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Robert Piguet

Bandit Unleashed

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What makes a perfume tough rather than pretty? I don’t think we can look to the perfume’s notes for an explanation, since the meanings we associate with specific smells vary greatly by the individual and culture. Take just about any perfume note in isolation, and you will get a multitude of interpretations. Vanilla can be comforting or cloying. The scent of jasmine is intoxicating to some, fecal to others. Rose is a masculine note in some cultures and quintessentially feminine elsewhere. But there would seem to be no possible ambiguity about the meaning of Robert Piguet's Bandit...

Heart of Glass

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I set off to college in 1979 without a single bottle of perfume, if my memory doesn't deceive me. I wish I had known about Jean-Louis Scherrer's first perfume then. I am convinced that my years of youthful exploration and occasional indiscretion would have been even more fun if I had been wearing this perfume. I make up for it by wearing it as often as I can now.

Warm Leatherette

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Do you ever wonder why we seem to be drawn almost instinctively to certain perfume notes and not others? I favor leather notes in my perfumes, but not just any leather will do, as I have come to know. Leather can be one of the most debatable and subjective notes in perfumery, and I believe it is always a learned, not a natural association. Leather perfumes can be plastic, animalic, smoky, powdery, gasolinic, rubbery, spicy, or even meaty. My iconic leather perfume might not smell like leather to you at all.

A Gardenia Omnibus Review

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It can be a lot of fun to apply a method to one’s madness. Over the summer, for reasons that I do not fully understand, I have been on a mission to understand gardenia perfumes. In the end, I think my love of vintage Miss Dior perfume gave birth to my fascination with gardenia.

Balmain Vent Vert 1991 and 1999 formulations: the question of sameness

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It seems that times are changing. Green fragrances were the undisputed kings of the 70’s. They were here long before that but their popularity hit an all time high in the 70’s. Estée Lauder Aliage, Givenchy III, Jacomo Silences, Jean Couturier Corriandre, just to name a few of the fragrances released around that time,  that were not only poignantly interesting but also hugely popular. Then the 80’s happened and as much as they brought a new exciting era for fragrances, they also brought an exuberance that made the self-controlled, self-sufficient gems of the previous decade seem out of place, outdated. The 80’s were all about being noticed and big flowers, spices and oriental notes get you there much faster. Balmain Vent Vert, one of the most well known representatives of the green genre, was born in 1947, an offspring to Germaine Cellier and the optimism of the post-war era. Germaine Cellier was a visionary perfumer who loved green fragrances. She facilitated one of the strangest unions in fragrance history by marrying Leather Master with Green Witch, in Robert Piguet Bandit, and in 1947 she unleashed the original version of Vent Vert which some credit as the first unabashedly green perfume. Unfortunately I have yet to sample a well preserved sample of that original formulation but a few months ago I found a modestly priced bottle of the 1999 formulation of Vent Vert by Nathalie Feisthauer: I knew that I wasn’t getting the real deal – after all Luca Turin holds Nathalie Feisthauer responsible for “defacing” the original idea – but I love anything green and I had to give this a try. After all how different can it be? And the bottle looks so cute, with that spherical cap, the lovechild of a thimble and a golf ball. Then a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to get my hands on a bottle of the 1991 formulation by Calice Becker, one that is still considered as acceptable in comparison to the green dragon of the 1945 initial release. KEEP ON READING

Tauer Sotto La Luna Gardenia

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As most perfume lovers know, gardenia flowers do not readily yield an essential oil or absolute, and thus the scent of gardenias is almost always recreated synthetically. The essential artifice of gardenia perfumes doesn’t trouble me at all; in fact, I think it’s a feature...

When the Whip Comes Down

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Perfumery has long had a (sometimes prurient) fascination with flagellation.  Fragrances with names like Coup de Fouet (Caron), Cravache (Robert Piguet), and Riding Crop (Demeter) all suggest the menacing danger and pain of the lash.  There are no less than three called whip—Whip (Black Phoenix Alchemy), Whips and Roses (Kerosene) and Whip (Le Galion).

The act of whipping evokes images of cruelty: slavery, abuse and sadism.  From Jesus Christ to Kunta Kinte the whip has inflicted punishment.  Pleasure, too, is associated with its sting, as illustrated by the character of Séverine in Luis Buñuel’s 1967 film Belle de Jour.  The riding crop—a whip in miniature—has been wielded by villains and equestrians in equal measure and in fact is used in advertisements for Guerlain’s Habit Rouge. KEEP ON READING

Testing captivating scents from Slumberhouse, Histoires de Parfums, Robert Piguet and Making of Cannes

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I begin here a series of posts that will consist of mini-reviews for some of the most interesting scents I have recently discovered and enjoyed the most. Some are new, some are well known and through my reviews I hope to get some of you consider testing them out.

Slumberhouse Kiste (2015) – A gourmand with a twist

This is the first scent from Slumberhouse that I tried and it immediately sparked my interest to explore the rest of the line. Fans of Arabie should give this one a try. Astonishing rich and potent (no wonder as this little 30 ml potion comes as an extrait) Kiste captures the smell of all sorts of exotic fruits left in the sun to dry. They become sugary and denser over time receiving some balsamic aspects. After a while a tone of tobacco comes at the surface along with a blush of earthy patchouli giving the scent a darker edge. Even if it touches the limit of sweetness, Kiste as experimental as it is and having nothing artificial manages to be easy to wear, so it will have its followers for sure. It could be an interesting choice for cooler days in autumn.
Official notes: tobacco, peach, scotch heather, tonka, henna, elderberry, patchouli, honey KEEP ON READING


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It’s no secret to my best fraggy friends that this year I’ve been on a particular perfume quest…..

……The Quest For GREEN

Everyone has certain notes and accords that resonate and add ‘flavour’ to the whole olfactory experience. Some like their patchoulis, roses, ambers, smokeys, etc etc.   Others are partial to categories such orientals, soliflores, chypres, floral, aromatics. What about colour? There are no ‘reds’, no ‘purples’, no ‘blues’ in perfumery (yet!), but there are mos def greens. And I love ‘em. KEEP ON READING

Visa mon amour: EdP, Perfume and the new V. Intense by Robert Piguet

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If you tried it bet you liked it. I do. Everyone does. Visa enjoys her status of everyone`s darling. Not only women but men too find Visa appealing, as it posses the perfect balance between bold and tender to please both crowds, thanks to Aurelian Guichard the talented perfumer who modernised in 2007 Germaine Cellier`s original work from 1945. The scent is playing on a dangerous field mined with fruity notes and it plays damn good avoiding any cliché, proudly standing its ground against the trend of boring fruity themes with gourmands tendencies. Visa is also talented in showing a different approach of leather AND patchouli, picking just the beautiful sides from both. The composition includes fruits, resins, flowers, leather, patchouli, wood and vanilla, but is not solely defined by any of them. The opening shows a summer fruits basket brightened by the freshness of a bitter green bergamote, then it transitions almost imperceptible to a warm central section dominated by leather accords mixed with a fuzzy, golden peach that somehow escaped from the top-notes and become more pronounced over time. In order to achieve the perfect illusion of a smooth and tangible leather, the spicy immortelles along the roses have been called to infuse the animalic note with a powdery floral scent making it more refined, so that it never errs harsh or too pungent. The smooth leather and peach combo finally melts on a base that belongs to a velvety mixture of resins with some vanillic aspects and touched by an earthy, sweet patchouli that gives a bit of oomph. The drydown is dense, plush, comfortable and effortlessly sexy. On skin I tend to perceive it differently depending on my mood as sometimes I get the impression it smells classic almost, like some glowy elegant scent from the past, but other times Visa seems to me so modern and edgy! So it`s one of those multifaceted perfumes that can absolutely fulfill many needs and for that I like to think of it as my signature fragrance. Imagine a glamorous rooftop party in Manhattan. Noise, live music, cigarette smoke floating in the air, the clinking glasses…She`s a redhead beauty with a modelesque figure wearing a slim-fit blazer and leather pants, all black. She`s holding a glass of fine Cognac and looks you straight in the eyes. She embodies Visa for me.

As for the Perfume…is less powerful as you`d think, being more like an acoustic version of the EdP`s tune revealing its delicate, angelic sides and is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever smelled – pure perfection. It keeps the same notes from EdP but plays them a little different, decreasing a bit their volume and smoothing them even more. Each small part of it seems to be deeply considered and flawless presented. It goes just briefly through the same vibrant, effervescent opening allowing that balmy mixture to pop-out sooner. The bergamote lends an evanescent shine to the opening here too, but is quite subdued and disappears in short time as a comet crossing the sky of a warm august night. The composition then dives directly into those smooth accords of dusty flowers melted together with fuzzy peach, resins and some suede like leather. This versions seems to pay more attention to the fruits and flowers who seem to flash out from a delicate painting and cares less for leather, as I don`t detect it here very much – is like a faint echo of its appearance in EdP. If Visa is a “take me out” type of scent, the Perfume edition is made for indoor due to its short sillage, but in turn it cuddles-up longer of skin.

Official notes for both EdP and Perfume are: peach, pear, violet leaves, Italian bergamot, yellow mandarin essences, ylang essence, rose, immortelle and orange flower absolutes, essence of Indonesian Patchouli and sandalwood, vetiver, moss and vanilla beans. KEEP ON READING

My Favorite Fruity Florals

in Reviews/Thoughts by

Maybe it’s old age creeping up on me, but I’m beginning to appreciate fruit-heavy fragrances in a way I have never done before. Key to unlocking a whole category that you’ve previously dismissed is, of course, finding one example of its form that steals your heart before you even know what’s happening – for me, that fragrance was Robert Piguet’s Visa. I ordered a sample of it as something as an afterthought (I was exploring the house of Piguet and didn’t want to leave one off the list), and let is sit in my sample box for over a year before finally trying it out in a fit of boredom one night. KEEP ON READING

Black Saffron: Fruit Leather with Volume Control Problems

in Reviews by

Black Saffron by Byredo

Black Saffron is not what I expected at all. In fact, when my nose was hit with a burst of fruit syrup notes, I had to check the box that my sample came in twice. Yep – the words “black” and “saffron” were definitely there. But before I even had a chance to reach up to scratch my head in puzzlement, the scent did a crazy volte face. What I smelled was….. wood shavings in a heated, covered horse-riding arena. How odd! This eventually settled into a fine dusting of sawdust that coated the main accord of the scent – fruity violet leather – giving the entire fragrance an unusual kind of musky, ashy “mouthfeel”. Although I assume the dustiness is due to the saffron, I was unable to detect any of that spice’s usual medicinal aspects. In fact, despite the presence of both saffron and juniper berries, I was unable to pick up much spiciness at all. Here, they seem to manifest themselves more as a textural component (ash, dust) than as a flavoring agent. KEEP ON READING

A new kind of tuberose: Nacre Blanche by Antonio Alessandria

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With hand on my heart I confess I always had, have and will be in love with the distinct smell of the white queen of flowers – the tuberose, or the “harlot of perfumery”as Roja Dove right calls it. Give me the most challenging scent based on a huge tuberose bouquet and I`ll faint…of pleasure.

My most beloved found treasures are the bold Fracas (my first niche perfume) and it`s Petit sweet modern sister, the transparent La Chasse aux Papillons, the sultry Carnal Flower, the sexy Beyond Love by Kilian or the classic beauty Jardins de Bagatelle Guerlain, but there is always place for one more. Or two, or three…

So here I am sniffing the whole day my sample of Nacre Blache that I picked up because of the promising official presentation and trying to resume in words the mystery of this scent. KEEP ON READING

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