There are a lot of ingredients which are tailor-made to dominate a fragrance. Any number of big florals or the synthetic woods. One thing those all have in common is once they reach high concentrations, they tend to wear out their welcome. The proverbial case of the perfume wearing you. One way to make it interesting is to take that power and look for the fissures within. If you make smart choices, you can create something memorable like Anatole Lebreton Fleur Cachee.
Vanilla is one of those notes which can become monolithic at high concentrations. It can cause an olfactory cavity because it is so sweet. What I have found in the past is if a perfumer chooses to, they can turn that flaw into an advantage. Most don’t make the effort because it isn’t easy. Independent perfumer Anatole Lebreton takes the time to provide something which benefits from the effort.
One of the interesting things that M. Lebreton has been doing is he has been asking for creative direction from his fans. He created Fleur Cachee as a crowdfunded project. He told his funders he wanted to make vanilla perfume featuring two different sources a CO2 extraction and the absolute. They suggested ingredients to play off the vanillas and they also came up with the name. I’m not usually a fan of focus groups but this one succeeds because of the shared passion.
The perfume opens with timut pepper as the first ingredient to interact with the vanilla. Timut pepper has a pronounced grapefruit scent profile with a spicy cinnamon-like undertone. In the early moments it starts to take the vanilla towards warm cinnamon custard. At this point I expected a typical gourmand progression. This is where the focus group creative directors and M. Lebreton came up with a smart thought. Go in a different direction. It is accomplished by using turmeric and fenugreek. The turmeric moves the hint of dessert back towards a different vibe. It picks up the citrusy part of the timut pepper and turns it towards a greener spice blend. As the fenugreek adds in its dried grass quality the gourmand is left behind. It then takes this vanilla with veins of ingredients shot throughout and places it on a rich sandalwood platform. Just as with the vanilla M. Lebreton finds the proper balance to keep everything in play.
Fleur Cachee has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
M. Lebreton turns Fleur Cachee into an example of how to find and fill the spaces in between of a seeming monolith. The resultant perfume is a glimmering gem of complexity.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.