When I am referring to the “sweet science” if you’re reading this blog you might expect that I am talking about perfumery. The phrase actually is more commonly used to describe boxing. After a series of articles in The New Yorker by AJ Liebling with that title, it stuck. Those articles were meant to show that boxing was not about just bludgeoning your opponent. There was distinct strategy involved which would unfold over the course of a fight. If you executed; the path to eventually winning was through strategy as much as strength.
David Frossard the creative director at Frapin is a student of boxing. For the new release The Orchid Man he wanted a perfume to tell the tale of Georges Carpentier who carried that nickname into the ring. M. Carpentier would at the height of his career take on Jack Dempsey in Jersey City on July 2, 1921. This is widely regarded as boxing’s first million dollar gate. M. Carpentier would lose that bout and eventually retire from boxing to run the cocktail bar he opened in Paris.
For The Orchid Man M. Frossard collaborated with perfumer Jerome Epinette to design the fragrance that would capture the sweet science of M. Carpentier’s career. The centerpiece of any fragrance of boxing will obviously be leather but the choices of what surrounds it are very well thought out.
The Orchid Man opens with the bright lights of bergamot. Then M. Epinette begins to throw short spicy jabs of black pepper. Each one tickles the nose as it sets you up for the big punch. M. Carpentier was known for his “frog punch”. It was a straight right hand to the head that he would leap into to add more momentum. The heart of The Orchid Man is that punch made perfume. M. Epinette’s version of a leather accord is the smell of refined and used leather. The unexpected momentum which provides power to the leather is a healthy amount of jasmine. This is a knockout of a heart. Each time I wore it I was surprised at how well designed it was. The base tints all of this a shade darker as the lights are off and patchouli, oakmoss, and amber provide the grounding effect of a boxer on his way out of the ring.
The Orchid Man has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Frapin continues to come up with unique inspirations for their fragrances. The Orchid Man stands out as one of their best. M. Carpentier may not have brought home the title that July day in 1921. Messrs. Frossard and Epinette have found a way for The Orchid Man to win in a different arena almost one hundred years later.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Frapin.