It’s little wonder that in the decade since Mad et Len launched, the niche fragrance house based in Saint Julien de Verdun in the South of France has achieved a cult following.
Nature informs much of what Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut create: laminated iron pots which house lava rock “pot pourri” or scented candles are at the core of the label that celebrates a sophisticated rawness.
Named after Proust’s “madeleine”, where the author recalls how the taste of even a little crumb of a madeleine cake makes him remember many things, the reference is clearly analogous to the power that a ‘Mad et Len’ scent evokes.
The pair have since created 16 home scents and 16 candles.
“Because we are using such raw ingredients, it was hard to make it smell pleasant at first, “ says Fuzier. “The challenge,” says Piffaut “was how to adapt raw materials into a scent without resorting to 30 ingredients.” Terre Noire and Piffaut’s favourite, Humus are inspired by the fungus and damp earth near where they live. Both are best sellers.
They source all of their essential oils themselves, using woods, flowers and spices which are all aged naturally. Some take up to two years to reach olfactory perfection. It explains why they only produce limited batches and the wax and oils are hand poured into their laminated iron packaging which is made in purposely built workshops in Morocco that took them 5 years to set up.
“The pot pourri was an expression of what we were trying to do with raw materials.” You don’t get more raw than lava rocks (picked up in the Sahara) which is made from fire and stone. Plus they look good but their holes also mean the perfume penetrates deeper and is released more slowly,” explains Piffaut. “Also, it’s more sustainable, you can change its scent for a 1/5 of the price.” They also use amber rocks, which are made from a type of vegetable gum that comes from the Acacia tree.
Candles meanwhile are made in Grasse and cut with beeswax and natural preservatives and the pouring is done in their atelier by their team of 9 people.