Absolutely Kensington & Chelsea May 2019

Page 71



Spanish Sunshine Discovering the fragrance house of Ricardo Ramos B y M I C H A E L D O N OVA N


was given an uplifting shot in the arm this week when a charming gentleman arrived at the perfumery and proceeded to study the 400 bottles of artisanal fragrances currently on our shelves in the greatest of detail. I had a sneaking suspicion that he may be a fellow scent addict and my instincts were spot on. Ricardo Ramos is creative director of his eponymous fragrance house in Granada and his collection is dedicated to the history, arts and smells of the ancient Spanish kingdom of of Andalusia. Ricardo is an incredibly exuberant olfactory ambassador and totally charming and we were like two excitable children comparing notes. Fortunately for me, he had some samples of his work with him; it was a real privilege to smell them with their creator and learn about their inspiration and the incredible ingredients that he has used. His background is no less fascinating – he is half Columbian and half Spanish and a successful fashion designer too. Incredibly well travelled with qualifications in historic textile conservation, Ramon is also an avid collector of ancient banknotes. This is a man of great passions, which is abundantly apparent in his perfumes. I was going to concentrate on his range of Eau de Parfum, but one Extrait or pure perfume seduced me and I couldn't live without it. Ziryab is my current paramour and I am utterly entranced. It is named after historic polymath Ziryab, of whom it is not known if he was of African, Arabic of Persian origin. His career flourished at the Court of Granada, where he became a renowned musician, fashion designer, mathematician, cosmologist, botanist, composer, poet, singer, meteorologist, chef.... well you get the picture. The man was a genius and I like to think that I am channelling just a little of his talents when I wear this mesmerising combination of Mediterranean notes and Oriental

spices. Mandarin, petit grain and jasmine sparkle at the top, however it is the truly intoxicating heart of mace, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, patchouli and oakmoss over a woody/chypre base that really transports. This is a very strong scent at a high concentration, yet it does not overwhelm but rather envelops one in warm arms - it basically feels like being hugged all day. In terms of sheer elegance, Morayma, dedicated to the last Queen of Granada, is incandescent in its loveliness. White flowers dominate, with gardenia, jasmine and magnolia supported by coriander, guava and fig leaf over sun-dried hay and Tuscan iris root. Zambra is inspired by Flamenco with a throbbing heartbeat of amber, chypre and vetiver crowned with a flourish of bergamot, lemongrass, citronella and basil. LaAurora is dedicated to the scent of incense exuded by the Easter Procession in Granada. This was a early favourite, teamed with two of my favourite ingredients, green violet leaf and zesty bergamot. Add a dash of gurjun balsam, rose and cedar and we have a very sophisticated ambery oriental that lasts the distance. Matcha Nono is the perfect spring scent as its lead note is almond blossom which is light, creamy and full of sunshine. It is also a very interesting cultural melting pot, with Japanese Matcha tea, yuzu and cherry blossom, a touch of Baklava from Turkey and a delicious combination of cinnamon, white chocolate and pistacio. Finally there is La Lindosa, named after the mountain range at the door of the Colombian Amazon jungle. It represents its ancient heritage with a formulation inspired by fragrant offerings to the ancient gods expressed with fruits and aromatic resins. If you are going on holiday, I recommend taking this with you as the combination of passion fruit, coconut, copahu balm and jasmine are gently exotic and will create a scent memory that will last forever. A B S O L U T E LY. L O N D O N

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