Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat celebrates its one hundredth anniversary with an exceptional edition. An ode to the richness of the Mediterranean, this Eau de Cologne exalts the aromas of the region in its composition. Palladium gilding has been chosen to adorn the Bee Bottle. A new encounter involving a unique artistic craft: gilding on plants. Artist Anne Brun has composed a glittering bouquet of the iconic plants that are so characteristic of the Riviera. This wonderful way of reinterpreting Guerlain’s iconic heritage invites you to rediscover the Eaux de Cologne, a genuine tradition within the House.
To celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, the Bee Bottle is clad
in hand-painted palladium and adorned with a sumptuous bouquet of plants gilded with palladium leaf. The work resonates with its Mediterranean inspiration; both the fragrance and its botanical finery radiate an aura of generosity.
This Eau de Cologne was born of a journey along the Riviera made by Jacques Guerlain at the start of the 20th century, during which the idea came to him to compose an Eau de Cologne inspired by the beauty of the landscapes and the olfactory charm of the citrus scents all around. Thus, Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat came to be. This creation from 1920 stands as a tribute to the quality of natural ingredients. In this triple-citrus fragrance, a deliciously refreshing citron prevails and lemon zest adds a pinch of invigorating tartness, while aromatic verbena, a classic ingredient in the Eaux de Cologne, is enlivened through lemony accents.
Sparkling and luminous, it unveils a slightly herbal freshness that you can now rediscover in a composition that is identical to the original formula. A fruit similar to a lemon, the citron is not consumed in the same manner as most citrus fruits, but is used mainly in confectionery. Native to Asia, it was perhaps the very first citrus fruit to make its way to Europe. Citrons can be distinguished from lemons by their bumpy appearance and large size, which can reach over 20 centimeters. When used in perfumery, it is extracted through pressing, the traditional method of processing citrus fruits. It is chosen for its rich, delicately fresh and tangy notes.
Originally from Tourettes in Provence, Anne Brun is a master craftswoman with a unique expertise, who lives in osmosis with her region. Steeped in the richness of the surrounding lands, she helps harvest the flowers used in perfumery, such as the May rose: “With a pair of small pincers take up a leaf of the gold and in this manner put on the other pieces be careful that the brush does not goes near the first piece as to go over it.”
Trained in leaf gilding, she studied her craft in Florence, New York and Paris. Although she started out in gilded wood restoration, her workshop has been dedicated to original creations since 2015. She uses her traditional savoir-faire to create contemporary compositions using plants, adorning them in a cloak of metallic light. Her work explores a number of dual paradoxes: ephemeral yet eternal, fragile yet unalterable, ordinary yet precious. Utterly transformed, the plants take on an aspect of permanence.
The technique of gold leaf gilding goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt and was used in Greek chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statues. The principles and methods of the craft were described by Cennino Cennini, celebrated author of a seminal work on the Renaissance entitled Book of the Art, written in the 14th and 15th centuries. This meticulous technique has remained virtually unchanged since the Renaissance period. Anne Brun specialises in a more unconventional style of gilding, using plants that she selects and dries (on the ground in nature or laid out flat, as with a herbarium). On a pre-coated natural surface, she skilfully places the leaf of malleable and (extremely) fine metal using pincers. During the step known as chiquetage, any excess metal is removed by a small brush (called an appuyeux in French) and discarded. A varnish is added to protect the finished work. Several days are required to complete this meticulous task to perfection.
For this exceptional edition, Anne Brun has composed a bouquet of quintessential plants of the Riviera, gathered near to Grasse as a nod to the Mediterranean origins of Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, with each and every leaf delicately gilded by hand. This precious botanical compilation featuring often poetic names – quaking grasses, poppies (seed pods), Cupid’s dart, knapweed from the hills, African daisies – forms the palladium trim. The work also features the more exotic addition of a Lebanese cedar wood rose.
The artist opted for palladium, a metal she appreciates for its brilliant sheen. Charles Trenet once said the sea shimmers with silver, and palladium, too, sparkles with light. Atomic number 46, palladium is similar to platinum. Malleable and ductile, it is also used in jewellery. It was named following the discovery of the asteroid Pallas in 1802, an allusion to the celestial lights, the stars, which bring to mind the idea of sparkling and brilliance. In its pure metal state, precious palladium leaf is worth more than gold.
Anne Brun’s creation graces the Bee Bottle, which has also undergone a dazzling transformation to suit the occasion. Created by Pochet du Courval for the first Eau de Cologne de Guerlain, which was intended for Empress Eugénie, this legendary bottle with its festooned dome is inspired by the shape of the Vendôme Column. The 69 bees are symbolic of both the Empire and the House of Guerlain. In perfect echo to this brilliant bouquet, the bottle is hand-painted with a layer of palladium, an unprecedented colour chosen especially for the occasion. In its liquid form, the precious stainless metal is dexterously painted onto the bees: a handmade creation requiring several hours and a bow towards a patrimonial heritage lasting over 150 years. Finally, the “Dames de Table” of the Guerlain Ateliers apply the sparkling floral finery to the palladium Bee Bottle, tying a delicate silver thread around the neck. An embossed and hot-stamped label is attached, announcing the 100th anniversary of this most emblematic Eau de Cologne, Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat.