Friday, 10 August 2018

Persolaise Mini-Reviews: April to July 2018 [part 1]

For more mini-reviews, please click here.

Orage from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Fascinating beast. Its studied non-violence makes me think it should’ve been called Apres L’Orage, such is its subtle, whispered handling of citrus, magnolia, iris, patchouli & vetivert. Then a weird, damp quality emerges and you’re delightfully perplexed. 

Sur La Route from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Musky cologne very much in the style of Mugler Cologne, made more interesting by the sweet, powdery, spicy undertones in the base. An amenable travelling companion. 

Au Hasard from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
With a brave - almost off-putting - dryness, this tears rose and incense straight off a busy Mumbai street and applies it to a well-textured sandalwood. Both crisp and velvety. Compelling. 

Nouveau Monde from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Heads up - this is the oud-y one. But to give it its due, there’s more here about cocoa, apple, grape, sugar and suede than there is about agarwood. The new world is a gluttonous orgy of chocolate, wine and candied fruit.

L’Immensité from Louis Vuitton (Jacques Cavallier; 2018)*
Without question, the weakest of the Vuitton masculines. Every guy cliché (gliché?) you can imagine, from sporty citruses to crass, amber woods. Immensely dull. Thousands of bottles will be sold. Of this I have no doubt.

Rain Wood from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2018)*
As slow-paced as water spreading across blotting paper - blurring dyes as it goes - this mixes grassy greens, banana-like starchiness and knuckle-rough woods to create a convincingly dewy picture. Becomes less interesting as it develops, though.

Angelica from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2018)*
A veritable herb salad, sprinkled with fresh lemon dressing and peppery, cucumbery, onion-y accents. Rather pale and wan, but certainly curious. 

Mist from Perfumer H (Lyn Harris; 2018)*
A hard-to-describe, very vertical composition (it appears to possess great height) that both attacks and envelopes with woods, musks, benzoin, leathers and greens. A suede factory hiding in thick fog. Quite mysterious. 

Memoire Du Futur from Eaux Primordiales (Arnaud Poulain; 2015)*
Candle wax aldehydes and orange-blossom-inflected incense create a fuzzy, milky vision of childhood. Shades of Chanel 22 and Etat Libre Divin Enfant

Champ D’Influence from Eaux Primordiales (Arnaud Poulain; 2015)
An effective - if rather chilly - exercise in retro aesthetics, with mosses, lavender and geranium. Those who miss bitterness in perfume would do well to check this out. 

Abstraction Raisonnée from Eaux Primordiales (Arnaud Poulain; 2015)*
With its Burtonesque whirlwind of Tiger Balm sharpness, rhubarb, grapefruit and vetivert, yes, I’d say it earns the right to call itself abstract. 

Poets Of Berlin from Vilhelm Parfumerie (Jerome Epinette; 2018)*
Sickly, quite uninvolving sugary grass, with iris and a thick vanilla note. Turns out the wordsmiths were on cheap cocktails and gummy sweets every night.

Bleu parfum from Chanel (Olivier Polge; 2018)*
Nearly 10 years after Chanel caused a monumental shrug of disappointment with their first iteration of Bleu - and about 4 years after the most recent one - comes the parfum version. Yes, it’s smoother. Yes, it’s marginally more elegant. Yes, it’s less confrontational. But it is still essentially the same animal: a simplistic, citrusy, woody amber, this time with the cedar and sandalwood facets made more prominent. So, I concede that, unlike the first incarnation, it isn’t quite the same herd of razor-blade-carrying wildebeest rampaging up your nose. But it is still a sizeable quantity of wildebeest. Maybe a small posse. And, sadly, it does still deserve to be called Bleeeeurgh. Expect it to do ridiculously well at the tills. — If current release cycles are to be trusted, there’s a strong chance that at some stage in the next 3 to 4 years Chanel and Olivier Polge will give us a brand new masculine. Dare we hope for something that could proudly stand next to Pour MonsieurAntaeus and Égoïste

Apres L'Ondee from Guerlain (Jacques Guerlain; 1906)**
Yes, that’s right: this was released 112 years ago! And sure, it smells of a bygone era. Yet, in some senses, it could have been made yesterday, such is its immediacy and passion. Powdery, almond-like and iris-centred, it is quite simply one of the most heartbreaking - and heart-stopping - creations of perfumery. Tragic and romantic in equal measure, it’s like every sad melody you’ve ever heard distilled into a single essence. And ultimately, it is its sadness that makes it so beautiful.

Eau Noire from Christian Dior (Francis Kurkdjian; 2004)**
I've thoroughly enjoyed re-acquainting myself with this scent's distinctive - and influential - mix of coffee with liquorice and lavender. Herbal, sweet and floral, it’s one of very few noire-named scents that genuinely warrant the reference to the colour. Black not just in terms of its caffeine bitterness but also in its compelling, day-shunning temperament, it’s a masterpiece that seems to say both ‘approach me’ and ‘stay away from me’ at the same time. Of course, the odd thing about it is that its juice is green... but you can’t have everything.

Al Oudh from L'Artisan Parfumeur (Bertrand Duchaufour; 2009)**
Of all the oud scents out there, the one that’s always struck me as having the hairiest body and the most earthily carnal attitude is this one. Yes, it displays all the requisite wood facets, but it mainly achieves its funky feel through a no-holds-barred use of cumin, making full use of all of the material’s pungent, heated sweatiness. As playfully dangerous (or dangerously playful?) as a lecherous satyr, it’s one of the lustiest pieces of work ever released by the brand. And it’s all the more compelling for it. Grrrrr...

Jungle Homme from Kenzo (Olivier Cresp; 1998)**
It’s a shame this has become hard to find, because it’s one of the best ‘clean spice’ combos ever poured into a bottle. Nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom served up with a suitably Japan-esque sense of restraint and minimalism. In the drydown: a smooth, milky sandalwood, lending the whole an air of well-fitting ease, like a gentle afternoon stroll along your favourite sunlit street. Beautiful work.

Paris from Yves Saint Laurent (Sophia Grojsman; 1983)**
When it came out, everything about this perfume was perfect. The romance of the rose. The balance of the fruit notes. The intimacy of the musks. It was a complete heart-stopper and it made you believe the perfumer had poured every single ounce of her emotions into that iconic, multi-faceted bottle. A true classic.


* sample provided by the brand
** sample obtained by the author


  1. "Gliche" & the "posse of wildebeest" reference had me giggling to myself - kudos to you again, Persolaise, for your way with words!

    1. Carolyn, what can I say? Some perfumes are more inspiring than others... ;-)

  2. Great mini reviews as usual! And so funny too!

    1. Thanks very much indeed, Richard, as always.


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