MMMMMMM! Unexpected love for this opening! I expected a standard Arabian incense, dry and peppered – I got something not too dissimilar to Putain Des Palaces by Etat Libre D’Orange.
I get a tangy, violet-laden aldehyde with a hint of leather underneath – candied sweet and again, not too far from Cuir Amethyste by Armani Prive. There’s just a hint of bright citrus’ up top, like a sugar-coated lemon peel, but quickly the sweet violet and high-pitched orange blossom take over. It has a sherbert-y texture to it, literally fizzy and almost “pink”.
There is incense under there – a light, ever so slightly metallic smoke – blended harmoniously with the now turning resinous violet.
As the violet effect begins to settle a touch, a rose seems to take over. Clean, with just a hint of exotic spice, and a slightly paper-y texture like the roses of Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if… they are completely different fragrances but the texture of the rose feels the same. Some jasmine – just a hint of rot but as good as clean, ripens the roses and bulks out the floral accord. The florals don’t dominate at all though… what does, is this hint of smoke, a sweet, candied amber-y base, and the leather!
Leather? Well, it’s a super soft suede in the style of Bottega Veneta, or Cuir Ottoman at a push… it’s supple, skin-like and a little salty. This is given a hell of a lot of lift and life by a musky ambergris and civet. The civet adds a plush richness and the ambergris makes the whole fragrance become this translucent-ish, multi-coloured hologram of a composition. Sweet shit, I sound like I love it don’t I? I kind of do.
It’s very nice – sharing similarities with a few fragrances I really love – but for me once the aldehydes burn off and that violet-thing going on at the beginning, it loses it’s buzz just a touch. I love the salty, musky, leathery base (although it’s much lighter and more gentle than I’d have loved to smell it)… still – it’s pretty gorgeous. The rose drying out into the leather, the hint of salt, a little sandalwood, the high pitch incense without a trace of pepper… well done Guerlain – you’ve impressed me.