Friday, 29 June 2018

Persolaise Review: Orange Mauresque from Chopard (Alberto Morillas; 2018) + Rose Seljuke, Jasmin Moghol & Miel D'Arabie

One of my fondest memories of a summer spent in Marseilles is of a North African sweet shop not far from the Rue d'Aix. At both the beginning and the end of a day of sightseeing, Madame Persolaise and I would find some excuse to cross its threshold, order a mint tea and indulge in sinful quantities of glossy pastries. Those of you familiar with the cuisine of that region of the world - and if you’re not, seek out your nearest tagine without delay! - will know that it makes liberal use of floral waters, especially those derived from orange blossoms. The ingredient pulls no punches, and to the uninitiated, it can come across as downright odd, what what its singular balance not just of citrus-floral facets, but also of metallic elements, which create an effect not unlike that of sucking a silver coin. However, those who get past the initial ‘what the hell??!’ factor are then treated to a multi-layered, stimulating, greed-inducing gastronomic experience, which soon leads to an all-out addiction to the little confections with their curvy shapes and crispy-gooey textures.

You can see where I’m going with this. When I first sniffed Alberto Morillas’ new Orange Mauresque for Chopard - part of a quartet of fragrances inspired by lush gardens - I was immediately back in Marseille, using one hand to raise a glass of tea and the other to pinch another pastry. Everything in this scent is spot on, from the woody-sweetness of the citrus note to that requisite, steamy metallic quality (which, incidentally, we also saw being expertly employed in Malle’s Cologne Indelebile). And precisely because it’s so photo-real (or should that be ‘gusto-real’?) it makes you wonder what on earth it is that you’re smelling: a syrupy gourmand lined with white petals, or a citrus floral with a calorie fetish? Thankfully, before those geeky musings become too taxing, the composition has you salivating at your wrist and searching your garden for any mint leaves to throw into your tea. It’s an irresistible treat, right up there with Morillas’ finest work and commendably light on his trademark use of modern musks.

In case you’re wondering, I’d say the only other release in the foursome worthy of your attention is Jasmin Moghol: like the long-lost sister of Penhaligon’s criminally-unsuccessful Amaranthine, it takes its central material and links it up to the sugariness of a banana note as well as the nocturnal depths of tuberose to create a delightful haze of decadence. You can easily picture some Maharanih reclining her head on a jewelled pillow doused with this stuff. Rose Seljuke is gorgeous at the start: a tempest of peppers and coriander stirred in a cauldron of petals by an uncompromising Lady Macbeth-like figure. But it doesn’t have a great deal of lasting impact. And Miel D’Arabie manages to sustain some interest with its brave mix of tannin-like pomegranate and an unexpectedly rasping honey note. But as it progresses, it seems to lose its sense of identity and ends up being rather nondescript.

[Reviews based on samples of eau de parfum provided by Chopard in 2018.]


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