I have often wondered why we all enjoy traveling so much. In particular, this activity is on most people’s agenda and represents a fashionable hobby. One can say that seeing other places, opens for us new horizons, new perspectives, improves our state of mind and inspires us in our daily endeavors. It also creates a residual joy that we carry with us, after the travel has ended, a fountain of memories (hopefully pleasant ones), to last us a lifetime or until the next best thing comes along.
For others, traveling is just an emotional “getaway car”. Running from place to place, sometimes gives the impression that we leave our problems behind, and we get to live – even for a little while – “carefree”… In reality, this is not happening because “wherever you go, there you are”… I guess, we can’t hide from whatever is troubling our heart and soul, it is always following us everywhere, no matter how far we go.
Running away is also a form of “escapism”, encompassing the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by traveling or engaging in fantasy. Since life is innately stressful, coping strategies are essential to making it through each day and travel can be a coping skill.
My travels are as magical as they get because their purpose is to discover everything that’s worth discovering: new fragrances, exciting brands, creative people, fascinating landscapes, cultural treasures, delicious cuisine, historical sites, art in all its forms.
During my most recent travel to Paris, this month, I was lucky enough to meet an extraordinary brand and, I must say, it was “love at first encounter”. Voyages Imaginaires, established in 2020 by perfumer Isabelle Doyen and Creative Director Camille Goutal, is a brand whose name immediately transports you into a dream world. Both Isabelle and Camille are known as the team behind Annick Goutal Parfums. Their new brand encapsulates the tradition and know-how of legendary Anick Goutal fragrances and the modernity of present-day perfumery.
Voyages Imaginaires is entirely committed to sustainability, in total respect for the environment in all the perfume compositions, including bottles, packaging, leaflets, etc. This is a true act of courage and bravery because the decision to work with exclusively natural raw materials reduces the perfumer’s palette. This choice to go natural is the philosophy of a new perfumery trend, more responsible, and more complex to create.
In my opinion, this philosophy is also an excellent selling point of this brand because, after the pandemic inferno, more and more people have turned towards nature, sustainability, and Earth protection principles. So, I have no doubt that Voyages Imaginaires will resonate with perfume lovers and consumers who are showing an increased interest in natural products.
Isabelle Doyen is a celebrity in her own right in the world of perfumers, a fascinating mix between a scientist and a dreamer with exquisite taste and limitless imagination. She entered fiercely in my personal “book of fabulousness” because of “Nuit de Bakélite”, a sublime, mysterious perfume that she created for Naomi Goodsir.
Isabelle is a teacher at ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l'aromatique alimentaire), a prestigious school for post-graduate studies in perfumery. This proves not only her talent but also her generosity in sharing her knowledge with future perfumers. She trained, Francis Kurkdjian and Mathilde Laurent and from the age of 26 she worked for Annick Goutal, showing a remarkable loyalty and friendship to her brand.
Isabelle has a contrasting personality, with classic touches alternating with more modern approaches. Memory plays an important role in her life and professional activity. She once declared that “looking back, all my most important memories are olfactory.” Her most famous creations include L'Antimatière and Turtle Vetiver for Les Nez, and Ce Soir ou Jamais, designed together with Annick Goutal.
Camille, the daughter of Annick Goutal, a stunning beauty with blue eyes, is “like a niece” to her and they both joined forces for the creation of Voyages Imaginaires. Camille Goutal was a decoration and studio photographer before turning to the perfume business. She “uses all her senses at once” and she has a “very visual approach to creation”. With Isabelle, she has created many perfumes for Goutal, including Songes, Mon Parfum Chéri and Ambre Fétiche, which she is particularly fond of.
Voyages Imaginaires as a brand, marked its debut with five fragrances: Azahar, La Couleur de la Nuit, L'Echappée Sauvage, Le Grand Jeu and Tea & Rock'n'Roll. The fragrances making up this collection are truly remarkable creations, and they are inspired by journeys, real or imaginary, which take us back to cherished memories and dreamy landscapes.
Azahar, or the orange tree in Hispanic Arabic, was inspired by “a Moroccan roof at the end of the day”, when the orange trees are playing their symphony. This fragrance, despite its freshness and delicate notes of mandarin, is also a daring gourmet fed by vanilla, with surprising hints of bergamot and tuberose.
La Couleur de la Nuit is the reminiscence of a mysterious night in an Asian city, illuminated by red lanterns and fluorescent neon lights. The scent allures you with the freshness of lavender only to hit you later with delicious, fast vanishing vanilla. Some consider this perfume “an aromatic fougere” which only adds to the fascination. Bergamot and patchouli play a secondary but important role in this exceptional composition.
L'Echappée Sauvage was inspired by a visit to an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The experiences are revealed in a combination of cedar wood and tonka bean, and the tangy freshness of bergamot and lemon. An oriental floral fragrance which includes fig, almond, narcissus, clary sage and guaiac, L'Echappée Sauvage brings all the enchantment and solar beauty of the sea.
Le Grand Jeu is a powdery marvel, softly developing in a sumptuous dance of white flowers (tuberose and gardenia). The coconut milk, combined with vanilla brings a special kind of magic always associated with holidays and the seaside. This scent will make heads turn in the daytime but mostly when the evening falls, as it is soft and airy but also intriguing and attractive.
Tea & Rock'n'Roll “is the fragrance of the modern-day dandy, both chic and crazy”. The smoky aspect of bergamot combined with a dash of green citrus is a bit misleading because, in the end, leather and tonka bean take over, in a “grand finale” worthy of a modern-day drama.
At the end of a sunny, hot day, when all is said and done, we are left with memories. Traveling is the best way to escape the changing parameters of our lives, the painful obligations, the expanding responsibilities, and the demands of our “picture-perfect” relationships…
Whether these travels or just “voyages imaginaires” bring us peace or the desired excitement is debatable. What I know for sure is that this brand is something you should experience because it will certainly bring you joy and delight. Your senses will be awakened, your wish for purposeful beauty will be activated, and your olfactive experience will be memorable.