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.
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.
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.