While wild lavender abounds throughout the countryside of Provence, master perfumers know that “true lavender, ” that which only grows at an altitude above 1200 meters, has no substitute- boasting both fresher, more camphorous tones and a sweeter, richer, warmer tone as it dries, it’s a superior material in every way to its common counterpart. So it’s no surprise that Mme. Patricia de Nicolai, perhaps the greatest living inheritor of the grand legacy of vintage French perfumery, accepts nothing less than Haute Provence lavender in her fragrances, and believes in its value as an ingredient so much that she presents it here, with minimal embellishment, as an eau de cologne- and the results are impressive. If anything, the openness of an EDC lets the star ingredient shine, delivering intensely sharp, bright freshness up top, complemented with spicy, citric petitgrain, and then drying to a smooth, creamy iris-paired musky woodsiness that lingers with just the right amount of unassuming confidence on the skin. A classic eau de cologne is a vivid, fresh sensory experience meant to strip away the levels of artifice between fragrance and nature. By those standards, Haute Provence is an unmistakable gem.