By  on February 6, 2017

The idea of aphrodisiac love potions may seem fictitious, but French fragrance house Sous le Manteau has used historic texts and precise recipes to bring the concoctions to the modern world.“They’re based on unique potions,” said Olivia Bransbourg, artistic director of Sous le Manteau, at the fragrance house’s pop-up shop at The Pierre Hotel on Friday. “We wanted really to have perfumes with recipes that have monastic discipline because those herbs, since the ancient times, were characterized for their virtues.”Sous le Manteau, which translates to under the cloak, came together with the help of historic medicinal books from 19th-century France. These books documented the ways monasteries would cultivate herbs and plants and included formulas for herbal remedies meant to cure illnesses. Along with these medications the texts included secret recipes on how to arouse desire, which were all preserved within the religious order. The fragrance house took these “love potions,” replicating them down to every ingredient and adding a modern touch thanks to perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer.“It was in our interest to see how these perfumes of desire could be modernized into the world in which we live today,” Bransbourg continued. “We gave [Feisthauer] the five recipes, but decided that we would only launch when it would be ready. After a few months and a few versions of it, we fell in love.”The original recipes, which include ingredients like vanilla and saffron, are included with each fragrance to show the exact measurements within each potion. Feisthauer enhanced the recipes with ingredients like bergamot, jasmine and sandalwood to appeal to the modern consumer.Opening to the public on Monday Feb. 6, The Pierre Hotel pop-up shop includes all five of Sous le Manteau’s fragrances: Poudre Impériale, Fontaine Royale, Cuir d’Orient, Essence du Sérail and Vapeurs Diablotines. Sous le Manteau is scheduled to keep the shop open until Feb. 20, but may extend their residency at the hotel. The fragrances, which each have a concentration of 18 percent, are available in a 50-ml. bottle for $120 and a 100-ml. bottle for $180. In France, the collection will be exclusively sold at Printemps.For a personal touch, the fragrance house offers customers what they call a “love test” to see which fragrance fits their desires. The test can be taken on its web site or in store.“We didn’t want to try to create a new story from scratch,” Bransbourg said. “We really wanted to keep in the tradition of history and the books that were given to us.”

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