New Perfume Review Fath’s Essentials Le Loden and Velours Boise- Wool & Velvet

There are several heritage perfume brands, now. This effort has seen a mixed record of success. Most of them either concentrate on modern re-formulations of the past or new perfumes inspired by the past. Very few try to do both, although I think it is essential to attempt it. A brand can’t live entirely in the past and a brand can’t choose not to evolve. It has been what has kept many of the heritage brands from flourishing. One which has become one of the leaders in how to do what I’ve described is Jacques Fath under Rania Naim.

Rania Naim

Mme Naim has looked back to the past beautifully recreating Green Water and Iris Gris; the great Jacques Fath perfumes of the past. The new versions have been overseen by someone who wants to get it as right as she can. Which I believe she has done. I cherish both new versions as I do the originals. She has also sought out young exciting perfumers on the new perfumes. For the Fath’s Essentials collection she has worked exclusively with Luca Maffei and Cecile Zarokian. They have delivered a series of fragrances which I have found true to the Jacques Fath heritage while also carrying the mark of Mme Naim and the perfumers. For the end of 2018 four new Fath’s Essentials have been released. Two by Sig. Maffei and two by Mme Zarokian. Today I am going to review the ones by Sig. Maffei followed by Mme Zarokian’s tomorrow.

Luca Maffei (l.) and Rania Naim

The two perfumes by Sig. Maffei were inspired by two fabrics used by Jacques Fath in his clothing designs. He takes that concept and creates two textural constructs.

In Le Loden he takes the heavy woolen fabric known for its use in coats and uses three sources of vetiver as his olfactory equivalents to the fabric.  He opens with Haitian vetiver in the background of a top accord focused on the energy ginger adds. This makes the Haitian vetiver a bit greener in effect which is kept that way by using baie rose’s herbal quality along with a green mandarin teasing out the citrus quality of this style of vetiver, too. In the heart the traditional Bourbon vetiver steps to the foreground. Some geranium picks out the floral quality. Juniper berry and raspberry leaves find the more obvious citric nature of this kind of vetiver. In the base the earthy Java vetiver uses patchouli to add to that quality while a bit of smoke seeps in around the margins. I found the intelligent use of the “heavy” vetiver ingredients similar to the way M. Fath took the heavy woolen Loden in creating something contemporary.

Luca Maffei

If there is a fabric M. Fath is known for it is velvet. Many of his iconic evening gowns were made of this material. I’ve always loved the tactile feel of the material it has always felt plush to me. Sig. Maffei, in Velours Boise, wants the same feeling for his “wooden velvet”. The wood he chooses to mimic velvet is one of the newer sustainable sandalwood extracts from New Caledonia. These have always struck me as softer than the original Mysore variety, but velvet-y is not how I would describe them. Sig. Maffei takes the sandalwood and finds a way to turn it into the fabric he’s trying to emulate.

It opens with the sandalwood in the central position. In the top accord Sig. Maffei chooses a couple of ingredients to sharpen the woodier nature with mate tea and davana. The softening process begins with a clever pairing of immortelle and carrot seed. These botanically sweeter ingredients flow across the creamy woody nature of the sandalwood. This is where the velvet effect comes to life. Over the base accord Sig. Maffei adds some whisky for a boozy contrast which retains the warmth. Some amber further deepens that. I have a scarf which I’ve turned into woody velvet by spraying it with a lot of Velours Boise.

Le Loden and Velours Boise have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’ll finish tomorrow with the two by Mme Zarokian.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Jacques Fath.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Perris Monte Carlo Cedro di Diamante- Beauty in Precision

One of the debates I remembered having with my friends who liked jazz was over trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. There was general disdain among some over the precision of his playing. The thesis was jazz needs to be more spontaneous. Wynton was so precise it couldn’t be contemporaneous at the same time. I was always on the other side of this argument. I appreciated the ability to pick out each piece of a greater whole as it was being put together. When you attempt to be as close to perfect as you can be in any artistic effort it can come off as cold. I find this kind of effort exhilarating because a single flaw can cause it to fall apart. There are perfume equivalents as Perris Monte Carlo Cedro di Diamante shows.

Gian-Luca Perris

At the end of the summer Perris Monte Carlo released the “Italian Citrus Collection”. Creative director Gian-Luca Perris collaborated with perfumer Luca Maffei on all three perfumes in the collection. Two of the three, Bergamotto di Calabria and Mandarino di Sicilia, were surprisingly generic. The third, Cedro di Diamante was not. One reason was Sig. Maffei worked with some of the more modern ingredients to create a citrus perfume which comes together into a brilliantly precise tower of perfume.

Luca Maffei

It starts with a CO2 extraction of the titular Italian version of citron. It enhances the floral spicy nature under the tart lemon. Sig. Maffei uses another CO2 extraction of lemon verbena. This provides a shimmering green-citrus effect over the early accord. The spicy part of the cedro is enhanced with ginger, cardamom, Szechuan pepper, and CO2 extraction of baie rose. When I speak of precision this heart accord and the way it interacts with the top accord is Exhibit A. I have spoken of how mutable Szechuan pepper is. Sig. Maffei wanted it to behave in a specific way. To get that, it is the other three spices which essentially tune it to what he wants. The ginger pulls the fresh aspect. The baie rose finds the green herbal-ness. The cardamom, particularly, finds the thread of citrus and uses it to attach to the top accord. This continues in the base as cedar, oakmoss, and white musks form a solid foundation for this tower to rest upon.

Cedro di Diamante has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

There may be some who find Cedro di Diamante such a shiny surface it is hard to embrace. I’m not there. It is easy for me to swoon over the beauty in precision this perfume exemplifies.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received from Bloomingdale’s.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Carthusia Terra Mia- Morning on a Mediterranean Balcony

There are a few brands which seem to preternaturally stay out of the limelight. Brands which make some nice perfumes. One of those is the Italian brand Carthusia. Carthusia Uomo has been a summer staple for me since I first discovered it over a decade ago. There is a consistent Mediterranean aesthetic which defines the brand. There is also a kind of vintage-like feel to many of the perfumes as they have been reformulated. They have not consistently released new perfumes preferring to rest on the collection of timeless standards. I was interested to hear about a year ago that was going to change.

I received a press release announcing the pending release of two new perfumes working with perfumer Luca Maffei. One, Gelsomini di Capri was a re-formulation of an original 2009 release. If you want a prime example of what I am talking about with the Mediterranean aesthetic Gelsomini di Capri is a good one. It is It is sunny citrus, sultry florals led by jasmine, finishing on a musky woody base. I like it, but I admit I was much more curious to see what Sig. Maffei could do if he brought his innovative style to a brand like Carthusia. The second new release, Terra Mia, is what I was looking for.

Luca Maffei

If you’ve ever traveled in this part of the world and are fortunate enough to have a balcony with a water view you might remember the scent of the morning. On the only occasion I had to experience this there was an orange grove in the distance and a rose garden right below. I would breathe in while my latte was sitting on the small breakfast table. It was just right. Sig. Maffei captures that as he delicately mixes in a couple of gourmand ingredients into the Mediterranean formula.

Sig. Maffei opens with a high concentration of bergamot matched with baie rose. This is like a “dawn accord” with the bergamot sparkling off the water far below. The baie rose captures the greenery waking up to the sun. It moves into a floral heart of neroli, orange blossom and rose. This captures the green of the baie rose and intensifies it through the neroli. The orange blossom provides a lilting contrast to the slightly dewy rose. From here is where we take a gourmand turn. Sig. Maffei pours a cup of coffee next to a sweet hazelnut-flavored pastry. This slides in under the florals as if serving them up on its own platter. It heads to an ambroxan focused base which captures a bit of the ocean off in the distance right at the end.

Terra Mia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Sig. Maffei has done a fantastic job finding the space within the Mediterranean to insert the gourmand accords. It makes everything richer and deeper. On the days I wore Terra Mia I was on a Mediterranean balcony in the morning.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Histoires de Parfums This Is Not A Blue Bottle 1.2- But It Might Be a Green Perfume

Abstract is a word which gets used a lot in relation to perfume. At its root, it is accurate as most perfume is an abstraction of using fragrance ingredients to re-create something in nature. Of late it has come to mean transparent. As fragrance has shifted to a lighter style “abstract” has become the favored adjective to describe that aesthetic. Accurate, I suppose, but it lacks intent. A recent collection from the Histoires de Parfums brand seems to want to bring some relevance back to the concept.

Gerald Ghislain

Gerald Ghislain has been one of the best creative directors in the niche perfume sector because he has been willing to push the perfumers he works with to achieve his vision. For the This Is Not A Blue Bottle collection M. Ghislain is having some fun as his artistic inspiration was surrealist Rene Magritte. The perfume name is a riff on the 1964 Magritte painting “This Is Not an Apple”. The first release now relabeled This Is Not A Blue Bottle 1.1 was composed by Julien Rasquinet and released a couple years ago. The two new releases 1.2 and 1.3 are done by perfumers Luca Maffei and M. Rasquinet, respectively. 1.3 feels like an evolution of 1.1 and as such I found it a bit derivative. 1.2 showed me something different.

Luca Maffei

Sig. Maffei forms a wall of climbing ivy bursting with flowers that never are found within that milieu. It is a surreal floral fragrance honoring Magritte as inspiration.

Sig. Maffei lays down a solid wall of green ivy which is given an herbal edge through baie rose. Besides green real ivy also has an acerbic green edge which is what the baie rose adds in. Then out of the green pops muguet which doesn’t feel so odd as the green foundation within muguet nestles among the ivy. Lilac and ylang-ylang do feel like party crashers. The lilac lilts over the muguet turning it more floral. Ylang-ylang provides that unctuous mixture where methyl salicylate is more prominent. The sweet salicylate is paired with vanilla in the base along with a creamy sandalwood. A flurry of white musks finish things.

This Is Not A Blue Bottle 1.2 has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Of all the perfumes in this collection I found 1.2 the truest to the concept laid out by M. Ghislain. This Is Not A Blue Bottle 1.2 but it is a very green perfume.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jul et Mad Bella Donna- Ferronniere Magnolia

Growing up in the south one of my favorite expressions was describing a formidable woman as a “steel magnolia”. The words are meant to convey a woman who is a combination of femininity and strength of character to withstand all that life throws at them. It means that even if the world was falling apart around them their outward appearance and courtesy was flawless. The phrase became more widely known after the movie of the same name was released in 1989. It may be parochial but that movie never captures the combination of gentility and grit the actual steel magnolias I met had.

La belle ferronniere by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1490-1496)

The new releases for the Jul et Mad Les Whites collection reminded me of this because one of them was inspired by the Leonardo da Vinci “La belle ferronniere” Ferronniere translates to iron worker and so the picture is iron worker’s woman. The perfume inspired by this is called Bella Donna with creative direction by Madalina Stoica-Blanchard and Julien Blanchard working with perfumer Luca Maffei. All three of the made a trip to the Louvre, where it hangs, prior to beginning work on Bella Donna. They would decide Bella Donna would be a contrast of the rigidity seen outwardly matched by the warmth of the passion underneath. That passion is symbolized by a central floral accord shaped around magnolia.

Luca Maffei, Julien Blanchard, and Madalina Stoica-Blanchard (l.to r.) getting inspired at the Louvre

Bella Donna opens with a zingy ginger and mulberry top accord. It is an energetic fleeting accord which I would have liked to have stick around a tiny bit longer. The florals are in a rush to get here and so they run over it with magnolia leading the charge. Magnolia can be a heady floral and most of the time perfumers choose to bring it down a notch by using woods to rein it in. Sig. Maffei is going the other direction turning it loose to form the nucleus of the heart of Bella Donna. He delicately powders it with iris and rose, adds heft with ylang-ylang, and uses jasmine to expand it all. Once it is all together this is a huge floral accord combining beauty and presence. The base is the warmth of benzoin, opopanax, and sandalwood.

Bella Donna has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Bella Donna expertly captures the idea that within femininity can also lie iron; or steel. Which makes Bella Donna the perfume of a Ferronniere Magnolia.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Jul et Mad.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olibere Savannah’s Heart- Blixen’s Heart

The idea of visiting Africa is one of those bucket list items I have yet to cross off. Ever since seeing Born Free in 1966 the idea of the wide-open spaces of Africa have held my fascination. Alas it seems my experience will remain through documentaries and writings. Like many one of the most vivid descriptions comes from Karen Blixen’s book “Out of Africa” which should not be confused with the movie of the same name. The movie focused on Ms. Blixen’s romantic entanglements against an African backdrop. The book tells of the day-to-day lessons she learned while operating a coffee plantation in Kenya. The stories related there have an authenticity of someone who lived there while trying to understand that which was surrounding her. The new perfume Olibere Savannah’s Heart reminded me of the book.

Marjorie Olibere

Marjorie Olibere began her fragrance brand in spring 2015 with five releases. I’ve only recently spent some time with those early releases. My favorite of those was perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s Balinesque. A mixture of spice, bamboo, ocean, flowers, and woods. It is a fast-moving aquatic Oriental. Mme Olibere showed within the debut collection her desire to give her creative team a lot of freedom. When it works there is much to admire and when it doesn’t quite come together it is a noble attempt to not be like everything else.

Luca Maffei

For Savannah’s Heart Mme Olibere collaborates with perfumer Luca Maffei. Sig. Maffei forms a fragrance which captures the way my imagination thinks the coffee plantation from “Out of Africa” smells like.

Savannah’s Heart opens on a strong combination of labdanum through which rhubarb provides an equally strong contrast. The rhubarb comes off as slightly sour and less earthy than in other applications. That acerbic nature sets the stage for the focal note of Savannah’s Heart, Arabica coffee Jungle Essence. I have spoken in the past about the supercritical fluid extraction technique used by Mane for their Jungle Essence raw materials. In this case it is like a laser cut version of coffee. Strong, slightly oily, a bit sour, and very rich. To add an even sharper perspective Sig. Maffei surrounds it with Norlimabnol. The dry woody aromachemical lifts up the coffee while making it more diffuse. It rests on a sandalwood and vanilla foundation. Both provide some alternative to the sour facets which had preceded them.

Savannah’s Heart has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I applaud Mme Olibere and Sig. Maffei for finding a unique take on the African experience that it could have easily been called Blixen’s Heart too.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Olibere.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Nobile 1942 1001- Luca’s Arabian Night

When it comes to inspiration for perfumes Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights has probably inspired as many perfumes as there were tales told in the story. If fragrances are tales told by the creative team then especially in the Oriental genre every perfumer should have the opportunity to enthrall a wearer for one night. Perfumer Luca Maffei takes his turn with Nobile 1942 1001.

One of the things I have admired about the Nobile 1942 creative team of Massimo Nobile and Stefania Giannino is since 2014 they have taken the brand in a new direction. It mainly consists of taking the well-known fragrance forms and giving them a contemporary shine. It has been an up and down effort but when there have been ups they have been very good. Working with Sig. Maffei they decided on a soft Oriental theme for 1001.

Luca Maffei

One of their inspirations was the written word. Sig. Maffei includes a papyrus focal point upon which he writes in notes of spices, flowers, and woods. The modern part of this is many Orientals take as part of their being to carry an intensity. 1001 is constructed to be a compelling soft-spoken voice of a storyteller inviting you near enough to hear.

A soft whisper of spices from a piquant susurrus. Ginger, cardamom, pink pepper, and saffron are like offerings given on an altar as each finds a place in the top accord. The watery green woodiness of papyrus arrives next. Sig. Maffei then uses the slightly spicy woody quality of turmeric along with rose to form the place from which the tale is being told along with the page it is written on. It is an abstraction of a scroll. The more traditional components of Orientals are in the base. Sandalwood, amber, vanilla, and musk end 1001 in a familiar place; which is where all well-told tales should conclude.

1001 has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I think the softness of 1001 turns it into a rare office friendly Oriental. By choosing to go very soft it doesn’t skimp on the most important characteristics of the genre. Instead it allows Sig. Maffei to tell his tale of an Arabian Night with a beautiful whisper.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

The 2017 Midterm Review

We’ve reached the midway point of 2017 which causes me to pause and take stock of what the year has been like in fragrance so far. In very general terms I think it has been the best year at this point since I started Colognoisseur in 2014. Here are some more specific thoughts.

Many of the leaders of artistic perfumery have stepped up in 2017. Alber Elbaz par Frederic Malle Superstitious is an example as perfumer Dominique Ropion working with the other two names on the bottle created a hazy memory of vintage perfume. Christine Nagel composed Hermes Eau des Meveilles Bleue a brilliant interpretation of the aquatic genre. Clara Molloy and Alienor Massenet celebrated ten years of working together with Eau de Memo; it turns into a celebration of what’s right in this sector.

The independent perfumers have continued to thrive. In the independent sector, very individual statements have found an audience. Bruno Fazzolari Feu Secret, Vero Profumo Naja, Imaginary Authors Saint Julep, and Tauer L’Eau. Plus, I have another four I could have added but I haven’t reviewed them yet. My enthusiasm when I do will give them away. There is a bounty of creativity thriving on the outskirts of town.

Standing out on their own. Two perfumers I admire struck out on their own establishing their own brands. Michel Almairac created Parle Moi de Parfum. Jean-Michel Duriez has put his name on the label and opened a boutique in Paris. Both show each perfumer allowing their creativity unfettered freedom to some great results.

-Getting better and better. I look to see if young brands can continue the momentum they begin with. The two Vilhelm Parfumerie releases; Do Not Disturb and Harlem Bloom, have shown this brand is creating a deeply satisfying collection. Masque Milano is also doing that. Their latest release Times Square shows creative directors Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi are unafraid to take risks. In the case of Times Square, it succeeds. Victor Wong of Zoologist Perfumes keeps trusting his instincts while working with some of the best indie perfumers. He and Shelley Waddington got 2017 off to a flying start with Civet.

-Mass-market has been good but not great. I have found much to like at the mall in the first half of this year. Much more than last year. My problem is I think I’m going to have to remind myself about these perfumes a year from now. I think they are trying to take tiny steps towards something new. It might even be the right choice for this sector of fragrance buyer, the exception is Cartier Baiser Fou. Mathilde Laurent’s evocation of fruit flavored lip gloss; that I’m going to remember.

The Teacher’s Pets are Rodrigo and Luca. Rodrigo Flores-Roux has always been one of my favorite perfumers. For 2017 he has returned to his roots in Mexico where he produced two collections of exceptional perfume. For Arquiste Esencia De El Palacio in conjunction with Carlos Huber they created a luxurious look at the country of their birth. Sr. Flores-Roux then collaborated with Veronica Alejandra Pena on a new line based in Mexico City; Xinu. These were perfumes which allowed him to indulge an indie sensibility. It all came together in Monstera a crunchy green gem of a fragrance. That leaves out the three Black Collection perfumes he did for Carner Barcelona; and those should not be left out.

Luca Maffei is one of the many reasons for the Renaissance of Italian Perfumery. In 2017, it seems like he is trying to prove it all on his own. He has been behind eleven releases by seven different brands. Taken together they show his exceptional versatility. The one which really shows this off is the work he did for Fath’s Essentials. Working with creative director Rania Naim he took all his Italian inspiration and transformed it into a characteristic French aesthetic. Nowhere is this more evident than in Lilas Exquis.

I am glad I still have six months’ time to find some daylight between these two for my Perfumer of the Year. Right now I’d have to declare it a tie.

My overall grade for Perfume 2017 at the midterm is a solid B+ there is much more to be admired than to make me slap my forehead. I am looking forward to the rest of the term to finalize this grade, hopefully upward.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Fath’s Essentials L’Oree Du Bois- Ode to Gold

We are told in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, “All that glitters is not gold”. When it comes to golden notes in perfume they tend not to glitter they more often glow. In Fath’s Essentials L’Oree Du Bois a study in glowing gold fragrance is proof of this.

Rita Haywoth cutting the cake at her wedding to Aly Khan (r.) in 1949

For 2017 the creative director for Fath’s Esentials, Rania Naim, collaborated with perfumer Luca Maffei on four new releases. The collection is defined overall by capturing the “la Joie de Vivre” that was designer Jacques Fath’s guiding light. L’Oree du Bois is the name of the wedding dress and trousseau M. Fath designed for actress Rita Heyworth on her 1949 marriage to Aly Khan. When you look at the wedding dress in the picture above you see a minimal aesthetic applied to a formal garment. It carries understated streamlined sophistication. All four of the new Fath’s Essentials designed by Sig. Maffei share that design aesthetic. For L’Oree Du Bois he finds a way of combining golden notes which glow but also finds room for some spiciness and bitterness to provide some bite.

Luca Maffei (l.) and Rania Naim

The focal point of the top accord is yellow mandarin and mimosa. The source of the mimosa is golden mimosa which is a version of the floral species which blooms in the winter. When these blooms capture sunlight, they illuminate in to tiny glowing orbs. In the fragrance, the mandarin plays the part of the sunlight transforming the mimosa into pulsing life. There is some neroli, ylang-ylang, and broom here but the main supporting note in the top accord is saffron. It disperses itself through the mandarin and mimosa like copper strands. A lively spicy intermezzo of cumin and cinnamon sets up the use of a honey raw material which has been isolated to give it a corona of bitter sweetness around the more usual viscous goldenness. The base is mainly a creamy sandalwood which supports all the glowy goodness that preceded it.

L’Oree Du Bois has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

One thing about Sig. Maffei is his desire to find a way to add new raw materials into his fragrances. The honey in the heart is that innovation. Sig. Maffei uses it as part of an ode to gold that is L’Oree Du Bois.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Fath’s Essentials.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret- The Shoulder Season

I’ve mentioned in the past we had family friends who had a proper expansive garden. Almost all my scent memories of flowers and gardens come from playing in that garden as a child. One of my favorite times in that garden was the shoulder season when spring has not quite given way to the relentless heat of summer. As my friend Buddy and I would run towards the garden the scent of the flowers at full bloom would reach our noses a split second before the green leaves and grass joined in. It was the moment when nature herself was a powerhouse floral fragrance.

Elisabetta Perris

One of the earliest floral powerhouse perfumes was 1912’s Houbigant Quelques Fleurs. It is not as celebrated as many of the other contemporary perfumes of the time but perfumer Robert Bienaime was trendsetting even though others would have more success with what was initiated in Quelques Fleurs. First is the use of aldehydes. Quelques Fleurs was one of the earliest to use them. Second was to trend away from single flower focal points. Most perfumes chose one floral ingredient followed by many supporting notes. M. Bienaime assembled an all-star floral chorus of lily, jasmine, rose, and carnation. Quelques Fleurs is an unsung innovator of the early days of modern perfumery.

In 2009 The Perris family acquired Houbigant and under the aegis of Elisabetta Perris a consistent effort has been made to honor the past while also making Houbigant relevant to the present day. Ms. Perris has done an excellent job by not hurrying the process. It has been a steady release of perfumes which have the style of the original Houbigant perfumes. As for the innovation Ms. Perris has chosen to work with perfumers who like to try new things. In 2015, she collaborated with perfumer Luca Maffei on Cologne Intense. Now she returns to Sig. Maffei to ask for Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret.

Luca Maffei

I imagine that a perfumer might take a deep breath before agreeing to do a new version of one of the classics. Except in my interactions with Sig. Maffei I have seen his affection for the historical. I have also seen his affection for wanting to write some of his own. Which means he tends to leave his fingerprints on anything he works on. The same is true for Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret.

Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret starts with a fabulous top accord of bergamot, mandarin, and neroli. The original opened similarly except the neroli plays a much more prominent role in the early going. This is a green indolic neroli which sets the stage for Sig. Maffei’s version of an all-star floral chorus as he uses magnolia, rose, and narcissus. This is an expertly blended accord of all three with the neroli providing background along with ylang-ylang and jasmine. Then a modern version of the vintage ambery musk base is composed of sandalwood, amber, and synthetic musks.

Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I have been spending some time with the original Quelques Fleurs in preparation to write this review. I found its power to be overwhelming at times. Which makes sense as the idea of how much is too much was just beginning to be explored in the early days of modern perfumery. Over a hundred years later perfumers have a much better idea of what is the correct balance. Which is why I prefer Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret to the original. It is just better balanced with all the same presence. As I enter the shoulder season this year Quelques Fleurs Jardin Secret is going to carry me back to my childhood in the garden.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Houbigant.

Mark Behnke