As we hit August even when sheltered at home it is the time of year when watermelon is served often in Poodlesville. Because of the local lavender farm there are a lot of lavender bunches around, too. I hadn’t associated the two as the scent markers for this time of year until I tried Parle Moi de Parfum Haute Provence 89.
Perfumer Michel Almairac has produced one of the best perfumer-owned fragrance lines. Ever since he opened his store in 2016, he has been keeping to an aesthetic which has produced an outstanding collection. It is best summed up in three words “keep it simple”. M. Almairac has made an attribute of using four or five multi-faceted ingredients and allowing them to find their levels. One of the interesting aspects of the names for the perfumes is the number at the end represents the number of mods used to arrive at the final product. The collection has some single digit versions and some triple digit ones. Haute Provence is at the upper end of the collection in terms of this numerator. I have no way of knowing but it is probably because M. Almairac chose to work with Calone, or a close analog. To get the balance right here definitely took effort. Haute Provence 89 was meant to capture summer trips that M. Almairac took to this part of France. He wanted to capture the lavender and watermelon days of the end of summer.
It opens with an expansive lavender given prominence to its herbal nature. It is joined by the Calone-like ingredient. Calone is the ingredient which launched the aquatic genre. It is well-known for having a melon scent within the sea spray. The reason I think this might be a Calone analog is it seems inverted as the melon has the lead and the sea spray is found underneath. What this does is turn the ingredient to an airier sweet fruitiness reminiscent of watermelon. The lavender and the watermelon go together in a beautiful reminder of midsummer. As much as I enjoyed this M. Almairac had one last piece to add which made this perfume even better. The rich dark floral of narcissus slides underneath the lavender and watermelon. It adds an end of day sunset vibe grounding the openness of the early going.
Haute Provence 89 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
If you are one who despises Calone because of its melon note I can tell you this is not going to be your cup of tea. If on the other hand you are curious to see a different use of it to entirely unique effect Haute Provence 89 should be on your test list. It captured the late days of summer at my house when lavender and watermelon are the indigenous scents.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.