Provenance: Maison Louis Marie
Pretty much every day at The Hambledon is a good mail day, but Monday was a particular highlight. After a long journey from downtown LA, Maison Louis Marie arrived to much anticipation and managed to wow us all within minutes.
We’ve opened some sweet smelling boxes in our time but this delivery literally wafted into store, displacing every lesser particle on the ground floor with some beautifully complex and delicate floral notes. And then there’s the packaging; so simple, so very elegant. It comes as no surprise then that the fancy French name is no marketing gimmick, and there’s a story here much further flung than the fragrance labs of downtown LA.
It starts in 1792 with Louis Marie Aubert du Petit Thouars, a pioneer in French botanical history. During the French revolution, he was exiled to Madagascar, La Reunion and Mauritius where he discovered a huge variety of plant specimens. After ten years he returned to France bearing a collection of over 2000 plants and was promptly elected a member of the prestigious Académie des Sciences.
Fast forward 200 years and Marie du Petit Thouars grew up in Belgium and France making candles and experimenting with scents in her mother’s greenhouse. She then embarked on a career in fashion, initially working for Isabella Blow and later becoming a fashion editor in London for The Sunday Times. Her next move was to LA to study fine art photography, eventually opening a studio, 1294 Sunset, where she went on to launch Maison Louis Marie in 2013.
Combining her lifelong interest in fragrance with respect for her family’s rich botanical history, the Maison Louis Marie line is centered around unique floral fragrances inspired by Marie’s childhood memories. While she has no formal training as a perfumer, the subtlety and delicacy of the fragrances are testament to a great deal of time, care and talent, and the slow and methodical process of building a scent that she describes.
No. 4 Bois de Balincourt combines sandalwood with subtle notes of cedar wood, vetiver, nutmeg and cinnamon to recall the smell of her family estate outside of Paris, and specifically the smell of the surrounding forests after heavy rain. While No. 10 is spicy yet floral, inspired by the site where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. Ancestor Louis Marie also makes an appearance, on the boxes of each candle. Drawings penned while in exile, capturing the Dryorkis Antidris Thouars orchid which he discovered and named.
All of it, perfection from start to finish, and we couldn’t be happier to be one of only a few stockists here in the UK; their candles, rollerball perfumes and luxe hand washes, making a final icing on the cake kind of addition to our new look bath and beauty department.