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Benton Park

Eau de Parfum
Edition of 50

Shawn Maher - Maher Olfactive & Chatillon Lux

Shawn: Benton Park for American Perfumer: Evolving Tradition with Tuberose and Vetiver

For the past year, I’ve been working with Dave on a new perfume. Of course, as two guys who adore vetiver, we spoke about the terroirs and the infinite possibilities of this wildly varied root. Maybe it was the same conversation or one in close proximity, but we also spoke about tuberose. Many times, the absolute always tends to end up in a thick, dense accord, ignoring the uplifting zestiness that one smells when sniffing the air around the flower itself.

In researching headspace analysis of tuberose, which determines the molecules in the air around the actual living flower, it was the exact inspiration I was searching for, this modern technology finding a way to find a new lens through which to view this traditional note. Not reinvented, but to repeat a word, reframed.

More on that process later. But first, why the name Benton Park?

Benton Park is one of my favorite historical neighborhoods in Saint Louis. It sits between my home neighborhood of Marine Villa and the Soulard, the city’s oldest neighborhood (and the location of my studio). The name itself pays homage to Thomas Hart Benton, whose regionalist painting style was inspired by our shared river city hometown.

Funnily enough, among the up-and-coming artists that Benton mentored was Jackson Pollock. This metaphor is perfect for the fragrance: the contrast of old and new, traditionalism vs abstract expressionism. Just like Benton Park, where centuries-old buildings, including the Anheuser-Busch brewery, frame an urban revitalization fueled by new ideas and fresh perspectives. It is a story full of parallels and juxtapositions.

Before we dig into the two accords, I must say that the fulcrum of this fragrance lies completely within methyl benzoate. This material, featured in both tuberose and gardenia, is minty but with a texture you can almost feel with your fingertips when you smell it, one that immediately evokes the same texture that I get from a great vetiver.

However, the two biggest components of this tuberose accord are a bright, citrus zesty note and a cold, spearmint note augmented by a small dose of blue gum eucalyptus. To fill out the accord further, I used then an onslaught of notes to create the fleshy, fruity body of the tuberose without weighing it down. Finally, I added some green notes found in the headspace along with some of my own expression (violet leaf absolute, amongst others), then a spicy kick filled out with a creamy vanilla touch.

The vetiver accord, however, is based on three vetivers. A double distilled vetiver smooths out all the rough edges of the vetiver, creating a rich, elegant base. Vetiver from India creates more of a woody, green note, while the earthy grassiness of Haitian vetiver gives it a stronger top note and bridges the gap to the tuberose perfectly.

And finally, a trio of musks ground the whole thing and gives it levity.

I truly believe this is a perfume lover’s perfume. One that appeals to students of the history of perfume, or really one for those who love vetiver, love pushing art beyond the possibilities of artificial constraints and one that can redefine what tuberose can be, who wears it and how it is perceived.

Dave: A novel tuberose and vetiver design that captures the essence of the living flower and the ground that it grows from, and perfectly showcases the invigorating power and layered complexity of it's featured notes.

Benton Park Notes: Tuberose, Vetiver.


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