Recently a generous friend on Basenotes sent me a huge sample goody bag of vintage juices. Vintage is an area I’ve never explored, and having tried a couple of these now, I feel like it’s an area I can imagine exploring a little more. I don’t think I’ll ever be spending 4 x previous retail price on half a bottle of used juice, but these have definitely been very interesting to try.
For now, I’ll start with one of my favourites of the bunch…
Poison Esprit De Parfum opens with a harsh, medicinal intensity. A clove note pushes to the foreground, along with the rich fruitiness of red and black berries. This spiced berry mix brings to mind the subtle heat of candied cinnamon and a tiny high-pitched screech of anise – a sweet, rich stew that on blind sniff I could’ve easily mistaken for a good Lutens.
After a couple of minutes, the florals present themselves. A creamy tuberose is hidden in the distance, but it pulls that medicinal opening into the heart. There’s rich jasmine sambac in here, not quite indolic but luscious and full bodied like a bouquet – paired with the tuberose, the white florals are syrupy sweet and overwhelming, they take on a honeyed texture that coats the skin in a dense layer of floral juice, rather than a scattering of dated petals. I use “overwhelming” in the best possible way, it’s almost edibly delicious and not at all as loud as I imagined.
A smokiness comes through from the base, a trail of incense? Maybe even sweet myrrh. The resinous undertone definitely brings to mind smoky incense and rich amber, sweetened with a rich vanilla. This oriental is pretty huge – the aroma is that of such a dark lacquer, it becomes almost gothic – I’m kind of craving for a sharp metallic edge to be cutting through the heart of it. Thankfully the sharp incense just about fills this craving.
As it dries down further, a heavy chop of timber sits underneath – sandalwood, maybe even cedar? Something raw, dry and smoky, it hits hard with a masculine edge, keeping the power of the opening throughout the life of Poison Esprit De Parfum. Along with the clove note that I still find prominent, there seems to be some kind of green, herbal mix trailing throughout the spicy floral. Whether it is a hint of rooty vetiver in the base, or there is some other clever work at play – something green and almost culinary seems to hind underneath the syrupy florals.
This is an impressive piece of work, full of textures, pitches and colours – but seamless in its execution. I have actually never smelt the original Poison (but have a little sample of it next to me which I will look at in time), but knowing its popularity, I don’t feel like I have smelt this before. Whilst it smells quite familiar – I can’t imagine it being particularly true to this juice.
The Esprit De Parfum smells like a classic – as pathetic as that sounds – but it is a high-personality, rich fruity floral with an oriental twist, that I think would be extremely hard not to enjoy unless you have been scarred through its overexposure before. For me, who has never smelt a Poison (knowingly), it’s a delicious scent that I wouldn’t say no to having in my collection.