SINGAPORE — In the hustle and bustle of life, everyone’s looking for a way to smell the proverbial roses, and to inject a little more joy into their daily lives. Joy means many things to different people: Whether it is going JOMO (joy of missing out), Marie Kondo-ing your apartment (or even the people in your life), caving out some free time to eat the food you enjoy, a short vacay over the weekend in the nearby islands, or simply carrying an aromatherapy blend in your bag for on-the-go zen.
When Firmenich perfumer Dora Baghriche was approached by Chopard to create a perfume that expresses joy, she got pretty excited. “Joy is linked to nature (think the vast number of natural ingredients she can use). After our research and meetings, it became obvious to my team that there was not one type of joy. Joy is a multiple, it is a spectrum,” says Dora, who has worked as a perfumer for 15 years.
With that, she went on to create two fragrances for the Happy Chopard collection, namely Lemon Dulci and Felicia Roses. The latest to join the collection, Bigaradia, completes the collection. Dora says, “With the creation of Bigaradia, the Happy Chopard collection has become a complete story. Each fragrance complements one another, and they don’t overlap at all.”
Creating a trilogy collection wasn’t part of the plan. Dora explains, “At the beginning, there wasn’t a clear strategy but there was a clear purpose. We just knew we were going to express joy in the perfume(s) we will be creating. The process was spontaneous.”
The first, Lemon Dulci, is a shot of freshness that embodies the joy of being energised. The second, Felicia Roses, signifies the joy of starting a new page. And the last, Bigaradia, symbolises the joy of letting go.
Letting go in this context is not about giving up. It’s about trust. Dora explains that when you let go, you unconsciously trust that life would be fine without holding on. The trust you place in life is you, taking a chance in life, and in self-love. And the word “chance”, for Dora, is associated with orange blossoms.
In many cultures, the orange blossom is considered a symbol of good luck, health, and fertility, making it a popular flower at weddings and celebrations. “It is linked to happy moments, and that is why it is very important to have orange blossom in the Happy Chopard collection. Orange blossom is the incarnation of the ultimate happiness,” says Dora. And with that, the bitter-orange tree, or bigaradier in French, became the heart of the Happy Chopard Bigaradia fragrance.
The Bigaradia starts bright and fresh with the use of carrot seeds, and neroli and petitgrain essential oils—the freshest essential oils of the bitter orange tree. Then it gets a bit warmer and sweeter with blooming notes of orange blossom flowers, jasmine flowers, and honey. The floral notes don’t suffocate, and the segue into a woody, slightly musky bottom notes of cedar, sesame, labdanum and patchouli smells soothing like a warm embrace, contentment. At the end of the day, it smells like a light but warm, slightly orangey, skin scent that you can even wear to bed. (It smells expensive, too.)
It is common to have orange blossom in fragrances but uncommon to see sesame and carrots seeds. “I fell in love with sesame absolute two years ago. Sesame absolute is an ingredient that is close to goumard notes, but unlike gourmand notes, it is not sweet, not sticky, and has a likeness to nuts. Sesame has a kind of crispness that’s an addiction you can’t find anywhere else,” says Dora.
Carrots seeds also have the sensation of crispness, and also freshness. “We use a combination of natural carrot seeds and carrot Smell The Taste (STT) accord, and it smells like carrot juice. It is very green. Like in Lemon Dulci, It also symbolises the vital power I want to express.”
Fun fact: Firmenich’s Smell The Taste (STT) accords are mainly used as flavourings, and are created for things you can and mostly, cannot extract. “For example, we have whisky STT, mango STT (you can’t extract mango), caramel STT, and chocolate STT. I love to play with these because they add youth to fragrances. (It can sometimes be fun and random.) We even have Red Bull STT!” adds Dora with a laugh.
A lot of accords used in the Bigaradia comes from Firmenich’s sustainability initiative, Naturals Together, launched in 2014. Aside from sourcing responsibly, this programme also works with farmers to help them create a more sustainable harvest, whether through saving water, improving agricultural methods, stabilising prices, or building schools in the local farming communities.
“For a lot of our ingredients, we now know every step of the process, from the farmers to the customers, so we can identify the impact on the planet that each process creates, and keep improving,” says Dora. Every small element contributes to the environment: You’ll also find eco-friendly bio-alcohol used in the Bigaradia perfume, as well as recycleable glass for the bottle. (Ah, the joy of guilt-free luxury.)
From the creator’s joy of creating the perfume, sustainability efforts to take better care of our planet, to the joy of the user buying a luxury product because it is environmental-friendly, and because it smells great. Perhaps the essence of joie de vivre has truly been captured in the Happy Chopard collection.
The Happy Chopard Bigaradia eau de parfum is priced at $109 (40ml) and $189 (100ml), and is available at Takashimaya, and at Sephora and BHG.