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This Rare Perfume Launch Celebrates the Beauty of the Rose de Mai

Photo: courtesy Henry Jacques

Photo: Courtesy Henry Jacques

While Henry Jacques is known for its usage of the finest, rarest ingredients, the fragrance house has surpassed itself with the rose de mai focused release of the Collection de l’Atelier. Dedicated to the beauty of the rose, the rare perfume collection embraces the harvest of Henry Jacques’ own rose, the HJ rose de mai. Infusing each bottle in the launch – limited to a mere 500 flacons due to its preciousness – the HJ rose de mai absolute is centered in each of the three rare perfumes. Henry Jacques CEO Anne-Lise Cremona spoke with Vogue Arabia to discover the passion behind the rose.

Anne-Lise Cremona. Photo: Courtesy Henry Jacques

Talk us through the Collection de l’Atelier concept.
There was actually no specific concept behind Collection de l’Atelier, but rather a desire to create and share. In a few words, the Collection de l’Atelier is a tribute to the rose, the HJ rose de mai that we harvest on our land in the Var, in the south of France.
It is a free-form collection with a purely artistic approach. It wasn’t planned and was born from an encounter with our rose. Just as an artist discovers a new colour, it inspired us to create and then to share. Collection de l’Atelier is s result of this artistic drive and a response to a set of specifications. Once we embarked on the creation process, we realized that a single fragrance limited us. Hence, we kept three fragrances that we find as exceptional as they were unexpected: Rose Très Rose, Rose Soleil, and Rose Azur, making up this collection.

And as a rare rose, it’s also a limited collection?
Collection de l’Atelier is limited by the year’s production of HJ rose de mai absolute. Therefore, planning and projecting just isn’t possible. The collection crafted from the 2023 harvest is limited to 500, simply because we couldn’t produce any more. Therefore, it is a collection for connoisseurs and great perfume enthusiasts.

What was your vision going into this creation, what did you want to achieve?
As mentioned, it truly symbolizes a free spirit, an artist’s soul. It wasn’t planned and it was genuinely born from the encounter with our rose, the HJ rose. I wanted to pay homage to this gift from the earth, and to make the HJ rose a queen. Very early on, I realized that I wanted to share different interpretations and hence the creation of a box set with three perfumes. Ultimately, few people know what a real rose is and understand its power.

Photo: Courtesy Henry Jacques

Tell us about this first harvest of the rose de mai.
The harvest was completely unexpected. In May 2023, we harvested four times more roses than the best forecasts. It was enormous, and we had to manage this last-minute surprise. But what an adventure! It will remain an unforgettable memory in HJ’s history. We felt that the earth was giving back a hundredfold the attention and respect we had given it. What a beautiful lesson in values. It should be known that it was a long journey and not always smooth sailing. We started working on the land five years ago. Our guiding principle: do things by the book, take the time to do them well, think, listen, and innovate without any collection or profitability objectives. I really wanted to give the best to this beautiful land, and it was very generous in return.

Can you describe the fragrance of the HJ rose de mai absolute, what does it evoke?
The HJ rose absolute was a real encounter. Discovering it was a significant moment for all of us. We felt like we were meeting a rose, and what a rose! I must add that we have always used multiple varieties of roses for their nuances and differences, so I can say that we have been experts for nearly 50 years. I was personally so surprised to encounter an unprecedented “color” that I had only one desire: to get to work and create. To describe it, I would say that the notes of the HJ rose are herbal, with green tea notes, warm spices, and a delicate, floral fragrance. Its scent is particularly close to that of the flower, making it exceptional and very refined.

Photo: Courtesy Henry Jacques

How do you anticipate Arab women specifically wearing the new fragrances? Was there a specific one you think will resonate with the region?
What is extraordinary about women, but also men, in the region is that they are great enthusiasts and connoisseurs of fine perfumery. Many have been eagerly awaiting this collection, just as one awaits the arrival of something rare and exceptional. They understand the value and beauty of things and share this adventure with us. I am infinitely grateful to all my friends for their support, which always encourages me to go further. I sincerely believe that the three perfumes will resonate in the region because one alone is not enough to celebrate this rose and reveal its different facets. Each interpretation has its own personality; I have a hard time choosing a favorite, I wear all three. And I am certainly not the only one.

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