When I first started Possets, I got the idea of making a special perfume (called Cambienne) which would mimic the seasons of the year. So, I made up a master flask at the beginning of each year and that perfume was the base. I would announce it was for sale and sell it until the amount in the master flask was down to a portion of what I started with. Then I would stop the sale of Cambienne, take the master flask and mix the next batch of perfume based on what I saved from the previous batch. It is a challenge and many was the time when I was a bit nervous that I would ruin what I had worked to hard to make and have to stop the entire experiment. Did I have enough of the previous blend to keep its character? Did the previous blend overwhelm the next one? Would the old and the new compliment each other or cancel each other out?
Cambienne was to be like a family, each “child” carrying the seeds of its fore-bearers but having its own personality. There should be some similarities to the previous versions but each would have its own character and the complexity would grow with each new perfume and at the same time be compatible with the evolving year. That was a pretty tall order, but I wanted the challenge, I had to prove to myself that I was worthy of the task.
So, January would start off as cold earth; and as we moved into February, the fragrance would turn more sunny but the original icy component was much in evidence still, but in addition I would perhaps play around with the idea of Valentine Day (chocolates a whiff of red rose?). As the year progressed the fragrance would slowly turn more floral and warmer until we got to June when I changed it to be quite rosy indeed. And so it wove as the year progressed until it reached the dark and resinous fragrance which I favor in the fullness of the calendar year.
As the years have worn on, Cambienne has changed in its philosophy a bit. I got away from strictly following the course of the year and tried to follow the phases of a woman’s life. I brought in the smells of various holidays and sometimes events which were not related to the passage of time. I liked the idea of time running its course through the year, though, and somehow no matter how intriguing the alternative possibility is, I return to the flow of the year and I think that is where Cambienne will stay.
As Possets has grown and my library of ingredients has expanded terrifically, Cambienne has gone from being a fun novelty to an eagerly awaited serious perfume. It has evolved from a big experiment to an exercise in stretching my wings as a mature perfumer and taking calculated risks. The most difficult to execute are, of course, the deep and resinous end of the year blends. They are also the scariest because they contain the seed of the entire previous year (I have no backup of that) and they contain the most expensive ingredients, too. If I don’t mix it right, the whole year would be ruined.
Now when I put together a Cambienne, I am using that bit of thick syrupy dark brown patchouli I was saving for a special occasion, the precious sample I bought of an elusive oude from a tiny source, or a famous mixture I made as an homage to the great perfumers who have gone before me (like a divine chypre I just made up that slid into a recent Cambienne). I fashion the entire creation around astounding ingredients and I think the end product is a gorgeous thing.
One of the features of Cambienne is that it is limited. Since it is based on the previous Cambienne, there can only be so much made at one time. The rest of my blends are made to be available at all times during their initial run (and during Retours) that makes Cambienne a departure from the norm. Somehow, making a limited amount makes it sort of scary but appealing, it mirrors the high wire act I feel I am performing when I am making it (one slip and the entire year is ruined).
The end of the year brings a lot of tasks for me to perform to keep the business running smoothly, the kind of thing which doesn’t interest you. So, to keep me happy (which always involves making perfume) I will fire off a few iterations of Cambienne and I surely end up falling in love with them.
I am thinking of decanting a limited number of poppets of Cambienne in each batch next year and putting the collections up for sale as one entire group (that means the Entire 2013 Cambienne Collection would consist of one each sample sized vial of every Cambienne I produced that year–call it The Cambienne 2013 Set). and offer that at the beginning of 2014. There would be a very limited number of those collections of samples of Cambienne and it would be a lot of work to do them but I think it might be fun in the long run. You can kind of put time in a bottle that way, or at least in an organza bag. You could also regard the way that Cambienne changed over the year at close range and at your own pace.
If you like that idea, drop by the forum and let me know. Here is the link to it.
Cambienne is a perfect compliment to Possets. Possets Perfume is always changing to become better and better; evolving Bottled Happiness! Have a very happy holiday season, and an excellent New Year. Fondly, Fabienne from Possets Perfume