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.