Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness – Review: Ginestet Botrytis

By Tara 

I’m interested in alcohol notes in perfume and heard about Botrytis by Ginestet while sampling the Frapin line. Ginestet is a wine producer that has created three perfumes in collaboration with an unnamed Parisian perfumer. One of the three is Botrytis which is named after the “noble rot” – or fungus – that increases the sugar content of grapes. The fragrance is inspired by Ginestet’s dessert wine, Sauternes, and is primarily a honey scent laced with wine.

Honey can be a difficult note in perfume but the honey in Botrytis is smooth, dark and naturalistic, evoking a dripping honeycomb. The published notes are honey, candied fruits, quince, pain d’epice and white flowers but this is clearly not a complete list. The opening is all about the honey and wine, getting sweeter as the candied fruit comes to the fore (think apple, plum, pear). The sweetness is tempered by the alcohol and just a sprinkling of spice, while the heart deepens with what I recognize as a very pleasing tobacco accord. Botrytis dries down to a mildly boozy, vanillic amber.

The fragrance is mellow and golden, conjuring up that bucolic scene in the first stanza of John Keats’s famous poem “To Autumn”.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

It’s not the bonfires and dampness of on-coming winter but the harvest time of early autumn. I see an orchard with a beehive, where fallen fruit begins to ferment in the hazy sun.

Opinions seem to vary as to longevity and the level of sweetness but I find it pleasantly sweet with average longevity and minimal sillage. I haven’t seen the bottle “in person” but apparently the presentation is quite something. It comes in a hand-sewn velvet pouch and the lid is topped with ornamental vine leaves.

Botrytis is a grown-up gourmand. It would be the perfect accompaniment to a day out in the country while sporting a woolly scarf and rosy cheeks, or a cosy night in while sipping a nice glass of wine in front of a log fire.

My sample was purchased from Scent-and-Sensibility Perfume where the 100ml Eau De Toilette is currently £91.

Image source: fragrantica.com,  Autumn Beehive by Wojchiech Gorecki via touchofart.eu
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23 Responses to Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness – Review: Ginestet Botrytis

  1. Ines says:

    At some point I ordered samples of some Ginestet perfumes, this one among them, but I’d say it was too early in my perfume journey and I didn’t really understand it.
    Now you made me want to re-smell it. :)

    (after I find it first) :)

    • Tara says:

      Despite the sweetness, you’re unlikely to encounter anything like this in the mainstream so I can imagine it being challenging for a budding perfumista.

      Hope you find your sample, Ines and that it “clicks” this time round. I’m glad I inspired you to give it another try!

  2. lady jane grey says:

    I had a similar experience with Ginestet as Ines. Since I love and collect wine containing Botrytis (Tokaj & Sauterne) I had big expectations on Ginestet and was quite disappointed. Honestly, some of my wines remind me a perfume, due to their very complex scent & development of aroma… I definitely have to retest (I mean the perfume, of course !)

    • Tara says:

      That’s interesting, I’m not a wine drinker (so I can’t comment on the realism) but I still love alcholic notes in perfume. I recommend you re-test the perfume and wine together :)

  3. Olfactoria says:

    I’m a bit afraid of honey notes (Miel de Bois is to blame for that), but you certainly made me curious to try this one.
    I love the poem, thank you for putting it in.
    Thank you for another awesome review!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, B!

      Now you have made friends with Back to Black I should think you’d be OK with the honey in Botrytis but I’ll send you what’s left of my sample to see.

      Glad you love the poem too, it’s such a classic and I often think of it this time of year.

  4. deeHowe says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Tara, you’ve painted such a beautiful picture:

    ” It’s not the bonfires and dampness of on-coming winter but the harvest time of early autumn. I see an orchard with a beehive, where fallen fruit begins to ferment in the hazy sun.”

    This scenario gives me a thrill of delight. I’ve been wondering about this fragrance for a while–loving both honey, and alcohol notes–and the transportively quality you’ve described fits perfectly with how I imagined it would be.

    Thank you for this lovely review!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks very much, dee, I appreciate the encouragement!

      I’m glad my review fitted with your idea of the perfume and I hope you like it when you get a chance to try it. It’s sweet but I think it’s one of the more wearable honey perfumes out there.

  5. Ari says:

    I’ve seen such great reviews of Botrytis on Makeup Alley. As a gourmand lover, I would really love to try it. Thank you for a lovely review!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Ari! If you are a gourmand lover and not adverse to honey, I think there’s a good chance you’ll like this. It’s too bad it only comes in 100ml though.

  6. vanessa says:

    You captured this scent beautifully, and also the ideal outdoor and indoor scenarios for wearing it. Alicka61 came to our meet in Basel wearing this and I immediately inquired what it was, as it really is most distinctive.

    Now I have never smelt Back to Black but from what I know of it if Olfactoria likes that one, she should be fine with Botrytis. No “icky stewed things” as with certain Serges (to quote Abigail of I Smell Therefore I Am : – ) ).

    • Tara says:

      I’m so pleased you think I’ve captured Botrytis OK, Vanessa, as you know it. I can’t imagine Back to Black being your kind of thing as you are the Queen of Understated Elegance and that stuff is pretty overstated, but I agree that anyone who – like B – is fine with B2B, would be fine with Botrytis.

  7. vanessa says:

    There *are* stewed things, obviously, just not “icky” ones…. : – )

  8. Asali says:

    Tara thank you for this inspiring review and for making me aware of this perfume. It sounds like a must try for me, since I love honey as a note, and yes, that includes Miel de Bois, the big scary honey monster :-)

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Asali, I’m glad I brought this perfume to your attention, especially as you love honey in perfume and are one of the few people that can appreciate the honey monster!

  9. Undina says:

    Tara, it’s a beautiful review. I plan on finding a perfume with a prominent honey note so I’ll definitely put this one on my “to try” list.

    • Tara says:

      Thank-you Undina. Honey is an interesting – if tricky – perfume note, but as long as the sweetness at the start is not too much for you, Botrytis could be a good option. I know you love your wine too!

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