Persolaise Review: Papyrus Oud from Parle Moi De Parfum (Michel Almairac; 2018)
It’s not often in perfumery that you’re given an opportunity to witness a scent-maker revisiting and honing a particular idea. Two examples that come to mind are Edmond Roudnitska following a train of olfactory thought through Femme, Diorella and Parfum De Therese, and Jean-Claude Ellena refining his various tea compositions. Now we have the case of Michel Almairac and his Gucci Pour Homme from 2003. A justly-adored beauty when it was released, it presented an almost heart-breaking, geometrically-impeccable balance between the fleshy delights of amber, the Sahara dryness of cedar, the facetiousness of pink pepper and the meditative wisdom of incense. Like Eau Sauvage and Habit Rouge, it was one of those conclusive, line-in-the-sand statements on masculinity, bridging the gap between the overtly macho releases of the 80s and the more emotionally literate works that followed. In their infinite wisdom, Gucci discontinued the scent, but a few years ago, Almairac returned to the same structure when asked to create Bentley For Men Absolute. The core accords were immediately recognisable, but they had been darkened by heavier woods. And in 2018, for his own Parle Moi De Parfum brand - co-created with his sons - Almairac presents Papyrus Oud: the same, perfect core, now given a very subtly Middle Eastern twist. In fact, so gentle is the oud note, I wonder if it should’ve been mentioned in the name at all, as it will no doubt lead some to expect a different sort of scent. But never mind. The master has refined one of his finest works, and we’re all the richer for it.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Parle Moi De Parfum in 2018.]