Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel (Nouvelle Collection, launched in 2007) is one of very few fragrances that have such a great presence and personality that makes the list of their official notes of little interest. Yes, it is an herbal mossy vetiver, but it's also a successful olfactory depiction of a place and an atmosphere. It doesn't matter really that there's an iris or a narcissus somewhere in Fleurs de Sel's fold, because Lyn Harris' creation is all about taking a deep breath and filling your lungs with the salty air of Brittany.
Perfumer Lyn Harris conceived Fleurs de Sel from her childhood memories of vacations in the village of Batz sur Mer and the salt marshes around it. This translates into a smoky, earthy and dirty vetiver, covered in sea spray but far from the dreaded and dreadful aquatic freshness we're accustomed to when thinking about marine notes. Fleurs de Sel has bitterness and even dryness (yes, I know I just mentioned sea spray. Bear with me) that I assume comes from the narcissus note. It's a bit melancholy at times and I almost get why many consider this Miller Harris fragrance a cool weather treat; it's the smokiness. However, I find Fleurs de Sel to be very outdoorsy and at times bracing, like breathing in the cool sharp air.
There's a little rot in Fleurs de Sel, something that is not quite pretty but very organic, like decaying driftwood. It's that dirty element that plays so beautifully on skin, making this fragrance surprisingly sexy. I find the dryness and herbal notes an attractive combination. Fleurs de Sel doesn't have an ounce of sweetness nor does it have any particular gender. It's likely to appeal to vetiver fans and to those who seek something less obvious and perhaps not as loud as Terre d'Hermes (Victoria points at that direction in her wonderful review on Bois de Jasmine).
See also Marina's review on Perfume Smellin' Things.
Notes: red thyme oil, rosemary, clary sage, iris nobilis, narcissus, rose, ambrette seed, woods, vetiver, moss, leather.
Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel ($220, 100ml) and the rest of the Nouvelle Collection is exclusive to MiN NY.
Photos of Batz sur Mer, the coast and salt marshes, from wallpaper-photo-dessin.com and hotel-resort-holiday-rentals.com.