FRAGRANTICA: Rich As Croesus, the New Fragrance by J’Elle Bulan Parfums

by Sergey Borisov

An interesting idea was proposed to Natalie Feistauer by the young French brand J’Elle Bulan Parfums: to create a fragrance that would tell others about untold wealth. The concept may not be the most original – readers of Fragrantica will easily name a dozen perfume brands that used gold, platinum, diamonds (and other precious stones), crystals, and Swarovski crystals to emphasize the beauty of their fragrances. The idea of expressing luxury through perfume is as timeless as human vanity.

For some Arab users, oud oils are powerful, rare, and vintage, bringing a luxurious vibe. Western users go for unique self-expression and prefer the richness of Tom Ford or Roja Dove, Puredistance or Amouage, Chanel or Guerlain fragrances. For the new Parisian Collection presented by J’Elle Bulan Parfums, independent perfumer Nathalie Feistauer created Rich as Croesus, in honor of the ancient legend of the wealth of the Lydian king Croesus (595-547 B.C.).

Caspar van den Hoecke, Kroesus showing his treasures to Solon

We know the legends of his wealth from the Greek accounts of Herodotus and Xenophon, who contrasted righteousness and patriotism with personal enrichment (see the legend of Croesus and Solon). But the reasons for Croesus’ wealth are more straightforward: the Lydian kingdom mined gold and silver on its territory, and Lydia was the first country to have a standard of coins in the form of the royal coat of arms (see below) with a guaranteed amount of precious metal content used in a transparent system of exchange. Croesus taught the Western world about coinage (although the Greeks would argue with the Turks on this point as well), he personified gold and silver, and somehow, the legends of Croesus’ wealth reached us 26 centuries later!

antique silver coin, Lidia

Rich as Croesus is a rich, elegant, and very alluring perfume. It is seductive and breathes luxury. It is not loud or overwhelming but marvelously different from others. This fragrance can complement the image of a rich and refined owner. It is a worthy signature fragrance as it can be worn at any time of the year and on any occasion, but especially on exceptional festive occasions. The versatile fragrance can be worn all year round, but is especially beautiful in spring and in windy weather.” – Brand description.

That’s a description that is far from olfactory, isn’t it? What’s so “rich” about it? Precious oils of oud or sandalwood, natural musk or rose oil, rare flower absolutes, or captive molecules? It’s nothing like that.

rich as Croesus j elle bulan

This is a fantastic fragrance, confounding in its initial freshness, with perfectly articulated bergamot, citrusy and floral. The fresh citrus wave is joined by the white softness of violet and orris ionones. Violets share their sweetness and bring sensations of childish joy; there is a slightly regressive “back to your childhood” mood, connected to Violettes de Toulouse dragees. That’s why the first part feels like a beautiful fresh cologne: clean, white, and sweet.

But then the sweetness takes on a slight resinous hue, becoming softly balsamic and velvety embracing – we find ourselves in the territory of amber fragrances. The ambergris in Rich As Croesus is soft and fluffy – white ermine fur from the robes of European monarchs comes to mind.

charles 3

Since the Middle Ages, white ermine has been associated with the honors of nobility (the Order of the Ermine, the coats of arms of Lower Salda and Saint-Malo) and purity – and I have long observed perfumer Natalie Feistauer creating fragrances in a variety of genres that are distinguished precisely by their (imagined?) whiteness. In this case, I noticed similarities with L’Aimee by MDCI Parfums and Ambre Blanc by Maison Rebatchi, which are equally white, pure, and immaculate. It is impossible to say what shows up as the most prominent note in the base: for me, benzoin, vanilla, sandalwood, and the powdery smell of ambrette seeds – for someone else, Cashmeran and patchouli…

The richness of Rich As Croesus lies in the sense of calm and poise that money can bring. No matter what happens, everything will be fine and won’t be any other way.

rich as croesus j elle bulan

Which fragrance represents untold wealth to you? And what fragrance would you create (or wear) if you became rich like Croesus?

Rich As Croesus is available on the Scent Niche Perfumery website in Extrait de Parfum concentration; a 100ml bottle costs USD 195.

Rich As Croesus J’Elle Bulan Parfums

Top notes: Calabrian bergamot and Black pepper;
Middle notes: Saffron and Iris Root;
Base notes: Amyris, Atlas Cedar, Patchouli, Raspberry, Labdanum, Ambrette, Vanilla, Benzoin, Cashmere Wood, Fir Balsam and Woody Notes.

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