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Iroaz – Unforgettable - May 25, 2012 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - one-off - Lostmarc'h stone cottage, Morgat, Brittany

I saw the name on a blog, and it seemed like I should know it. Lostmarc’h - an odd name - why did it sound familiar? I hit the google button….

What came up first was Lostmarc’h - a line of niche perfumes and cosmetics, created by Antoine Vuillermet, made in Brittany, France. Listed second was the name of a famous beach and tiny village in Brittany, at the very tip of the Crozon peninsula on the Northern coast of France. I followed the link and read all about Lostmarc’h (pronounced as Lostmarr), the most western beach in continental Europe, a highly protected area of natural beauty and ancient history. Only a handful of authentic stone cottages enjoy the ocean vista - new construction has been forbidden for many decades. It’s where Vuillermet spent his childhood, and I realized I might even have been there, driving and camping along that remarkable coast of Northern France a lifetime ago when I was young and looking for adventure.

The original six Lostmarc'h fragrances, launched in 2007, were inspired by the rugged coastal landscapes defined by the boundary of earth and ocean at Lostmarc’h – moors, dunes, grass, flowers, seaweed, rocks, ocean. Each scent represents a unique feature of the area, and carries the ancient Breton name which describes it. Two scents have since been added to the Lostmarc’h series, and according to the website, all are sourced and created from the highest quality ingredients, and distributed in limited numbers. The line has very narrow distribution in France – now there’s a store in Paris in the Le Marais district  - but almost no retail presence in North America, so it’s really hard to find bottles to buy, let alone sniff. 

I was stunned when I saw Lostmarc’h for sale in a store here a while ago, so I bought a bottle of Iroaz before I could even say Mastercard. Iroaz means “rose” in Breton, and ohhhh, what a rose it is!

Iroaz is a salty rose, and it’s just beautiful, right from the very top. The opening accord is green rose mixed with ocean air, so interesting and different that the more I smell it, the more I want to smell it. It’s quite linear, but as Iroaz expands into the dry-down, there’s a hint of powdery iris which stops the marine notes from overpowering, and the rose notes from oversweetening.  In the far dry-down, Iroaz has become a softly peppery rose with a hint of berries, still married with the wild salt-air vibe which my nose loves. This juice loves me back, and lasts and lasts, so that by the end of the day I still catch wafts of this gorgeous scent, each one is as lovely as the last.

How would I describe Iroaz?  It is definitely not a lying-in-the-sun, working-on-my-tan beachy frag. This is the smell of a warm summer day at a northern seashore, when the natural perfume of wild roses carries on the sea breeze, and mixes with aromas of long dune grass, seaweed drying on the rocks, and wild berry bushes growing on the cliffs. Green-grassy, salty, fresh-floral, natural, untamed. Different. Chic. FBW. Unforgettable.

I found a box of photos in a bottom drawer on the weekend, including the album from my travels in Europe all those years ago. Flipping through, I found a shot taken on a road above a long wide beach with pounding surf. Written on the back - yup, you guessed right – “Lostmarc’h, Bretagne”. Now that I think back to that place and that day, I remember having an adventure there. He took the picture, but I’ve forgotten his name…….

Iroaz is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.