Crimson Petals – Evody D’Âme de Pique (2014)

Apart from this year’s white floral summer stables; Mahora, Vamp in NY and Terracotta le Parfum, a perfume I’ve been wearing a lot is Evody’s summeroriental D’Âme de Pique* gifted to me by a wonderful friend.

I first encountered the house Evody at Boutique Jovoy in Paris, on my first visit there, when it was still a shop ‘Parfums rares’ in Rue de Danielle Casanova. I was taken with a few of their perfumes and the very reasonable price tag. Of the ones I remember, were a fine amber perfume, Ambre Intense, and a plush peach-iris floriental, Note de Luxe. In 2014 they added the collection d’ailleurs to the line-up, in which D’âme de Pique featured.

Through the opening I think one would be forgiven for thinking that D’Âme de Pique with its pear, raspberry and rose was a fruity floral, at least until the woody ambery base starts to shimmer through the layers from below.

A. F. Graves Still life with roses and raspberries

It’s all about getting the delicate balance between tangy and sweet right, and that’s exactly what it does: the tart, green black currant leafs versus juicy pear to start, in the heart the contrast is between that of luscious rose and piquant raspberries. The base, as already mentioned, is a creamy thing of vanilla, patchouli, woods and sandalwood, none of which stick out unpleasantly. The woods and patchouli are never hard or raspy, the sandalwood isn’t cloying and the vanilla isn’t cupcake worthy, all in all this is again a perfectly balanced third act. A very discreet saffron note gives both the rose heart as well as the base a slight twist of something a little sharp and for a moment takes my thoughts towards the oriental. No eastern bazar, perhaps a crimson sunset.

This is an easy-going perfume, I’m a little surprised myself at how happily I’ve worn this fragrance. What could easily have been too sweet or too fruity, is neither, I find it smooth, luminous and yielding. Rosy, yes, but not cute, and it feels French, in that way where it could be dressed up or down, for evening or day wear after a fashion. From flats to heels, add a touch-up of lipstick and a few extra sprays ‘et voila’, the living is easy.

 

I’d like to end with some verses, just because the talk of crimson reminds me of this gorgeous poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font
The firefly wakens, waken thou with me

Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me
Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars
And all thy heart lies open unto me

Now slides the silent meteor on
And leaves a shining furrow
As thy thoughts in me

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up
And slips into the bosom of the lake
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.

 

 

* is it supposed to be a word play on Pique Dame/ Queen of Spades and soul? The Tchaikovsky Opera/ Pushkin short story? I can’t find anything to that effect anywhere, and since nothing in the perfume reminds me of anything to do with either, I’ll presume it just felt like a good name.

And a little aside on rose fragrances; it’s one in a thousand roses that doesn’t turn sour on me. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy rose centered fragrances on a mouillette or on other people, or that indeed the occasional rose actually smells ‘normal’ on me, just that they unfortunately are few and far between.

Feat. pic by me, and the still life of roses and raspberries is by Abbott Fuller Graves.

Oops, Not Last after All- Patou Pour Homme vintage VS 2013

By Santos89

Yes, I know what I said last week, but today is a special treat for you, in that a wonderful fellow Dane and perfume-enthusiast kindly volunteered to do a guest post on Patou pour Homme. Santos89, as he’s known as in the perfume community, adds a masculine touch to Sounds of Scent that I have long wanted, as I found my knowledge of classic masculines to be woefully lacking. As you can probably tell from this review, Santos89 loves perfume, has a fondness for both old and new, but a heart that beats for the 1980’s.

 

Patou Pour Homme is possibly the most elusive and sought after fragrance, ever created for men.

This oriental fougere was released in 1980, and was not a big hit. Patou tried to make it a hit, it even featured as Don Johnson’s fragrance on the hit show Miami Vice. However, their efforts did not bear fruit.

Though no discontinuation date has been firmly established, the consensus seems to be that it was killed off in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Shortly after Procter & Gamble took over the Patou license, and discontinued most of the range.miami-vice-dj35

A few years ago, the company Designer Parfums decided to revamp some of the classics, and fortunately Patou Pour Homme was amongst them.

Jean Kerleo’s masterpiece was reimagined by perfumer Thomas Fontaine.

Now before delving into the details, I have to make it clear that you will not find a 100% carbon copy of the original Patou Pour Homme. Due to restrictions imposed by the EU and IFRA, the original formula had to be altered. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

The vintage:

The opening of the vintage is stunning. In fact every single aspect about this fragrance is stunning, and shows Kerleo’s brilliance.

The first notes to hit are clary sage and lavender, backed by subtle hints of basil.

These notes quickly subside and let the heart notes shine. The patchouli, vetiver and caraway come in to play, and is backed by hints of fir.

The basenotes are then introduced, with leather and civet being the main player, whilst subtle hints of vanilla and tonka bean can be noticed.

Words can’t really do justice to this composition, because whilst all the notes can be picked out, the real beauty is how smooth and well blended it is. Every single transition happens smoothly. It’s dark and brooding, but in a pleasant way that leaves you wanting for more.

The reissue:

I had read lots of differing accounts about this one. Some claim it to be a far cry from PPH, whilst others claim it to be a fairly faithful reissue.

The opening is lighter than the original. The citrus is easy to pick out, and is accompanied by hints of pepper, galbanum and bergamot.

The opening is short-lived, as the jasmine, lavender and tarragon are presented.

The leather, olibanum and patchouli are then introduced, backed by subtle hints of amber.

The smoothness of the original is somewhat lacking. But the overall feel is present. The smell is there, though not identical.

Overall:

If you desire a carbon copy of the vintage PPH, then sorry, the reissue will not be satisfying.

If you desire a modern take on PPH, that keeps the DNA intact, and has the same feel and vibe, then this is for you.

Both are stunning compositions, and I tip the hat to Thomas Fontaine, as he did a magnificent job with the modern constraints imposed on him.

If all else fails, I’d consider the reissue as the best homage to the original that I have ever experienced.

 

 

 

 

Last But Not Least- Jean Patou 1980s Que Sais-Je VS 2015 Que Sais-Je

I don’t want to risk boring everyone, including myself, but I felt that I should perhaps do this last little review and comparison because so far, from the ones I’ve tested, Héritage Collection Que Sais-Je actually comes the closest to the idea of the original.

Ma Collection Que Sais-Je by Jean Kerléo from the 1980s reissue of Henri Almeras’ original is sweet. SWEET. QSJ4mindreIt is peach, honey and hazelnut. It sounds like dessert, it smells like dessert. If you think gourmand perfumes were invented with Mugler’s Angel in 1992, think again.

QSJ is peach; golden and warm, marinated in a dark acacia honey with hazelnuts. It reminds me of some of those syrup and honey drenched Middle Eastern desserts you eat accompanied by sweet tea, served on a beautiful silver tray. It’s sweet but the honey is naughty too, even a bit animalic. And there’s more than that, underneath lurks a leather-moss base, probably with some musk too to accompany the honey, which makes for a beautiful dissonance to the sweetness, and makes sure you can call this buxom Mademoiselle ‘fruity-chypre’ s’il vous plait. It’s a quite stunning perfume, but in order to fully enjoy it, you need to be able to have your cake and eat it. All of it.

 

Now to Thomas Fontaine’s new Héritage Collection version of Que Sais-Je. As I hinted at, there are definite similarities here, but the size of the sweet desert from Ma Collection has been massively reduced.QSJ3 Let’s say QSJ went on a strict diet, and while she looked great and voluptuous before, the loss of calories doesn’t deter from her beauty, but accentuates other sides to it. While still adding the honey and peach blend, Fontaine has made more space in this composition, and with some of it he makes room for a few white flowers; bits of neroli sprinkled on top of the peach, and some jasmine and perhaps a touch of rose and orange flower in the heart. The hazelnut has been substituted by a dry, almost raspy patchouli which cunningly takes the fragrance from fruity-floral to the classic chypre (cheekbone-) structure. It has been done so elegantly, it feels timeless rather than vintage.

The two are by no means identical, but with HC Que Sais-Je, I both smell the idea from the old and recognise the reason for the change. I might still slightly prefer the honey drenched cake of the old version for its stangeness if nothing else, but even a perfumista can’t live on cake alone and some days you might just prefer the lighter touch as well as its stylish elegance.

 

Review based on my own flacon and a sample I bought by FiF. Pictures mine.

 

Jean Patou Colony -1980s reissue Ma Collection vs Héritage Collection (2015)

Henri Almeras’ Colony from 1938 is described as ‘a fruity chypre with a prominent note of pineapple, Colony was inspired by the warm climate of tropical islands.’ Once again, I do not own the 1938 version, but the 1980’s reissue by Jean Kerleo which went under the name Colony Ma Collection (MC).

What I get from my 1980s Colony matches the description above pretty perfectly. Colony opens on a mossy green note paired with an old-fashioned ‘pineapple’, which probably will not instantly translate as pineapple to anyone used to the very literal fruit notes in today’s perfumes, where even the difference between clementine and tangerine, nectarine and peach is discernible. I would think that this pineapple is pineapple in the way that people talk of ‘red berries’ in coffee or ‘chocolate’ in wine. For me sniffing Colony, I get an instant feel of pineapple, albeit perhaps more as in a still life painting than in a pineapple on a plate waiting to be consumed. It’s not a refreshing feel; rather humid warmth runs through its veins. There’s a touch of spice to the composition and tropical floralsy, but underneath it all, a well-worn, weather-beaten leather is the soul of Colony and keeps the perfume in tropical chypre land. Many hours later when everything fruity and leathery has left the skin, a warm blurry musk with a hint of powder makes for that sensual vintage dry-down.

I love how Colony is both tough leather and a tropical dreamscape from a time when ‘Colony’ was a name that could actually be used for a perfume.

Top notes: pineapple, ylang-ylang
Heart notes: carnation, iris, vetiver and opoponax
Base notes: leather, musk, oakmoss

And how does the new Heritage Collection Colony (HC) by perfumer Thomas Fontaine fare in comparison?

Top note: bergamot, pineapple, orange
Heart note: jasmine, rose, carnation, nutmeg
Base note: leather, patchouly, vetiver, ambergris

The PR now talks of a green fruity-floral fragrance. The top note pineapple is more ‘realistic’ fresh cut pineapple, and its sidekick bergamot makes the green notes a lot fresher, rather than the earthy moss in the MC version. Obviously the feel is very different, HC’s refreshingly fruity, as opposed to MC’s humidly tropical. What I really get after that is a rather indolic jasmine, and at times I could have sworn that I get something civet-like. Leather- not openly so, to me Colony HC stays indecently floral. In the late dry-down a faint but deeply resonant ambergris rounds off the composition.

The density of Ma Collection Colony is here substituted with a modern transparency; if we are indeed still in the territory of former colonies, surely someone turned the air-condition on.

The steamy but tough Colony Ma Collection in the zaftig shape of pineapple, moss and leather, is no more, and the substitute indoles of Colony HC make for only suggestive indecency. It is the lightness and space in the new fragrance which makes it both very contemporary and despite its many beautiful traits, makes it a little difficult to capture, perhaps less intimate. As with Vacance; if you’re looking for an identical version to the old Ma Collection, this is not it. It is however, in its own right both beautiful and a little different with a hint of vintage. So if you like your fruity-florals, grown-up, light but still a little naughty with a smooth ambergris finish you should give it a try.

 

Just because I had to =^..^=

Just because I had to =^..^=

 

Disclosure; I purchased a sample of Colony HC from a retailer. The amazing 1930’s postcard of a pineappleseller is from Etsy seller MinistryOfArtifacts, all other pics mine.