April 8, 2012
Jovoy's gorgeous new boutique near the Place Vendôme is a must for lovers of fine fragrance—a grande parfumerie that showcases rare, limited-edition and exclusive perfumes. Tucked under the elegant arcades of the rue de Castiglione, the boutique is spacious and colorful, warm and welcoming, a feast for the eyes as well as the nose.
François Hénin, Jovoy's owner, opened his first Paris parfumerie on the rue Danielle Casanova in 2010 (see Singular Signature Scents, France Today, Oct 2011). The shop's name comes from the vintage perfume house of Jovoy founded by Blanche Arvoy in 1923. While re-creating some of Jovoy's forgotten fragrances and adding new scents to the line, Hénin, who had spent years in Asia working with the raw materials of fine perfumes, decided to broaden the shop's scope by bringing some twenty independent perfume brands under one roof.
The success of his first shop led Hénin to look for a larger space that would be his grande parfumerie showplace. The new location on the rue de Castiglione, which opened in March, is the perfect setting for his "temple of rare perfumes". Fragrances at Jovoy are sniffed, not from test strips, but from the stoppers of amber glass bottles sourced from vintage perfumer's equipment. These bottles, claims Hénin, capture a perfume's true scent. "They deliver the heart and base notes without saturating the nose with alcohol."
What makes Jovoy unique is its marvelous mix of hard-to-find vintage perfumes and the most intriguing contemporary creations. Besides the perfumes of the Maison Jovoy, other vintage French brands include Dorin, official perfumer to the Court of Versailles in 1780; Coudray, a romantic line founded in 1822; Isabey, whose sumptuous 1924 scent, Gardénia, has been reissued; Jacques Fath, whose 1930's-era scents have been re-created and packaged in flacons designed by the couturier; and Rancé, Napoleon's favorite perfumer—don't miss the scents created for the emperor and Josephine.
For the contemporary perfumes, Hénin seeks out small companies that use the highest quality raw materials—companies with a strong individual identity whose fragrances are quite different from mass-market perfumes. An example is MDCI, whose original perfumes are fittingly presented in exquisitely sculpted flacons.
The move to the larger shop—the original shop is now closed—has allowed Hénin to expand his offerings; he now carries 60 lines. Some of them, including Clive Christian, Grossmith and Vero Profumo, belong to the family of haute parfumerie: rare perfume extracts with limited production, packaged in artist-designed flacons, with prices that reflect their exclusivity. But Hénin stresses that most of the fragrances carried in his boutique are no more expensive than other scents on the market. "We take great pride in showcasing rare perfumes at prices that are comparable to those of the most widely available fragrances."
The shop also carries scented candles and home fragrances including the complete line of Cire Trudon, and accessories—among them the cleverly designed Sen7 fragrance atomizer, a sleek and shapely objet d'art that slips easily into the smallest purse or pocket and comes in a rainbow of colors.
Plans for the future include the addition of new scented candles and the launch of a new perfume later this year, inspired by the French New Wave cinema of the 1960s.
4 rue de Castiglione, Paris 1st. Métro: Tuileries, Concorde. 01.40.20.06.19. Open Mon–Sat 11 am-7 pm. website
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