Every release from luxury French perfumer Henry Jacques represents the quintessence of the maison’s approach to the art — such rare and delicate scents need to be treated with the greatest care, and are presented in containers that match their beauty.
That is why, since its inception, Henry Jacques has been on a quest for flacons worthy of holding the precious fragrances. Every crystal container is conceived, designed and crafted individually, in parallel with the perfume it holds.
This matching of crystal with fragrances has become intrinsic to Henry Jacques. The interdependence of fragrance and flacon adds an emotional dimension to the experience of enjoying great perfume.
Its Les Toupies — “spinning tops” in French — collection best exemplifies this unique approach to form and function, and is unlike anything the industry has seen before. Conceived and developed as complementary pairs, these rare fragrances exist in perfect symbiosis and harmony. Released in a trilogy, they are contained in exquisite flacons designed to express the unique character of each perfume.
Each detail of Les Toupies was pain stakingly created by the maison’s artistic director Christophe Tollemer during the more than three years of development. His challenge was to design a series of flacons that would be multifaceted yet symmetrical, with no central point yet possessed of a stable axis, so that they can safely hold the precious nectars.
Artisans were specially commissioned by Henry Jacques to transform these lines into three-dimensional crystal objects. The containers are made entirely by hand and have multi-faceted patterns like gemstones in order to capture and reflect the light, and evoke the character of the fragrance within.
This first pair, Mr. H and Mrs. Y, epitomise the je ne sais quoi of French elegance — the idea that no matter what happens in life, there is still a certain grace, a style, an effortless beauty. The twin scents also represent a love story, so it is natural that they should be presented as a couple: woman and man; feminine and masculine; softer and stronger. The Mr. H flacon is slightly larger than Mrs. Y’s, the curves of one complementing the other. The fragrances too are reciprocal — depending on the tastes of the owners, they can be for a man or a woman; or simply one more assertive, the other more delicate.
Inventive and avant-garde, Les Toupies’ second pair — No. 16 and No. 81 — are deeply rooted in the principles of classical haute perfumery, yet unconstrained by traditional rules. No. 81 opens with bergamot and the vivid, citrusy presence of grapefruit, then deepens through layers of smoke and wood, where subtle spicy notes add mystery and complexity. Rose de Mai, a pillar of traditional perfumery, lies at the heart of No. 16 but does not impose its presence. Subtle and evocative, it lends warmth and richness to the lively floral opening and honeyed trail.
Galileo’s patchouli notes are filled with strength and poetry. Lavender and Italian mandarin provide a youthful charm while tobacco, myrrh and amber awake a decadent and luxurious side, a yearning for the pleasures of life. Fanfan, meanwhile, is soft and touching, with a rare intensity. While the hint of lavender weaves a subtle link with Galileo, saffron and rose Damascenia carry Fanfan and give it its own character. Despite its complex layers, Fanfan remains a very Parisian perfume by nature, as graceful as it is unpretentious.
Each of the three editions adds its own chapter to the captivating tale of life and romance Henry Jacques is weaving through Les Toupies. Specially created for those with a passion for art and historic French craftsmanship as well as an affinity for the mystical beauty of fragrances, the complete Les Toupies trilogy represents a technical and artistic breakthrough for haute parfumerie.
The six scents in the Les Toupies collection are already exclusive, but Henry Jacques can still up the ante for those who so desire it
Henry Jacques’ expertise is first and foremost in the creation of bespoke perfumes. Much like that of an haute couture house, the history of this maison was built on fragrances tailored for individuals.
Having your very own perfume — a unique trail that you leave behind, a symbol of your identity and an expression of your soul — is truly special. But far from being a simple blend or an adjustment to an existing scent, a bespoke perfume from Henry Jacques is a unique creation that starts from a blank page.
Should you have developed an interest in perfumery and wish to bring your passion to another level, the adventure begins with a consultation, usually at one of Henry Jacques’ eight boutiques, which includes a stunning space in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
Experts will guide you through a maze of scents, and a map of your tastes and emotions will be drawn. The brand’s decades of experience shape the dialogue with each client. Only premium natural components enable Henry Jacques to find the depth and nuances necessary to portray the personality and desires of each client.
If you have yet to visit Henry Jacques’ home in Kuala Lumpur, you should do so soon. The gorgeous 650 sq ft space was conceived and assembled in France, then vacuum-packed and reassembled here. It was a tedious process indeed, but the only way to guarantee uncompromised French craftsmanship. Reflecting the ingredients used in its perfumes, each component of the boutique is of rare quality, from the solid oak structure to gilded finishing touches.
Once the perfume is ready, the brand’s consultants will then define how it should adapt to your lifestyle — in what forms you might wear it and which accessories will accompany it, among other things. The perfume is then given a unique name.
Such an exclusive creation deserves a worthy presentation, and Henry Jacques’ bespoke perfumes are contained in fine flacons and chests that are tailored to your taste.
Every client who accompanies the maison on this sur mesure journey becomes part of its history, safeguarded in its library forever.
This article first appeared on June 22,2020 in The Edge Malaysia.