New Perfume Review Ideo Parfumeurs Prison Blues- The Gilded Cage


I really enjoy receiving my packages from Europe which have new brands within. It is always an exciting moment when I try something entirely new to me. I received my sample set of the new Ideo Parfumeurs line about a month ago. The four initial releases surprised me.

Ideo Parfumeurs are the creations of husband and wife Antoine and Ludmila Bitar. M. Bitar is described as “The Storyteller” on the website less prosaically he is the creative director. His stories provide the inspiration for Mme Bitar to create the fragrance as the perfumer. Their heritage plays into this brand as he is Lebanese and she is Algerian. They are based in Beirut which they see as a “gateway” city to multiple cultural influences. One of the things which stands out upon trying their perfumes is this idea of fusing differing influences into one. It is most apparent in London to Mumbai where they mix a very proper British lavender-based fougere with an Indian tuberose and cinnamon heart. It could just be a clash but it works; perhaps better than it sounds. Malika’s Temptation takes a fabulous praline accord and drops it into a woody base accord dominated with oud. Weekend a Fontainebleau is the most typical as it is a riff on a floral chypre. The one which enchanted me right from my first sniff was Prison Blues.

antoine and Ludmila bitar

Antoine and Ludmila Bitar

To get an idea of the storytelling as brief that M. Bitar uses here is the description of Prison Blues from the website, “Inside a tent in the desert, Khan is sitting on his Kilim, a rugged sabre on his knees. A woman serves his cardamom rice. The young man smiles, but his thoughts are elsewhere. He remembers his daring escape from the palace of the governor. At regular times, the incense blended with the agar wood walls. The aromas diffused in the air, and mixed with the patchouli and geranium radiating from the clothes of the governor’s wife. She often watched him from a small pit in her maid’s room. Khan escaped, but he somehow misses the aromas of his luxurious prison.”

Where Mme Bitar goes from that is to use cardamom, geranium, and oud as the keynotes. With the cardamom she adds in a humid effect to mimic the rice from the brief. That dish is also spiced with bay leaves and pepper in tiny but noticeable quantities. I love cardamom and this steamy effect is marvelous. Using the green hued rose character of geranium along with a spiral plume of incense the oud has partners to work with as it comes to the foreground. The three notes from the exotic walls of the gilded prison. The base accord is patchouli, labdanum, and musk. All of these deepen the trio at the heart of Prison Blues.

Prison Blues has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am impressed with this debut collection. M. and Mme Bitar have done a creditable job in their first attempts as an independent perfume brand. If their future releases are similar to Prison Blues I’ll happily stay in this fragrant gilded cage.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample from Ideo Parfumeur.

Mark Behnke