I first saw Mad et Len candles on various minimal interior blogs. The black iron containers intrigued me, I had never seen something similar before. I examined the names of the scents: Petits Papiers, Figue Noire, Ambre Mobile. Everything sounded dark and luxurious. My instinct told me that I had to give one of these fragrances a try…
MAD ET LEN
“The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, and the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” – Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
Mad et Len started as a company in 2007 in the south of France, near Grasse. The founders, Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut, were weary of their office jobs and moved to Grasse, the center for artisans in the French perfume industry. As far as the name concerns, it is a play on the name ‘madeleine’. Inspired by Marcel Proust, the name madeleine refers back to the writing of Proust in which he explains how the taste of a crumb of madeleine raised memories to his mind. And that is exactly what Mad et Len tries to achieve with every fragrance: to trigger memories that we have long forgotten.
All of the scents are created by Mad et Len’s own chemist, who only uses natural ingredients. The essential oils from flowers, wood, and spices are all aged naturally. Sometimes it takes two years before Mad et Len approves of the olfactory quality. Due to this, only limited batches are produced; this is where the exclusivity kicks in. Every step of the process is artisanal: the soy vegetable wax is poured by hand, the black iron casings are made by blacksmiths and the candles are hand-signed with the date of production. Each piece is unique.
Both the Bougie Apothicaire candle and eau de parfum arrived in Mad et Len’s black signature boxes, embossed with a gold logo. In every little detail, there’s a hint of understated luxury. Upon opening the Figue Noire candle, I could notice the intensity of the essential oils. However, unlike some other luxury brands, it’s not overwhelming at all. There’s a profound balance that is easier to recognize when you start to burn the candle: the room is filled with a pleasant scent quickly, without taking hours to burn. Even though the name Figue Noire seems to suggest a woody scented candle, it’s surprisingly fruity and light. It reminds me of Baies by Diptyque, although I find Figue Noire to be much more refined, delicate and less overwhelming. In fact, it’s one of the few fruity scents that I genuinely appreciate! Starting at 300 grams, the Bougie Apothicaire candles are not small either and will last you between 60 to 80 hours.
In addition to Figue Noire, I received a sleek black bottle of eau de parfum, Petits Papiers. According to the Mad et Len handbook, Petits Papiers was inspired by scented little papers and joie de vivre. I can’t think of anything more appropriate, as it smells like an atmosphere, inspiration. Pure nostalgia comes to the mind: a well-worn leather armchair, dark wooden bookshelves, the soft smell of old parchment. Each vial of 50 ml comes with both a spray top as well as a dropper for your own preference. After wearing this fragrance multiple times, I have to applaud its amazing staying power. The fragrance lasts all day, from the early morning until sunset, when I can still detect a soft aroma on my wrists. Along with notes of benzoin and balmy resins, I find the vanilla and tobacco to be the most palpable. In a short time, Petits Papiers has become one of my signature fragrances.
What can I say? Mad et Len is one of those rare brands who values quality over quantity, keeps their integrity and exclusivity in touch. And as promised, madeleine has triggered memories that I have long forgotten.
Figue Noire retails for 80,00 euro/300 grams
Eau de Parfum Petits Papiers retails for 148,00 euro/50 ml
What’s your signature fragrance?
These products were sent to me for review. All my opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.