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Insider's Water, a poorly kept secret

January 3 2018

Insider's water, aptly named. This men's fragrance was originally designed for the intimates of the Exemplaire clothing brand. Recently marketed, in a confidential way, he explores the codes of classic perfumery, while indulging in myrrh, in overdose mode. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.


to the insider. A nice fragrance name to start the year. Maybe a bit out of the ordinary, but I like the idea that a brand of perfumes chooses the lowest common denominator, while others do the opposite.

An initiate is someone who has been taught a secret, who knows what others do not know. But to learn perfume, you have to feel, a lot, and let your heart speak.

Smell and hearing are the first of the senses. We taste and we see after. The smell is reminiscent of the first days. There is a form of "I remember" that springs when you smell a perfume for the first time. We like it or not, depending on what we know. But a nose is like everything, it is educated. He educated himself on the sideways of perfumery, where perfumers dare other agreements than the most consensual of the moment.

Exemplaire is a brand of clothing that was created in 2012 by Jean-Victor Meyers (the great-grandson of the founder of L'Oréal and who was appointed the same year administrator of the cosmetic empire) and Louis Leboiteux. A brand like a cloakroom old schoolcomposed of minimalist pieces, made in beautiful materials and voluntarily unrecognizable. "We launched the brand with a line of cashmere and leather goods for men. Then we developed the line of clothing in the idea of ​​a lifestyle for men explains Jean-Victor Meyers. What was important to us was the quality, the beauty of the materials and the craftsmanship. We wanted to offer a line very upscale and at the same time simple, discreet, not "did you see me". Clothes for a man who likes beautiful things, but who buys them for him first and foremost. "

The idea of ​​perfume came a little later, about three years ago. "In the same way that we develop clothes that we would like to wear, we wanted to create a fragrance for friends at home and for the family," said Jean-Victor Meyers. We did not intend to market it initially. Gradually, we initiated a small number of friends, who did the same. And we decided to distribute it very selectively, in some outlets, because the perfume is something very personal: we do not want to wear everyone's one. "

For their first fragrance, the partners did not want to rush on the perfumed motorways too congested. They chose the national, the departmental, the local roads. Where their olfactory universe can flourish in freedom. A universe interpreted by the perfumer Christophe Raynaud.

The meeting took place in Paris in the Rue Saint-Honoré shop. The perfume? Rather masculine, or feminine boyish way, in line with the fragrances of the 1920 years, Russian leather or Tobacco Blond, but without these connoted notes of another century. Insider's Water is not water, with its overdose of delectable myrrh, notes of iris, incense, pink pepper, ambrox. And I realize that in enumerating these raw materials, I say nothing of the preciousness of this perfume, immediately adoptable and adopted.

IC: Creating the first fragrance of a clothing brand is both a risk-taking and a great opportunity.
Christophe Raynaud: What's interesting, with a brand like this, is to be able to work differently. We are very free in the creation, we do not have to test, we do not have to put fruity notes, to add notes greedy. I do not complain about having to do it for other brands, but this is a different exercise that makes me feel good. This allows me to go for ultra-noble materials, because there is no price limit in a project like this.

You had received a brief?
No. I knew the brand and it had to look like the perfume: sober, aesthetic, elegant. I had carte blanche. The idea was just to do something remarkable with beautiful raw materials.

In the list of these matters it is ambergris. Did you use natural ambergris?
No, it has become a very complicated subject to use, with regard to all animal protection initiatives. Only a few rare houses still use it. I used ambrox *.

We feel notes a little "suede" like velvety suede in this fragrance.
Yes it is normal: it is the associations of raw materials such as myrrh, myrrhone **, patchouli, which give this effect a little leather.

What was your olfactory proposal?
I proposed to work around an overdose of myrrh, pepper and incense, very noble raw materials. Myrrh is not easy, so it is generously rounded with iris concrete that gives the fragrance a touch of femininity, while incense gives it a touch of masculinity.

Myrrh has a religious, spiritual connotation, even if it was not your intention ...
If, at first when, I created the first chord, there was a spiritual idea behind this perfume. I had called it "Myrrh Line". Myrrh, frankincense was used, but gold was not possible (laughs). When you have no limit, neither financial nor of any other kind, so much to enjoy! We can work around spirituality. This is also the perfume!

It's as if you are returning to the origins of perfumery: the "per fumum" ***!
That's exactly it: "By the smoke".

Evoking the spiritual dimension of a perfume is a discussion that is difficult to have in the world of perfumery today!
Our job as a creative perfumer revolves around this, even when working for major brands. Initially, when we create chords, they are always spiritual, philosophical. I always leave ultra creative notes, ultra noble, then transform them, to do something more or less commercial, depending on brands.

Is it the word "Initiate" that brought you on this path of incense?
Yes. It's beautiful as a name! A little cloudy, too. I was lucky to find two perfume lovers. I immediately understood that we had to go to beautiful noble raw materials, in excess.

On sale exclusively at the Exemplaire store at 334, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris.

* Ambrox is a synthetic raw material obtained in laboratory based on sclareol, an extract of clary sage. This molecule, which is used as a base note and has a fixing power, has woody, mineral and animal notes, and is used to replace the floated ambergris, the sperm secretion that societies dare not use anymore.

** Myrrhone is a molecule developed and produced by Firmenich, a derivative of myrrh and iris.

*** Per fumum: In ancient times, aromatic essences were burned in order to get closer to the divinities "by smoke", per fumum, hence the name "perfume".