Paying homage to the Middle East, Louis Vuitton’s latest fragrance, Les Sables Roses, explores the relationship between two of the region’s most intoxicating ingredients…
Louis Vuitton have revealed its latest creation inspired by the olfactory heritage of the Middle East. The master perfumer behind the brand’s latest fragrance Les Sables Roses, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, set out to capture in a bottle, the very essence of Arabia. A challenging quest, it would lead him to the legendary ingredients rose and oud, a hot-and-cold composition inspired by the rhythm of the desert, and the makings of Louis Vuitton’s latest creation.
Here, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud exclusively speaks to MOJEH about his connection to the Middle East, the new fragrance and why he’s grooming his daughter as the next nose of the maison…
What’s your connection to the Middle East?
I’ve been coming quite often because this area is really very inspiring for me. Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman; I have been working with these areas for a long time and I have always admired the traditions of perfumes in the region – which is much more ancient than us. People here have more experience with perfumes than us.
Why launch a fragrance specifically for the Middle East?
It is more the inspiration of the Middle East. My goal is to promote this very specific style of perfumes around the world. It’s more a tribute to the Arabic perfumery rather than a specific perfume for the region.
How long did it take to develop the scent?
This one took almost two years.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Roses were born in Arabia, they’ve always been a part of the culture of the Middle East. I’ve constantly found in them a similarity to the female character: mild yet spicy, fruity and definitely full of contrasts. Also, my mother would apply rose water on my face when I was a child every morning. So, for me the rose really is the symbol of femininity in perfumes.
Do you have a specific rose that you love more than the others?
I love the May rose from Grasse. It is a unique rose that grows in May. [It’s] very flowery but a bit spicy as well. The rose oil coming from Turkey or Bulgaria are top notes, and they are quite volatile. I combined the two.
How have you captured the essence of the Middle East in Les Sables Roses?
It was a long journey making this new fragrance, one that started some 25 years ago, when nobody was interested in working in this area. I came to the region and met a lot of Sheikhs in Saudi Arabia who specialise in oud production and they taught me everything I needed to learn about oud. I have always been amazed by the personality of the perfumes that Arab women wear. They’re always layering and mixing scents to create a unique signature, and that’s what I tried to capture, all those different tones. I remember as a young boy, walking down the Croisette in Cannes and smelling this mesmerising scent as these beautiful Arab women walked past. I found it so mysterious, sensual and feminine
You’re grooming your 19-year-old daughter as the next nose. Can you tell us about this?
She’s passionate. She will be the fifth generation and the first woman in our family. I am very proud of her. My job is to reveal to her all the personalities of becoming a creator.
Louis Vuitton’s new fragrance, Les Sables Roses, will be available from April 18, 2019, at Louis Vuitton, The Dubai Mall.
- Words by Dina Kabbani