The start of Un Crime Exotique as with many of the best Parfumerie Generale fragrances, is a delicious gourmand explosion. Here, a huge spicy gingerbread leaps off the skin, reminiscent of both German christmas cakes, and cracking opening the heavy glass lid on a holiday candle. The opening is actually really similar to Hansel & Dreidel by Smell Bent – unfortunately I no longer have my bottle for a direct comparison, but the opening here is a little sweeter, but less edible (it avoids the strong honey note that Hansel & Dreidel pushes forward).
Up top to make up this gingerbread yumminess, is a sheen of spicy black clove, lots of cinnamon sprinkles, nutmeg, the scent of bitter stewed tea leaves adding some translucency, and of course some spicy ginger. Un Crime Exotique is a warm spice basket, less literal than Tauer’s brilliant Eau D’Epices, but more wearable and mouth-wateringly appealing.
The spices mellow a little later on, as a really rich vanilla warms up from the base. Although another sweet note, the vanilla doesn’t become sickly, and instead mellows out the spices onto a more controllable level. The vanilla acts similarly to its treatment in my new-found love – Musc Maori, where it brings a “warm milk” accord – turning Un Crime Exotique from intense Yankee candle to snug chai latte.
The unusual note of brown sugar, the clever lead in Pierre Guillaume’s Sucre d’Ebene, makes a little appearance – surprisingly powerful enough to maintain it’s presence amongst the remaining ginger and cinnamon.
The cloves soften relatively quickly, they blend into the other spices to create a balanced gingerbread accord rather than standing alone as in the opening.
The predictable honey inclusion which I didn’t detect in the opening begins to show up – with the same consistency and dosage as Hansel & Dreidel - the fragrances have a lot of similarities. The only main difference being where H&D takes a musky turn towards the end, here in Parfumerie Generale’s spicy offering, sandalwood provides a woody support – smeared with the vanilla and made lighter with the inclusion of tea – I prefer this.
In the late drydown, it is also reminiscent of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea For Two – which was too intense on the smoke and cloves for me (I love me some smoke, but the clove inclusion proved too much). The vanillic sandalwood, with the bitter tea and spice has the same comfort factor and seasonal familiarity.
Un Crime Exotique is not something I would buy and wear, but I do enjoy to sniff it. It is extremely familiar and delightfully joyous – a perfect Christmas fragrance for sitting inside in the warmth when it’s cold out – I’d love to use this as a room/fabric spray more so than on my skin. Still, a lovely offering in the gourmand sector of Parfumerie Generale – a house who is constantly impressing me with the sheer diversity of a very talented perfumer, currently my favourite niche brand.
Un Crime Exotique 50ml Parfumerie Generale – £81.50 Les Senteurs