~by Mike Perez
Some fragrances play the part of the “quiet, silent type”. Let me explain: Strangely, there are fragrances that I’ve sampled that smell like nothing at all. Well…not nothing…but it smells as if a hole has opened up in the air and for a few minutes there is a blank space where the top notes belong. Like pushing PLAY on your IPod and watching the track begin (0:00, 0:01…) and no music plays. This has happened to me several times and I have no idea why. However, most of the time (luckily) scents that start out this way usually turn out to be fragrances that I grow to love. Like Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain.
Before this I sampled the ‘classic’ lavender fougere by Guerlain: Jicky. The Eau de Toilette was too excessively talcum powder prominent, and although I could appreciate the lavender, it felt uncomfortable and slightly matronly on me.. Jicky Eau de Parfum is a shocker: so embarrassingly civet prominent in the top notes, I was instantly repulsed. Waiting for those top notes to calm down took a bit too long and tiresome so I considered sampling the parfum next when I got a sample of MdM.
The first time I sprayed it – I smelled a tiny bit of the Guerlinade, but that was it. Nothing. Sample off? Nose fatigue? A second time, I smelled a bit of the lavender but nothing as spectacular as the Aqua Allegoria Lavande Velours by Guerlain – a gushing lavender / purple violets that’s almost aroma therapeutic . The 3rd time I smelled it I was instantly greeted with a totally different accord – the familiar style of perfumery like Jicky – but swirled together into an entirely different pattern. Jicky remixed into a sturdier more solidly constructed accord. Wonderful! Perfect balance, with all of the parts of Jicky that I wanted: exceedingly high quality lavender, rosemary and bergamot; that unique fern aura; the rich Guerlinade – they are all here, but blended into the civet and woody notes in a richer and luxurious way. The fragrance evolves with a quiet, floral heart giving the patchouli a sophisticated, powdery nuance. Small parts of it remind me of wearing a refreshing eaux cologne, yet it simultaneously retains subtle and important details of Guerlain’s classic feminine fragrances. Not an easy feat.
It doesn’t scream for attention – it is essentially a subtle fragrance, hushed – making its presence known in tiny whiffs here and there, throughout the day, all day. It is, perhaps, for this reason why I couldn’t smell it when I first sampled it. There’s not a blast of aldehydes or synthetic woody ambers to diffuse this scent quickly. And the lavender, sometimes extremely medicinal and sharp, is soft.
I admit – I’m the quiet, silent type myself. At a cocktail party, you’ll find me off in the corner checking out the host’s CD collection instead of socializing and interacting with others. I speak very little but when I speak, I choose my words very carefully…looking you straight in the eyes.
I’m okay being this type of “guy”. It’s who I am. It’s who my father is. Problems come and go. Challenges are thrown my way... I have horrible days, just like everyone else does. I choose to keep all of that inside, most of the time – introspective, reflective and calm to everyone. Only when you get closer to me, do I open up, and only then will I reveal what’s going on underneath the surface.
Just like Mouchoir de Monsieur.
Notes for Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904):
Top: lavender, lemon verbena, bergamot
Middle: jasmine, neroli, rose, tonka bean, patchouli, cinnamon
Base: Iris, amber, vanilla, oakmoss
King Juan Carlos I of Spain (depicted) was reputedly one of the few purveyors of Mouchoir de Monsieur before Guerlain decided to re-issue it more widely.
Pics of Cary Grant, Mouchoir de Monsieur bottle and Juan Carlos of Spain via Mike Perez
Monday, October 12, 2009
~by Mike Perez