When my friend Maryann opened the door to greet me, she said, “You smell nice! At least it must be you, since nothing out front is in bloom yet.” It was late April and not even lilacs or lilies of the valley bloomed, let alone roses. But standing in the doorway I knew Maryann recognized the faint fragrance of an early summer garden in the morning, because I wore Parfum d’Empire Eau Suave Eau de Parfum.
In 2003, Marc Antoine Corticciato, the perfumer behind Parfum d’Empire, created Eau Suave in homage to Josephine’s Chateau de Malmaison, famed for its gardens including 250 varieties of rose. In an article on Malmaison, Princess Michael of Kent wrote that roses were a natural for Josephine:
Josephine was christened Marie-Joséphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie and she would be known as “Rose” from her birth until the day when the young General Bonaparte (who made a habit of changing women’s names) began a letter with: “Sweet and incomparable Josephine. I awake full of you and of the memory of our intoxicating night…” From that moment she would enter history as Josephine.
Pretty cheeky of Napoleon to change her name, but I guess you don’t get to rule most of Europe without being at least a little domineering…