Stepping Into the Past with Volnay Parfums

Posted on 21 July 2016


It is a fact admitted by her own grandchildren themselves that no one would have thought that Germaine Madeline Duval was going to become the founder of a perfume dynasty when she started Volnay Parfums in 1919. Hugely successful during the art deco period, the fragrances were the scent of the era and were often presented in Baccarat crystal bottles and other highly beautiful containers which have become highly collectible.

Unfortunately Volnay all but disappeared throughout the latter half of the 20th century, that is until Germaine’s grandchildren Muriel and Madeline Olivier decided that the perfumer should have a renaissance. Teaming up with their “nose” Amelie Bourgeois, Muriel and Madeline have reinterpreted the original essences of the famous Volnay perfumes of the 1920s, examining samples preserved in the International Conservatory of Perfumes, the Osmotheque in Versailles. Identifying the main essences in these exquisite scents, the family behind Volnay have reproduced the scents with a contemporary twist, bringing the past to the present for the modern woman. Below we look at how some of their most iconic creations have been reinterpreted.

Scent City: Volnay Etoile D’Or, £120

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One of the most popular scents in Paris during the interwar period, Volany’s Etolie D’Or has been painstakingly recreated to absolute precision, providing the modern day with an insight into what the essence of the Paris of the past must have been.

Designed for both men and women who have a certain level of flair, the perfume is characterised by its oriental floral tones, a melange of aromas that was at the peak of popularity during the early 20th century and has once more become a covetable scent in the tastes of today. Beginning with a splash of zesty bergamot and heady lavender, the scent then evolves into an opulent floral harmony of Turkish rose and jasmine before simmering into a lingering trail of tonka bean, cloves and vanilla.

A refined perfume that takes the senses on a journey through the past, Etoile D’Or is sensuous and dramatic, a fitting scent for those who wish to make their own mark on history.

Scent City: Volnay Perlerette, £120

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Much like its namesake the pearl, Perlerette is a well rounded and shimmering fragrance, one which balances fruity and floral tones throughout. Created with ingredients that are predominantly gathered from South America, Perlerette evokes an important part of the heritage of Volnay as Germaine Madeline herself lived in South America during her lifetime.

A powdery and floral fragrance that is well suited to women who like to embrace their femininity, Perlerette has a tropical touch of bergamot and pink pepper running through, a fruity note that summons images of the sun soaked landscape of South America. A bouquet of floral accords form the heart and soul of this perfume, and one ingredient called ambrette (a seed from a rare variety of hibiscus flower) particularly shines through, its remarkably fruity nuance felt for hours after application.

Scent City: Volnay Yapana, £120

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One of Germaine’s own personal favourites, Yapana was named by the founder in memory of an aromatic plant which is famed for its medicinal properties which she knew from her experiences living in Latin America. A warm and powerful perfume that has a comforting allure, Yapana is also one of Volnay’s perfumes that combines a large amount of rare and unusual ingredients to achieve its signature scent.

Golden Stone and Green Vanilla give this fragrance a particularly earthy and herbaceous presence, summoning an unusual effect which helps the perfume feel entirely modern despite its heritage. An oriental leathery scent tinged with warm breaths of amber give the aroma a luxurious glimmer, the slight zing of bergamot and pink grapefruit riding atop of the core tones of ylang ylang and rose to form a complex yet irresistible enigma. Finishing with an elegant miasma of patchouli, iris and rice, Yapana cements itself as an exotic yet familiar experience, a scent that feels like a faraway land as much as it feels like home.

Scent City: Volnay Objet Celeste, £120

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Though Volnay have a distinct historical flair, it does not mean that the perfumer is a stranger to the more modern side of fragrance. Granted, they're detached from trends and passing crazes yet one of their creations, Objet Celeste, is unmistakably modern.

Opening with electrifying chords of patchouli, Objet Celeste is a perfume that’s difficult to not lose yourself in, the constellation of dreamy scents forming a rich galaxy that is different every time. A light almond trail and floral notes create a magical path through the perfume, bursts of jasmine and peony flourishing against a tantalising mixture of sage and musk. A perfume that is as intriguing as the moonlight it’s named after, Objet Celeste is the ideal scent for women who enjoy a touch of modern mystique.

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