New Perfume Review Panouge Absinthe Gaiac and Patchouli Figue- Syrupy and Ripe

Following up yesterday’s reviews of Datura Amaretti and Rose Agathe with the remaining two entries in the Matieres Libres collection, Panouge Absinthe Gaiac and Patchouli Figue.

Absinthe Gaiac is exactly what I expected. Which is the outlier of these four releases. The other three presented such different interpretations of their inspirations. The reason perfumer Patrice Revillard maybe felt he didn’t have to push too hard for something different is the absinthe accord in this is marvelous. One of the things perfumers miss, is the viscosity of absinthe as you pour it from the bottle. M. Revillard creates a wormwood laden version which oozes throughout the composition.

Patrice Revillard

That accord is what opens things. It has a thickness to it that is very appealing. He uses violet leaf to add a bitter corona around it all. What I often refer to as a “rose in a fisted glove” accord comes next through leather and rose. This is equal parts both ingredients. What I enjoyed is the absinthe coats both forming a goth night vibe. It goes more deeply in that direction as amber and patchouli form the base.

There is a point at the end of every summer where a fleeting moment happens. It is when the fruit on the trees has been harvested and there are a few left. Those are verging on overripe. At this moment they are giving off their natural scent in pulsing waves. Underneath it all is just a hint of the coming rot which will cause it to fall off the branch. I adore this moment of fecundity. Perfumer Marie Schnirer captures it in Patchouli Figue.

Marie Schnirer

She uses two very pronounced iterations of fig and pear. Usually perfumers work with a greener version of both. Mme Schnirer goes the other way mimicking my on the verge of decay version I get in real life. Both are right out in front. This is a soft fig which is oozing through breaks in the skin. The pear is full of sweet juice which flows in rivulets. Together they form a potent fruity accord. I’m not usually fond of this kind of fruity intensity. In this case I want to roll around in it. A little thread of rhubarb tries to bring things back into balance only to have cocoa and patchouli sending it off on a delightfully Willy Wonka detour. As it coalesces it feels like a decadent dessert served at a farm table with the last fruit off the trees.

Both perfumes have 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am going to finish where I started with praise for creative director Rania Naim. She gave these two perfumers as much freedom to create as they could ask for. It results in a collection which pushes at expectations. If you’re in the mood for something different from your perfume this collection delivers.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Panouge.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Panouge Datura Amaretti and Rose Agathe-Liqueur and Metal

One of the things I have attempted to do as long as I have been writing about perfume is to give credit to creative direction. As I began my learning curve on the way fragrance was created, I learned the person in that position is critical to a brand’s success. There are many of them for whom the brand and the creative director are synonymous in my head. I can’t think of one without the other. Then there are a rare few who do it across multiple brands with varying aesthetics in each case. One of my favorites is Rania Naim.

Rania Naim

Mme Naim is working again for the brand Panouge as she oversees the Matieres Libres collection. The name translates to “materials in freedom”. It also shows the faith Mme Naim has in talented perfumers. In this four-perfume collection she turned to perfumers Patrice Revillard and Marie Schnirer to each create two. I am going to review all four today and tomorrow starting with Datura Amaretti and Rose Agathe.

Patrice Revillard

Those who read my Sunday column know I enjoy making cocktails. One of my favorites is a mixture of two liqueuers Cherry Heering and Amaretto called “Cherry Pie”. The interplay of sweet cherry and boozy almond as the scent of it is part of the appeal when I make it. M. Revillard was thinking of poison flowers and De Medicis as he composed this. We may not have been seeing things the same way, but Datura Amaretti is fun.

The way it comes together is through a syrupy cherry the slightly boozy datura and the toastiness of almond. It is this which creates the central accord. He uses cedar as a foundation but the pleasure of this is all in that cherry pie cocktail for my nose.

Marie Schnirer

I am beginning to believe that if a rose fragrance has rose oxide in it that I’m going to enjoy it more. Rose Agathe has a lot of it, and I really like it. What Mme Schnirer does is to start with that metallic variant of rose as her nucleus. In the early going she embraces the chrome-ness of it all as if this is a metal rose. Elemi and black pepper provide a reflective surface for the rose to encounter. It changes as the base goes leathery. She uses that accord almost as if this is a rose brooch on a jacket. She then completes this with a stony accord of damp rocks. Bringing this around again to metal and stone in a fascinating scented rondo.

Both perfumes have 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Tomorrow I will review Patchouli Figue and Absinthe Gaiac.

Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Panouge.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jovoy 21 Conduit St.- Lavender Light


In these early days of the new year it seems like lavender is going to be one of the keynotes for the coming spring. Anything that can take some of the space from rose after rose is welcome to me. Because of my proximity to a lavender farm I am getting a wider knowledge of all this multi-faceted ingredient offers. One of the things I have noticed when out at the farm is while the lavender is still on the plant there is a freshness to it. This isn’t usually the way a perfumer chooses to interpret it most of the time. Which is why Jovoy 21 Conduit St. stands out.

Francois Henin

Jovoy owner and creative director Francois Henin has been expanding from his Paris store. One of those is to London in Mayfair. The name of the perfume is the address of that store. Oli Marlow is part of the staff at the store. He had been working for a while on his own lavender accord which captured that brightness I was speaking of. When he showed it to M. Henin they decided to flesh it out into a fully formed perfume. to help with that perfumer Marie Schnirer would collaborate with Mr. Marlow to create 21 Conduit St.

Marie Schnirer

I don’t have any way of knowing this, but I suspect that the accord that Mr. Marlow showed M. Henin was what I sensed at the top. Where Mme Schnirer’s hand might be seen is in the latter stages where a woody liqueur forms to match it.

If you were going to harness the brightness of lavender, it makes sense to surround it with citrus. That is what the opening moments of the perfume do. Grapefruit and orange add that typical sunny quality that they are known for. Where this turns is rhubarb and pine are used to further give lift and light. The rhubarb already has the grapefruit-like part down. What it also imparts is a green vegetal piece. This is what the pine resonates with, creating a spring fresh breeze over the lavender. If I am right this early going is why Mr. Marlow caught the nose of M. Henin. The remainder of the development goes in an unexpected direction as an amaretto accord creates a syrupy boozy almond which vetiver and ambroxan add themselves to. This forms an accord which made me think of a liqueur I would never want to drink but I would like to smell like. It is also notable for the balance of the ambroxan in not letting it become monolithic and boring.

21 Conduit St. has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am probably simplifying the pieces of who did what in composing this. What I don’t want to get lost in my amateurish need to pick things apart is how good this is. It moves through its two phases wonderfully. I know I’ll be writing about many more lavender perfumes over the next few weeks. There will not be many better than this one.

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

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jovoy Pavillon Rouge- Pirates of Old Hollywood

The life of a pirate has always been an object of fascination. For the current generation Captain Jack Sparrow has imprinted his swashbuckling charm onto the screen. While Johnny Depp has created a modern take on the genre it has also added some dirtiness to it. You might not want a perfume which picked up some of the scents of the things we see in the Pirates of the Caribbean. As one much older I was inspired to make a home-made eye patch along with a sword out of a broomstick by Errol Flynn. I watched the 1935 film “Captain Blood” whenever it came on our local UHF TV station. Mr. Flynn was a Pirate of Old Hollywood. Finely coiffed, a crease in his pantaloons, and shiny new blade. Even the shipboard scenes looked like drawing rooms on the waves. When I read the promotional materials for Jovoy Pavillon Rouge I realized this was an Errol Flynn style of fragrance; not a Johnny Depp one.

Marie Schnirer

Jovoy creative director Francois Henin chose perfumer Marie Schnirer to create this Old Hollywood Pirate perfume called Pavillon Rouge. This is a mannered construct of an unrealistic depiction of a pirate. Even so it has a cocky grin Errol Flynn would be proud of.

We find our well-coiffed buccaneer in the hold examining the sacks of spices he just took off the burning ship astern. He takes a swig of the fine whisky while the smell of the spices from the pillaged sacks rises underneath. He muses that the scent of booze and spices smell like victory. He accepts his leather jacket from the crew member who washed the blood off. It adds a nice contrast to the whisky and spice. He walks to the other side of the hold where the sacks containing black tea, dried leaves of tobacco, and coffee all swirl around the boozy leather clad pirate. He emerges from the hold to the cheers of the crew. As he relaxes in his polished wood captain’s quarters the remains of the scents of the hold remind him it was a good day for the Pavillon Rouge.

Pavillon Rouge has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Pavillon Rouge is a classic style of perfume capturing a classic style of pirate. I enjoyed unleashing my Pirate of Old Hollywood sans eye patch and broomstick.

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

Mark Behnke