Friday, 26 October 2012

Persolaise Review: Florabotanica from Balenciaga + Fetish Pour Homme from Roja Parfums + Pétale Noir from Agent Provocateur (2012)

This week, I give you three interesting twists on familiar themes. First up is Florabotanica, the latest from Balenciaga. Basically, it's yet another rose, but thanks to the skill of IFF perfumers Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault, it is also an intriguing exercise in creating something that appeals to a younger demographic without being condescending. In other words, it isn't a fruity patchouli based on a shampoo accord. Its floral heart is balanced at one end by melon notes (which are never allowed to grow too pink or silly) and at the other by a dry facet (possibly a combination of iris and cedar). The whole package works extremely well, from the scent itself, through to the presentation (the contrast between the retro-groovy bottle and the coiled, hyper-colourful vines on the box is superb) and even to the advertising campaign, featuring an inscrutable Kristen Stewart. Her laconic expression seems to say, "Don't come here if you're looking for clichés" and for once, the fragrance backs her up.

Do we need another leather perfume? Well, that depends on who's cracking the whip. When it's Roja Dove, you know you've got to pay attention, because his past work has provided ample evidence of his love for perfumery's most animalic ingredients. Fetish certainly plays up the smoky, burnt aspects of labdanum and castoreum, but it's also surprisingly soft and unobtrusive. Like a less spicy version of his own M for Puredistance, it tempers its leather heart with a wonderful lemon and lime combo in the top notes and a silky, intimate, highly enjoyable vanillic drydown. Most peccadillos are best kept quiet and Fetish certainly appreciates the value of discretion.

Finally, you'll all be well aware that this season has seen the release of several scents named noir-something-or-other. Most of them have been insufficiently Stygian to justify the black moniker, but Agent Provocateur's Pétale Noir represents a game attempt to bring a touch of gloom to the mainstream. Don't get too excited: it is essentially a fresh floral (mainly hyacinth and lily) on a familiar musky base. But it does surprise the wearer with an unexpected cumin note, which suddenly pulls the action away from a flower shop and straight into the realm of unmade beds, bare skin and tousled hair. Think: a tamer version of Theo Fennell's Scent and you'll get some sense of how it operates. And yes, it may be more brun than noir, but it's not half bad.

[Review of Florabotanica based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Balenciaga in 2012; review of Fetish based on a sample of parfum provided by Roja Parfums in 2012; review of Pétale Noir based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Agent Provocateur in 2012.]



  1. This photo looks like a 70`s velvet painting!! :-) On the samples subject - I just ordered a sample from a UK seller of an American scent - Lauder`s Amber Ylang Ylang - LOL!! Can`t find a mini, sooooo....just NEED the 3-some in this group of perfumes w/ the jeweled caps before they are dropped! :-)

    1. Linda, I know what you mean about the photo. Good luck with completing your collection. I love how we all use the word 'need' in relation to perfume :-)

  2. I rather liked my sample of Florabotanica, but not enough to buy it. It has some prominent note or other in common with L'Essence, which I already have, so I don't need both. I like the Kristen Stewart advertising, though. I'm not sure why, maybe because she's the last person you'd expect to endorse a perfume.
    Speaking of advertising endorsements, I recently saw the big photo versions of the Chanel No 5 adverts in Debenhams, and it looks like Brad didn't bother with any photoshopping. There he is, lines and all. Is it wrong that I kind of admire him for that? :-)

    1. Tania, I know what you mean about Florabotanica. It's the sort of thing that one can't help but damn with faint praise.

      I think I know the Pitt pics you're referring to, and yes, they're certainly much more realistic than his image in the advert. Does the presence of his lines warrant admiration? I don't see why not ;-)


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