Testing at high altitude, 2

Still on my mountain holidays I have all the time that I need to spray myself with anything I get my hands on and enjoy the surprises.

Fleur d’Iris, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier (Jean Laporte or Jean Paul Millet Lage or Frédéric Stalin, take your pick, one never knows with MP&G fragrances): This has a lovely very doughy iris opening, slightly bitter, reminds me of the opening of many Guerlain perfumes, but here it lasts longer. The floral part of the composition comprises of a trademark MP&G accord of rose and violet. The doughy iris remains there however throughout the development keeping the flowers from getting too cute. This is my perception of this as many have complained that the rose is so strong that it completely takes over. I don’t get this. To me this is one of the most beautiful iris scents because the bitter, doughy iris note stays strong. So I suggest you try this to see which way it goes for you.

Bois d’Ombrie, Eau d’Italie (Bertrand Duchaufourd): Have I told you how great all Eau d’Italie fragrances are? I guess I have but every time I smell one of them I can’t help but admire Duchaufourd’s talent. This is a woody, spicy composition with a dark undercurrent. I can smell traces of the bitter, vegetal accord exaggerated in Sienne l’Hiver but here it is kept on a tighter leash making this more wearable. What this vegetal note reminds me is dried beans, soaked overnight. If you crack open one of those beans and smell up close this is what it smells like. There is a lot of iris in this but it wasn’t obvious to me until Simone of Mais Que Perfume classified Sienne l’Hiver as a stellar iris fragrance. It didn’t make sense to me. Then one day my partner put on one of my fragrances. “Dzonghka?” I asked. “No”. I tried a little more and I identified it as Sienne l’Hiver. They are both Duchaufourd creations but Dzonghka is to me a classic iris. So if I mistook Sienne l’Hiver for Dzonghka then I finally must have seen the iris in this and Simone was right. The same bitter iris note is here, in Bois d’Ombrie, together with a woody opening and a spicier base.

Cozé No2, Parfunerie Generale (Pierre Guillaume): PG perfumes are not agreeing with me very much because almost all of them are past my diabetic alert sweetness mark. This is definitely a perfumer who likes sugar in his creations. Cozé opens spicy, peppery and warm. It is good. And then the skies open and it starts raining sugar, sweet chocolate, syrup and the whole thing ends up smelling like an instant hot beverage mix. High quality but too literally gourmand for my tastes. The sweetness is so tenacious that slowly it goes above everything else at least to my nose. I am not the most objective judge when it comes to PG fragrances but gourmand lovers swear by Pierre Guillaume’s name so if you are on the lookout for complex gourmand fragrances this is a line worth exploring. Addendum: hours later the sweetness is exhausted and I get I beautiful chocolate-tobacco accord on my skin.

Paestum Rose, Eau d’Italie (Bertrand Duchaufourd): At first there is rose. A sombre, wet rose. But quickly it becomes obvious that this is not a straightforward rose soliflor. Warm spices and a jammy quality make this a gourmand rose. I can smell cardamom and dried apricots. Underneath all this the Eau d’Italie signature bitter, wet accord adds layers of nuances and a subtle melancholy. Beautiful fragrance!

Cuir Venenum No3, Parfumerie Generale (Pierre Guillaume): usually any fragrance with “cuir”, “leather”, “cuoio” in the name can’t go wrong with me. As much as I try to smell any one of these words in this perfume I fail tragically. All I get is chocolate covered maraschino cherries… Crushed and mixed to a paste with marzipan and some sugar thrown in to make everything stick together. Joop Homme fans rejoice! I try to pin down a leathery, tar note and it is probably there but just because the perfumer added it it doesn’t mean that he also succeeded in making a leather fragrance. There is nothing leathery to my nose but instead a bitter-sweet poisonous potion. Don’t get me wrong but if you are looking for a leather this is not it. If you are looking for a gourmand fragrance get your spoon and dive in.

Aomassai No10, Parfumerie Generale (Pierre Guillaume): Ohhhh this is gooood…! So, so good! What is it? Coffee, hay, bamboo, tea, honey, tobacco, please don’t stop. This is definitely not the first time I am smelling this but I do not remember it making such an impression. It is sweetish but all the herbal qualities balance the edible side Pierre Guillaume loves so much. Something milky lurks in the background. I get a Fougere Bengale vibe from it. The intense hay/blond tobacco accord is probably what links them. This is probably the best PG I have ever tried. Addictive, makes me go back and sniff again and again. Addendum: …and eventually the diabetic caramel note pokes its face through the other notes.

Iris Taizo No 14, Parfumerie Generale (Pierre Guillaume): Now I am confused… There is no reason to believe that this is not a composition rich in iris. But why drown it in the oh so familiar cherry-bitter almond Parfumerie Generale accord and how could poor, delicate iris survive the assault? Well, it didn’t! Another perfume from this line that vaguely reminds me of sweet liqueur without focusing on anything specific. It is a nice fragrance but using the word “Iris” on the name is certainly a poor choice.
Addendum: in the deep drydown there you get some iris drowned in what seems to smell like Chartreuse liquer.

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About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. Mmmm, I love Aomassai. It does indeed have caramel sweetness, but also a whole lot of other interesting scents commingling with that burnt caramel. Sounds like the PG line is not for you, but I can think of one you might like (that I don’t) that is both weird and not sweet: Harmattan Noir. Have you tried it, Christos? I’m thinking it might be the PG for you.

    Hope your holiday in the mountains is cool and relaxing for you.

  2. I’m in for Fleur d’Iris. Gotta try it!

  3. Eau d’Italie = love for me too!

  4. I am intrigued with Fleur D’ Iris (I like the house anyway). PG’s most leathery iris is Cuir d’Iris (reminds me a lot of the leather accord found in Vierges et Torreros, raw, dirty, animalic). In Cuir Venenum you don’t see the “Cuir” and I don’t see the “Venenum”. A leather note (Suederal+civet ?) is well hidden behind this huge and very realistic (to my nose) Beer note. A nice mature black lager with hints of cigarette smoke wafting in and out and a pair of dried out old army boots without lining (no socks included 🙂 . Looks more faulty than conceptual but it’s worth just for the olfactorial adventure. It is strange you find it sweet though.

    • I get Chartreuse where you get the beer. It is a very old sample and I remember feeling exactly the same way when I smelled it fresh so there might have been some sort of reformulation to tune the leather up. But it is so sweet….

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