How Louis Vuitton Bottles the Scent of California’s Shoreline
Drawing on the West Coast’s fresh atmosphere and spirit, Louis Vuitton’s ongoing Cologne Perfumes collection conjures up the cool vitality of California. The French fashion house’s Grasse-born master perfumer, Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, created the unisex line and introduced its inaugural fragrances in 2019, including Sun Song, made with lemon to suggest the warmth of the morning rays, and Cactus Garden, a tropical bouquet created by maté and Calabrian bergamot; he unveiled California Dream, a clean, citrusy spritz informed by a sunset, in 2020. (Cavallier Belletrud is also the nose behind Pur Oud, a scent released in April that features an unusually high concentration of oud, a heady essence derived from agarwood trees.)
This year, he bottled the scent of the Pacific Ocean in On the Beach—the set’s latest addition—that’s redolent of a long stretch of pristine coastline. He also continued his collaboration with Los Angeles–born artist Alex Israel, who devised the vessels for the collection’s other perfumes using his hometown as a muse. This time, Israel dressed the scent in an iridescent flacon, based on a 2013 artwork from his “Flat” series of ombré architectural panels, that evokes the oscillations of light and color that flit across oceanfront façades.
The receptacle’s design embodies the seaside-scented elixir it houses: Cavallier Belletrud selected yuzu, a Japanese citrus, as its top note and combined it with the honeyed scent of neroli oil, a calming essence extracted from orange blossoms. Herbs and shrubs, including thyme, rosemary, and pink pepper, round out the fragrance, which ends with a veil of cypress, recalling the shade from a tree on a hot day. Breathing in the layered fragrance, boundless memories of warm-weather days can spring to life. The notes create an inviting “summer ambiance,” Cavallier Belletrud says of the scent. “It opens with brightness, and becomes a caress.”