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Hidden in the mountains, this dream perfumery is all natural and holistic

At the foothills of the Cape Point mountains, this artisanal perfumery produces small batches of scents with a harmonious and natural approach

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 29, 2022 | Trends

Tucked away among the fynbos of Cape Point in an unassuming corrugated iron structure is Très Nagual, a holistic perfumery focused on natural ingredients, small batches and working in harmony with nature. Everything at the company, from distilling essential oils to tying the packaging strings, is done by Florian Baumann and David Plenderleith, a couple who are as enchanting as the perfumes and soaps they create together.

Born in Morocco, Florian uses his extensive travels and studies in both cooking and systems biology as inspiration for his perfumery. Florian spends his days exploring the garden ‘with my ear to the earth’, experimenting with the natural ingredients at hand, and refining products, some of which can take a year to be declared good enough to sell.

A box filled with perfumes ready to be dispatched, Photograph: Julia Freemantle

David heads logistics and design, priding Très Nagual, which loosely translates to “very unseen”, as highly functional but very aesthetic. The packaging is pared back and functional, and they aim to collaborate with a local glass blower in the future to be more in keeping with their hand-to-harvest creation philosophy. He heads the shop, which welcomes customers who simply want to pop in for a beautiful bar of soap and those who seek more of an experience, tapping into the duo’s vast knowledge of and deep love for all things olfactory. Their record for the longest time a customer has spent in their store was 11 hours. ‘She stayed for dinner,’ smiles David.

Their creation process is a mixture of experimentation, intuitive feeling and using what is naturally in abundance. ‘Beauty is our guide,’ says Florian. While soaps and perfumes are their signature items, the team are inspired by their customers too, whipping up a shaving soap bar after overhearing a shopper’s wistful comment, or scooping the slivers left behind from their soap-cutting process into a bag to be used as washing powder. The team do not worry about what is on trend or focus on quick and easy sellers but rather trust that because they are working with the flow of the earth, a natural order will follow. ‘Everything sells; some just have a different timeline,’ says Florian.

Founders Florian Baumann and David Plenderleith of Trés Nagual, Photograph: Julia Freemantle

The scent of the shop is distinctly South African, with notes of fynbos honey, rainwater and wild dagga wafting throughout. These mixed with more exotic aromas such as frankincense, cedar wood or Egyptian neroli result in scents that smell as well-travelled as their creators.

Très Nagual’s products combine practicality and romance, such as their Covid-inspired spray, which both sanitises and encourages the user to ‘let go of what no longer serves’. Whether you are here for the functionality, the ethereal extras, or both, Très Nagual plays on the undeniable link between the sense of smell and our emotions and memory. Most of its wares are limited-edition to mirror the impermanence of nature and change according to the seasons. The physical shop closes for winter, and products such as their rose soap bar, with its warming scent and colour, are launched via their other stockists and online store.

While it is in vogue for brands to carry a small-batch feel and emphasise sustainability, Florian and David really embody this ethos. Their simple home is a few steps away from the shop and nothing superfluous; because why would you need a fridge if you are living in keeping with the earth’s natural cycles? Through their work, Très Nagual hopes to encourage users to create a ceremony out of everyday moments. ‘We desire to showcase a beauty that can touch and heal,’ says David. ‘And to show that aromatherapy can be contemporary and fun.’

Paper bags and bottles at Tres Nagual containing scent-making ingredients, Photograph: Julia Freemantle