume and a new story of Villanelle has begun...