Straying ever-so-slightly from the brand’s concept, the fragrance takes its name from film rather than photography. But then?flashback?? makes sense at every level. The picture that inspired it, a dream-like screen capture of a video shot by Laurent Segretier, is the face of his long-distance girlfriend (a print of the image is included in the box). The perfumer who composed it, Olivier Cresp, had worked with the brand owner Céline Verleure back in 1996 on L’Eau par Kenzo for women and for men, in her previous life as a top-flight project manager in the perfume industry. As for the scent, it is Olivier Cresp’s own version of a flashback, a childhood memory he’d long wanted to use as a springboard for inspiration: rhubarb pie.
But though the master perfumer pegs himself as?figurative??, don’t expect a photorealistic impression of the homemade dessert. Flashback plays on the tart, green, citrusy aspects of rhubarb. Once unfolded, these facets connect with a bright, joyful vetiver whose grapefruit-like top notes are enhanced by actual grapefruit, before whispering the barest hint of flint and smoke.
As luminous as a late spring afternoon in Cresp’s native Grasse, as exhilarating as remembering a loved one’s face. After all, isn’t the charm of fragrance the way it materializes our memories?