Femme by Rochas : Roasted plums with cardamom, cinnamon and osmanthus

[My MADELEINE] Do you know  Femme by Rochas? This fragrance is still considered by most parfumers as a masterchief they would have loved to create, along with Mitsouko by Guerlain. Both of them opened the path to a whole olfactive family : the fruity chypres.

Now with all the launches happening, Rochas has lost its share of voice…While its current reformulated version overpowered by cumin does not serve it well. Sadly this may  not help its revival…

Still there is a legend behind the curtains…

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Created in 1944 par Edmond Roudnitska (author of most fragrances for Christian Dior) for Marcel Rochas , this fragrance was conceived around a soft and dense plum note (méthyl-ionone). Unique and audacious this fragrance was launched  after the war and was right away acclaimed by the most refined women of Paris.

In 1989 Olivier Cresp (creator of Angel by Mugler) revamped the fragrance. The objective was to rejuvenate it  so as to please younger women. Technically this formula is shorter and contains more bergamot to push freshness. At the same time and curiously this version seems to be the oldest one : the way rich and noble raw materials have been embedded speak of the golden age of classic parfumerie. I am totally hooked by this formula because all ingredients are harmoniously blended. No dissonance. No loud spice calling for attention. It is a very captivating and elegant translation of sheer elegance combined with sensuality. Such a pitythat the current version had to erase this wonderful recomposition..

A vintage olfactive session.. I was lucky enough to join an outstanding olfactive session led by auparfum.com  last week. We had a 3-hour session evaluating 20 iconic French fragrances, comparing the original versus current formulation. Amongst them was Femme by Rochas…Immerging ourselves in the core of fragrance creation and sharing perspectives on sensorial creative paths with such experts was total pure bliss!

Back home I browsed my library and picked some books about Femme (Parfums de légende, Le livre du parfum, Une vie au service du parfum par E. Roudnitska). I also found in my collection a small sample dating back to the 90’s (the Olivier Cresp version) and started to wander…

Roasted plums: I woke up this morning and wanted to bake something inspired by Femme. With the plums season starting, this was the perfect timing. I roasted the plums in a caramel spiced up with cinnamon and cardamom. I sprinkled some osmanthus petals  for a very fruity and sexy aroma. I served with a osmanthus and earl grey (bergamot) cream …

 

rochas3Like a fragrance, this dessert aroma will evolve with time. After baking the plums became blond .. and some hours later they became purple. If you can resist, save some for the day after. All aromas will have infused perfectly…

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Recipe for 4

1 pound of plums, 120 g de sucre+ 1 tbsp, 250 g of flour, 100g +25 g of butter , 3 cardamom seeds, 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon, osmanthus petals

For the cream :  30 cl of almond milk, 1 tbsp of earl grey tea, 1 ss of osmanthus petals, 1 egg, 2 tbsp of tapioca starch, 2 ss of spicy caramel diluted in water

Crust : I sweetened it with the spicy caramel that I prepared first and to which I added 25 g of butter. Add all ingredients for the crust. Bake it 15′ in the oven at medium temperature. Then set the plums cut in quarter. Sprinkle with the diluted caramel et some osmanthus petals. Pursue the baking for 20 minuts. 

Cream : Infuse the osmanthis and earl grey in the almond mild. Filter. Add the egg yolk, sugar and tapioca; Let simmer until desired consistancy. 

Enjoy! I hope you will get to sniff this fragrance (and if possible in the original versions). Come back and tell me what you think!

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