Meet the Man Who Bottled the Scent of Leather and Made It Sound Romantic
Louis Vuitton's new perfumier is basically a poet.
He may be the master of creating world-renowned fragrances (think: Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio), but that’s not all Jacques Cavallier Belletrud can do. Turns out the 54-year-old is a master storyteller, too.
During a presentation to introduce Louis Vuitton's seven new perfumes — the brand's first new fragrances in nearly 90 years — on the rooftop of the brand's Rodeo Drive flagship on Wednesday afternoon, Belletrud charmed guests with a detailed explanation of his high-tech extraction technique (a liquid CO2 extraction system exclusive to the French brand, to be precise), his top-secret technology for achieving that perfect Louis Vuitton-leather scent and the lengths he went to in order to find the most exquisite all-natural ingredients for the collection. (For the top-selling Matiere Noire, for example, Belletrud used Agarwood — the extract of which is culled from the dust of mushroom-infected trees in Laos that must be infected for a minimum of 25 years.)
Belletrud continued the story, which was made all the more charming by the fact that he comes from a long line of perfumiers, “So the two of us were together and just surprised by the smell, and my father leaned over and he says, ‘I’m 80 years old and I have been smelling the flowers for 65 years, but this is a beautiful smell. The mix of the two is perfect.’ So, I put the smell in my head, and then I put it in a bottle.”
Each of the seven scents (Rose des Vents, Turbulences, Dans la Peau, Apogee, Contre Moi, Matiere Noire and Mille Feux, now available only at Louis Vuitton boutiques and a few pop-up stores for $240 per 100-milliliter bottle) features a rose base, which also brought to Belletrud’s mind another (very French) anecdote about his mother applying rose oil to his face when he was a child. Several of the scents also include hints of jasmine, which Belletrud notes smells different at all parts of the day ("I left my house at 5:30 the other morning — the fragrance was particularly sensual").
The bottom line? Belletrud is a man who understands that fragrances are more than a list of ingredients; they are emotions. And we'll take a bottle of that anytime.