Perfumes are more than just a treat for the olfactory senses; many studies have shown that fragrances take a direct route to the amygdala and hippocampus, which are regions of the brain related to emotion and memory. Similarly, art in its various forms like painting, music and literature is said to be capable of eliciting certain emotions in us. To encapsulate the best moments of the human condition, Guerlain taps into the power of perfumes as a medium for recollection or creating new positive emotions. And to effectively do that, it has nurtured a close relationship with the art world since its founding in 1828.
Generations of perfumers from the luxury Parisian house have been inspired by avant-garde artists of their time to enhance many of the brand’s offerings. In 2005, Guerlain’s Haute Parfumerie debuted the Exceptional Pieces and L’Art & La Matière collections to cement its connection to the artistic world. For the former, “Guerlain pursues, ever-brilliantly, its mission as a patron of contemporary artists and artisans”, where only a limited run of its creations are ever-made. The latter “features olfactory masterpieces inspired by the emotions evoked by works of art”.
It is this passion for the art that Guerlain has unveiled its partnership with Maison Matisse, a design house founded by the great-grandson of Henri Matisse, the famed 20th-century artist. For 2023, Guerlain presents the Bee Bottle Maison Matisse Edition. As part of the Exceptional Pieces, the one-litre bottle is an exclusive design inspired by one of Henri Matisse’s artworks, “La Musique” (1939). Only 14 unique bottles were painted under the deft hands of artist Astrid de Chaillé.
As Guerlain’s iconic bottle design, the Bee Bottle also celebrates its 170th anniversary in 2023, making the Bee Bottle Maison Matisse Edition even more meaningful. Entirely hand-painted and takes about 12 hours to complete, the bottle “combines all the sense of rhythm and colour found in the original painting (La Musique), taking its signature motifs set against a deep blue background and applying them using form and colour that reflect the refined aesthetics of Maison Matisse’s creations.”
Moving on to the scent, if La Musique could have a scent then the Bee Bottle Maison Matisse Edition would be its embodiment. Guerlain calls the scent “Couleur Bonheur”, which means “the colour of happiness” in French. The original painting’s vibrancy is telegraphed through three movements, like a piece of classical music: Allegro vivace, Allegro Espressivo and Allegro andante. Overall a fruity chypre, the perfume opens with bergamot notes that slowly give way to an apricot accord blended with rose. Lastly, the heart note is that of the iris contrasts harmoniously with hints of leather. An olfactory melody ready to seduce, the Bee Bottle Maison Matisse Edition epitomises painting, music and perfumery.
The Bee Bottle Maison Matisse Edition are all signed and numbered, and for the Singapore market, the number “8” has been chosen as it is an auspicious digit. Only one unit is available in Singapore, and you can get it for S$23,600.
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