This gorgeous factice was a gift from a dear friend who has since passed away. Pronounced fak-teece, the word simply means "faux," or "fake." Although it's a little difficult to tell from the photo, this Samsara factice is about a foot in height, and a foot across at the widest part of the bottle.
Factice bottles are advertising pieces used by perfume companies. They come in all sizes, but for collectors the larger the bottle, the better. While the quality of the glass used for a factice is usually the same as its regular-size counterpart, the factice's contents are alcohol or some other kind of tinted liquid--not the real perfume. This bottle was designed by Robert Granai, and the fragrance, Samsara, was created by perfumer Jean Paul Guerlain.
Released in 1989, Samsara is still in production today. The name is Sanskrit and refers to the cycle of birth and rebirth. The fragrance is heavy in white flowers and also in sandalwood, hence its designation as a "woody-floral" scent.
After doing some research into Samsara's ingredients, I created a natural, artisan perfume based on them. It is not a "copy cat," and my creation doesn't smell anything at all like the Samsara that you would find at a department store perfume counter. I typically don't even like to think about a commercial scent when I'm creating an artisan perfume. But this gorgeous bottle was such an inspiration.
Marchesa is the name of my creation, in honor of Alain's girlfriend. Alain was the antiques and collectibles dealer in Marseilles who sold my friend this bottle. (I was on an antiquing adventure with her when she purchased it, and after she died her husband brought it to me, along with some of her other factice perfume bottles.)
Alain was a lovable, swarthy and extremely colorful character who trolled the back alleyways of the mysterious French seaport in search of treasures. I had the pleasure of meeting Alain and joining him in a group lunch in a tiny Marseilles cafe-dive several years ago.
Alain once casually mentioned to my friend and her husband that his girlfriend was a marchesa. If memory serves me correctly, I think Alain's girlfriend's name was Gabrielle, but I'm not entirely sure I have that part right. In any event, he claimed that she was a marchesa. I'm also not really sure how you spell marchesa in French (I think I'm giving the title an Italian spin).
My friends and I thought it was a little incredulous that Gabrielle (or whatever her name was) would have a title of nobility, but there are stranger things going on in the world. However, it just seemed so unlikely, given that Gabrielle was a female version of Alain and rough and tumble herself.
But I suppose that my scent Marchesa is somewhat like the woman whose boyfriend sold the factice bottle to my friend. Pure natural scents such as jasmine and boronia--on their own--can be a little too harsh or tart-like for some noses. But blend all of these essences together into their own unique creation and, viola, you have one very smooth Marchesa.