““In springtime, gods dwell in Tipasa, speaking through the sun and wormwood perfume, the sea in its silver armor, and great bubbles of light in piles of rocks.”
Wild lemongrass, peppermint, Mediterranean pine, bergamot, Jujube tree honey.
The inspiration behind Morning in Tipasa by Pierre Guillaume is the work of Albert Camus, entitled Wedding in Tipaza. In this 1938, Camus vividly depicts the Algerian summer, the warmth, the Roman ruins with the sea below and the effervescence of youth. It is this literary work, and the landscape within, which inspired Pierre Guillaume to create this fragrance, but, as with most of Pierre’s work, you don’t actually need to know the backstory in order to enjoy the scent.
Morning in Tipasa opens with a cool freshness. The sun hasn’t yet climbed above the hill. It isn’t cold, just cool in comparison to how the rest of the day will be. The most beautiful sweet peppermint whispers across the face of the scent like an onshore breeze. This is mint with it’s sting removed though, there is no harshness, no assault on the senses. This isn’t water callously splashed on your face to wake you from slumber, instead it’s refreshing, gentle, cool but welcoming, a sip of water sliding down a parched throat.
Alongside the mint sits a zesty lemon and the combination of the mint with the citrus elements acts almost like a metaphor for water without forcing the idea. It’s as if the scent is hinting to you, giving you those nudges to think of times you spent by a lake or the beach, but without beating you over the head with the idea. If you aren’t a fan of aquatic scents then don’t write Morning in Tipasa off yet. This facet of the scent is subtle and satisfying and you may find that you can tolerate it. An alternative way to think about the start of the fragrance would be as a cup of mint tea, cooling in a glass cup, with a slice of lemon on the rim. That sense of refreshment is there as well as an aromatic, balmy mint, lifting to meet you on a rise of steam droplets.
Very cleverly there is the promise of heat and the landscape which Camus referred to as “sun-blackened” hidden within Morning in Tipasa. As it wears, the fragrance moves into a phase where it feels like it grows warmer without any “warm” elements being immediately noticeable or identifiable. It’s just a shift which happens, like dawn breaking in subtle shades and shifts. The mint moves further back in the composition but leaves a trail of sour, tangy bergamot in its wake which in turn guides us through to the pine notes in the heart of the scent.
If you have ever been in a pine forest in the sunshine of a warm day, inhaling great, cleansing lungfuls of that sappy, sweet, pine scent then you can imagine what this section of Morning in Tipasa smells like. There is something deeply joyful about how realistic it smells, Pierre hasn’t gone too heavy here, which is one of his great strengths – he knows when to add light and shade to a composition. In this case, this makes it feel as if you are catching wafts of the trees as the sun gently warms them. There is space in the composition as there is space in an actual forest. It isn’t all cluttered and intense, and Pierre has replicated that beautifully. It’s almost magical how much Morning in Tipasa feels like the scent of a real place, how much it evokes that sense of morning warmth gradually increasing, and, if you sniff it with your eyes closed, you will almost hear the sound of the pine needles rattling in the treetops.
For those of us who are comforted and consoled by nature, the heart of Morning in Tipasa will also bring a sense of calm. Aromatic, relaxing, easy, the scent feels like a safe place to be, a welcoming place to be, somewhere calm where moments of joy can be experienced and where life just flows that bit more easily.
As Morning in Tipasa moves into the final phrases of a wear, it becomes sweeter and more resinous. Beads of ambery tree sap, clinging like tears to deeply textured bark, springs to mind and it is only later that you realise these were beads of honeyed nectar. Perhaps high up in the branches of a particularly enigmatic pine tree a colony of wild bees have built their hive and what we detecting here is the wafts from their honeymaking. The resinous, deeper thrum of something like frankincense murmurs away in the background adding a further dimension.
These sweeter elements are held in perfect balance by both the mint and the sourer citruses, so whilst it is fair to say that this is a sweet scent (and indeed an aromatic and a citrusy one too) nothing gets out of whack, every different facet leaves you wanting more but not in a way which is unfulfilling, instead in a way which is deeply satisfying and exciting to smell. Too much of a good thing becomes over saturating, boring, and Pierre has handled this scent so deftly that it never over saturates in any particular direction.
“Realistic” and “natural” are terms in the fragrance world which are loaded, often with misinformation, but there is something very natural and very realistic about this scent, very much referencing a real place or even a place which is very real in the imagination of both the author and the perfumer. It is also a place I should very much like to visit, to sit in the sunshine, to feel all that potential, and to smell the joyous work of the trees as they whisper above my head.
The other stuff
The perfumer for Morning in Tipasa is Pierre Guillaume. The scent was released as part of a trilogy of fragrances all around the theme of citrus. The other two scents in the series at the moment are 07 Solsekia and 7.1 Grand Siecle Intense.
The longevity of 7.2 Morning in Tipasa is surprisingly tenacious for a citrus, aromatic scent. It lasts a good six hours following application, and in favourable conditions even longer. The projection of the fragrance is moderate, going to around, or just under, handshake distance. Morning in Tipasa is a great scent to wear for the day, and it is versatile enough to take you from the office to the park, from lunch with friends to afternoon drinks or even walking the dog. Wear this scent when you need cooling off, perking up, calming down, or generally want to feel fresher and more invigorated. It’s the perfect summer scent for temperate British summers – if you want to wear it in more extreme heat you may find you need to re-apply more frequently.
The Pierre Guillaume brand has to be one of the premier brands on the market today. The brand sits perfectly poised at the intersection of creativity, quality and invention. The fragrances aren’t flashy, nor is their visual identity based on blingy bottles. Instead they offer high quality juice at a moderate price point and a wide range of scents which are approachable and offer choice enough even for the pickiest of consumers.
We’ve previously reviewed a whole host of scents from the brand including Animal Mondain, Lune d’Eau, Sunsuality, PG 9.1 Komorebi, PG 03 Cuir Venenum, PG 04 Musc Maori, PG 5.1 Suede Osmanthe, PG 16 Jardins de Kerylos and the exceptional Bois Naufrage. Also by Pierre Guillaume we’ve looked at Superlady, Sucre d’Ebene, Shermine, Aqaysos, Jangala, Tonkamande, Anti-Blues and Hapyang.
We were very kindly gifted a sample bottle of this fragrance by Pierre Guillaume, with no strings attached.