T E N D E R // Miller Harris
A few weeks ago, I went along to the beautiful launch of two upcoming fragrances from Miller Harris, Scherzo and Tender. Sarah Rotheram, CEO of Miller Harris, was inspired by a passage she had read, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Tender is the Night', the perfect fragrance brief. Inspired by a book of contrasts, of passion and innocence, Scherzo and Tender are two sides of the same coin, emotionally interpreted by two perfumers.
Tender is the creation of Bertrand Duchaufour, one of my all-time favourite perfumers (along with Dominique Ropion), who spoke to me about how the passage inspired him. Bertrand was drawn to three of the flowers mentioned in the passage; peonies, black tulips and mauve stemmed roses. He told me he wanted to capture both the light and dark of the passage, and tried to capture a feeling of melancholy, like ink on old books.
Tender is a wonderfully beguiling fragrance, and perfectly conveys Bertrand's vision. It opens with a whoosh of aldehydes and a peppery, green note, a welcoming light before the descent into darkness. The opening notes also have a kind of 'nutty' feel, to my nose, which I've noticed in another of Bertrand's creations, Trayee by Neela Vermeire. Tender becomes melancholic pretty quickly, it transforms into a strangely dusty abstract floral with a dry saffron note, where none of the flowers are particularly identifiable. The impression of ink took me by surprise, as it feels worn and old, rather than freshly written. The drydown is warm and cozy, smoky frankincense and just the right amount of patchouli, to add a grounding earthiness.
In Tender, Bertrand has created such a beautiful interpretation of the passage from the book, without being literal. This strange little oddity of a fragrance may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has an almost ugly beauty, like finding a flower dried between the dusty pages of an old book.
Both Tender and it's counterpart, Scherzo, will be launching in January. Thanks to Miller Harris for putting on such a wonderful multi-sensory event which meant I could meet one of my perfume idols! Even if it was to fan girl massively and probably scare him a little. 😉