“Your golden, honey smell has always been inside me, my little wanton flower”. I’m not sure you have a right to reject someone that tells you this kind of things. And I didn’t. Because we have few chances at poetry in our hurried lives. We can carry around the poems of Baudelaire and Keats, dream about the words of Byron and watch Shakespeare plays on our laptops, but I’m talking about the poetry you can claim as personal memory. The one you feel as part of your own life thread, the one you get to pluck out at will from the corners of your mind and then let to unravel, admire and loose inside of when the going gets tough and there’s nothing else left to sustain you. The dreams that once have been reality and present moment.
Une Fleur de Cassie reminds me of past magical times and gives me hope for future ones. It is one of the most beautiful florals of the 21st century and the amplitude of its arching shape is phenomenal. Like the superb, breathtaking jump of a principal dancer, Une Fleur de Cassie startles and exalts. Remember the final scene in the “Billy Elliot” movie when, all strong and grownup, he bursts out on the stage with one incredibly high movement, almost like a flight? With a single effortless, luminous arc Une Fleur de Cassie unites classical inspiration and modern lightness, and that first spray is just as sublime and spectacular as Billy’s jump. And startling too. The way Une Fleur de Cassie starts reminds me of Shalimar in its difficulty. The two don’t smell similar, of course not, but that hell of a strong bergamot-leather combo in Shalimar (especially in the pure parfum) which recalls the odor of gasoline is just as hard to take in as the powerful whiff of glue, damp cardboard, fur, yeast, powder, turned earth, rotting fruit, a smell that is also half floral and half animal from Une Fleur de Cassie. Other fragrances that I’m connecting Une Fleur de Cassie to are L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing! (less floral and spicy, more vanilla, woods and suede) and Guerlain Après l’Ondée (less animalic, more delicate and powdery, with aniseeds instead of cloves).
But this perfume, oh, sweet Lord, this perfume! It has me entranced, bound, delirious with desire, longing, yearning for something as beautiful as it. There are innumerable nuances to decipher, especially in that intense, almost hallucinatory beginning and what I love most about it, the same thing that slays me time and time again in my favorite perfumes, is its humanness. The sublimated smell of warm skin, sweet breath, sex, hair and armpits. A fully opened flower on the edge of decay and death. The heart wrenching poetry of it all, this transient beauty of our lives, those joyful moments we need to grab and gather and keep close, so we have something to hold on to when the sadness knocks on our door.
Voluptuous, fecund, erotic, almost repulsive but also sweetly innocent and melancholic, Une Fleur de Cassie feels like wearing invisible poems. She’s not the couture gown described by the official press release, she’s the female body itself, dancing slowly in front of a movie screen, the mesmerizing colors and images projected directly onto naked skin.
Une Fleur de Cassie is Dominique Ropion’s masterpiece. He put the cassie (acacia farnesiana) absolute at the center of it and he used a whole load of other ingredients to stretch out and emphasize the various facets of this beautiful material which smells powdery and intensely warm, with a honeyed sweetness, underscored by balsamic and spicy tones. The unsettlingly carnal nature of this absolute is prolonged with cumin, musk and apricot, the light as a cloud powdery feeling is increased by the presence of mimosa and violet. Sweet jasmine, rose and vanilla enhance the honeyed floral element, whereas the aldehydes give the scent luminosity and a hint of glamorous elegance. Soft woods, carnation, and cloves impart a creamy,spicy warmth which mingles so well with everything else, and every layer bleeds subtly into the next one like the afternoon sky changing its colors from bright daylight into sunset.
Anybody that knows me and my craving for real passion and emotional intensity would’ve guessed by now that it’s the first part of this perfume that I enjoy most. Unfortunately it only lasts for about 20-30 minutes, and I would spray the stuff again and again just to relive it, so yes, it was a good idea to buy the 100 ml bottle.
The second part of the fragrance is a lot more gentle and soft, even angelic. It becomes this blurred, hazy cloud of a skin scent that it’s warm, sweet, pollen heavy, buttery. The perfect spring bouquet, tender and joyous. The carnal drama has become a memory that still gives depth and shadow to the painterly, glowing beauty that Une Fleur de Cassie is in this stage. It has good longevity but subtle sillage,and I think it blooms better in the heat. I wish I had experienced the pre-reformulation version, alas I only know the present one, which is still wonderful, but some people say it’s less animalic than before.
From the woman loved feverishly on top of musky furs covered divans to the smiling lady of the salon that took a break from social duties to relax in her mimosa trees edged garden, Une Fleur de Cassie swings with great mastery through the many reflections of the female soul. What I love about it is that it never feels formal or stuffy, it has a kind of emotional, sensual vibration that reminds you that is our humanity that counts. It always takes you deeper, behind the image and conventions, to give you the feel of something real and alive.
It is very moving and is best suited for those times of the day when you can just stop for a while and dream a little. I do wear it to work or when I’m out and about, but then I feel frustrated that I can’t focus on it properly, the same as when you’re reading or watching something beautiful and absorbing yet you keep getting interrupted.
When I wear Une Fleur de Cassie I feel like I’m falling in love all over again. Nothing else comes close to it.
Notes: bergamot, apricot, cassie, mimosa, rose, violet, jasmin, carnation, clove, cumin, aldheydes, salicylate, musk, vanilla, cedar and sandalwood.