This year's spring season in Western Europe was a downer. With temperatures ranging from the sweltering and humid to cold and windy, summer still seemed distant, and dressing for Spring a herculean task.
To counter the unstable weather and sustain you through the summer months, here are two quick olfactive recommendations with a sweet twist, to welcome the imminent sunny days ahead.
Histoires de Parfum's 1725 is one of the very first fragrances released by Gérald Ghislain, the brand's founder, all the way back in 2001. A gem of niche of perfumery that I unwittingly ignored for far too long.
1725 is an ambery fougère of spectacular beauty, opening on a powerful citrus blend of lemon and grapefruit, seasoned with discreet touches of licorice and star anise, which nimbly gives way to a heart of lavender and vanilla notes after a short while. These notes might seem overwhelming put together – which they would be if they weren't balanced so carefully, as the fragrance manages to feel well-rounded from the get go.
As the more aggressive top notes slowly tone down over time, a sweet almond scent that comes and goes behind the sandalwood and the cedar base notes smoothens the fragrance to a masterfully balanced drydown, that keeps fairly close to the skin.
A very sweet and luminous fragrance indeed – masculine too, though slightly androgynous – and deeply seductive. Without being overly original, 1725's beauty comes from its exceptional balance, which allows the perfume to remain deeply pleasant as you catch whiffs of it throughout its 6 to 8 hours lifespan (your mileage might vary depending on your skin type. Try it before you buy it). Perhaps slightly too heady for extreme outdoor warmth, but ideal for tepid summer days – light enough not to make your head whirl, yet with enough staying power to remain potent for hours, with a very decent staying power and sillage.
Quite simply, a beautiful, well-rounded, deeply competent piece of perfumery.
++ : Superb balance, subtle, and very easy to wear
--- : Won't strike anyone as overly original--likely purposefully designed as such.
Regular PG Readers know that I, personally, love L'Artisan Parfumeur : the archetypal niche perfumery, founded in Paris in 1976 – I reviewed Fou d'Absinthe by the same house in an article published in these columns almost two years ago. If you wish to read about it, see the link at the end of the article.
Méchant Loup is quite the oddity, and yet another fantastic creation by the great Bertrand Duchaufour, released in 1997. Woody, spicy, but surprisingly well-rounded, Méchant Loup opens on an unusual but pleasant mesh of licorice, orange, and basil, drenched in a syrupy (but never overly sweet-sweet) aroma, as if the top ingredients had been candied in raw, spicy mountain honey. Notes of hazel trees and nuts can also be felt quite early in the fragrance's lifespan – giving the first few hours of Méchant Loup quite the bucolic charm, like a pleasant stroll on a woody path, on a fresh spring morning.
Lyricism set aside, Méchant Loup is a quite peculiar yet deeply charming beast. As it dries down with lots of heart and subtelty too, even more spicy and resinous notes show up : you can feel a bit of smoke and a few animalic hues a couple of hours in, yet Méchant Loup is not quite the big bad wolf. It's a great deal more reputable, if not every bit as eccentric.
More so than any recent recommendation, do try it before considering a buy, as it's not for everyone. But if you're seduced, then Méchant Loup will be the source of a great deal of pleasure.
++ : Deeply original, deceivingly subtle, strongly evocative, and incredibly pleasant to wear for those who enjoy its unusual olfactive profile.
--- : Perhaps too adventurous for some.
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