The five fragrances for men build on the brand’s rich heritage of travel and exploration
Louis Vuitton launches first collection of men's perfumes
Hot on the heels of news that Virgil Abloh has taken on the role of artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, the brand has made another announcement. It will launch its first collection of men’s fragrances on May 31.
The new scents are crafted by the same man behind Louis Vuitton’s fragrances for women, which were unveiled in 2016. This time around, master perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud has used his skills to create five highly individual scents, using innovative techniques such as fractionation (a separation process in which one mixture is divided into a number of smaller parts) and distilling with carbon dioxide, to extract the purest and most intense elements from the raw ingredients.
Building on Louis Vuitton’s heritage of exploration – the house started out as a producer of treasured travel trunks – the fragrances are based around the idea of journeys and adventures. As a counterpoint to our hectic lives, Cavallier-Belletrud set out to create scents that evoke a sense of space and escapism. The accompanying notes speak of the desire to “leave behind everything familiar and strike out for unknown lands”. As the brand maintains: “Travel is not a destination. It’s a spirit.”
Louis Vuitton rather grandly promises to “accompany travellers’ curiosity wherever it might lead” – and the resulting fragrances do indeed offer a fresh approach. They are presented in the same understated flagons as the women’s scent, but Marc Newson, who was tasked with designing the bottle, has added a more masculine feel, engraving the house logo onto the lid in cold galvanised metal.
The first fragrance in the collection is called L’Immensité, a sharply intense scent that features a skilful blend of bitter grapefruit and ginger, mixed with labdanum and amber to create a lemony, spicy smell with an echo of sage and rosemary. Nouveau Monde, meanwhile, is inspired by the intrepid 19th- century explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, after whom the city of Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo is named. To honour this African connection, raw cocoa from the Ivory Coast has been distilled to capture the essence of the bean, and then blended with oud assam for a warm, vaguely leathery feel. To this, saffron has been mixed, adding an unexpected but masculine edge.
Named for the French word for “thunderstorm”, Orage is an intriguing blend of the earthiness of patchouli and the softness of iris. The addition of bergamot and distilled Japanese vetiver creates a complex, layered fragrance of woody, musky tones. Sur la Route, literally “on the road”, is said to be about personal journeys. Cavallier-Belletrud has used Calabrian lemon and a special grade of cedar. Preferring the precise astringency of the lemon pulp, first all the terpenes (aromatic essential oils) had to be removed, revealing a deeper, hidden element. Blended with Peruvian balsam, the zestiness is finished with the spice of pink peppercorn and nutmeg.
Finally, Au Hasard, meaning “by chance” or “at random”, aims to capture the giddy feeling of a surprising detour, or a leap from a high cliff into the sea. Building on the milky creaminess of Sri Lankan sandalwood, the exceptionally rare seeds of the ambrette flower have been introduced, creating a vegetal muskiness with a hint of pear.
In addition to these five new olfactory offerings, Vuitton also created a unisex scent entitled Ombre Nomade, which launched exclusively in the Middle East on May 4. With the region’s heritage in mind, Ombre Nomade is built around Bangladeshi oud assam – which is worth more than gold – with its spicy scent of leathery wood cooled by hints of raspberry and rose. Rosat geranium and benzoin add further layers, creating an intense and enveloping incense. Even the bottle has been given a unique treatment, as Newson has darkened the glass to a sunset tone, in homage to the desert.