I bet my first experience with pelargoniums — the flower — was like yours. I mistakenly called a pot of vivid red blooms “geraniums” and was promptly corrected. The bright pink and red flowers I’d seen in window boxes and on porches everywhere were pelargoniums. As my non-gradener mind understands it, geraniums are more sedate, with less showy flowers and, sometimes, scented leaves. Pelargoniums are the cheerful annuals sold by the flat at Home Depot.
So, what does this have to do with Aedes de Venustas Pélargonium? Like its namesake, Pélargonium is vibrant, with crisp edges and big presence. A crafty gardener makes sure pelargoniums don’t upstage a carefully constructed woodland garden bed by putting them in pots on the patio. A crafty perfume wearer will do the same with Pélargonium, pairing it with a touch of drama to balance its rich, crystal-sharp notes.
Nathalie Feisthauer developed Pélargonium. Its notes include bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, black pepper, cardamom, rose geranium, hedione, cedar, violet, vetiver, guaiac wood, iris, carrot seed, oakmoss, elemi, ambermax, and musk.
This is the point in a review where I usually describe how a fragrance unrolls on my skin. With Pélargonium, I’m not sure where to start. It’s almost too much at once to pick apart.
Pélargonium vibrates. It’s big, spicy, fruity (but not sweet), and purple with flowers, like a cosmic sorbet. It’s a swirl of tart green citrus, new wood, and a Turkish chef’s spice cabinet — with the window open to the shade garden. It’s the sort of fragrance that makes me a little bit thirsty for an Indian iced tea garnished with jasmine, sitting on a cedar plank table on an August afternoon. And did I mention that it’s big?
Not only does Pélargonium last all day, when most fragrances devolve into a pleasant, slightly sweet warmth, it maintains its crystalline shimmer for hours and hours. It’s built like a fortress. Also, it’s perfectly unisex.
On me, Pélargonium — like its floral counterpart — is fun in small doses. I’d love to smell what it does paired with the kind of charisma that commands a room. On the right personality, Pélargonium could be the olfactory equivalent of a crisp trumpet fanfare. Any monarch worth his salt wouldn’t enter a room without one.
Aedes de Venustas Pélargonium Eau de Parfum is $245 for 100 ml. For information on where to buy it, see Aedes de Venustas under Perfume Houses.