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Monday, March 15, 2010

Annette Neuffer Narcissus Poeticus: fragrance review & a draw

"Just a drop on each wrist and two in the bath were enough to send silver running down the walls" wrote French Vogue editor Joan Juliet Buck once upon a time, referring to an absolute of narcissus, properly named Narcissus Poeticus in Latin or Poet's Daffodil (it's a kind of daffodil after all). And she continued: "It set the world throbbing out of contol when I wore it. It became a little weird. It was only years later that I read inhaling too much of it can make you go mad". Makes you want to rush out and find out where narcissus absolute is available, doesn't it!
Yet narcissus absolute is almost never used in industrial calibre perfumes because of its scarcity and minute yield, which makes the cost prohibitive. Once upon a time it entered such romantic compositions as Worth's Je Reviens, but certainly not any more.
Therefore, upon being informed that indie German perfumer and jazz musician Annette Neuffer had prepared her own version of this intoxicating spring flower which spots the fields of my homeland right about springtime, I was immediately reminded of the above trivia. Annette reassured me that the fragrance "actually srceams for you - the indolic flowers gal". Can you say I've made my proclivities well-known...The dice was cast and predictably I was toast upon the very first vapour.

Because you see, all-naturals Narcissus Poeticus is heady, bedazzling, Bacchic, mind-blowing and beautiful, there's no other way to describe it! The tale of Narcissus, struck by Nemesis for his egotistical admiration makes you understand well just how this little flower can truly madden! The fragrance by Annette blends luscious, vibrant, natural essences, weaved into a dynamic composition; I have had it evolve on my skin, and each day there is a new nuance to be revealed, one day it's the jasmine, another what I perceive as orange blossom absolute (the genius pairing first conceived for Narcisse Noir by Caron) and another yet I get lots of yummy tonka bean. The inspiration came through early botanical fragrant evaluation excursions in Annette's Grandma's garden: "I was about 1,5 years old then. In spring there were lots of narcissus, jonquils and violets in bloom and their scent fascinated me already in that very early age of about 15 months! My grandma told me that I never put the flowers in my mouth, like all little kids do, but picked and inhaled them. The garden was located between forest and river and the most exciting humid crisp green scents were wafting around and intermingled with the air of the flowers".

This spring awakening is translated into Narcissus Poeticus. "Galbanum is the personification of that fresh spring green elusion and matches wonderfully with the essence of violet leaf. And a little later on in the year the fruity and fresh black currant buds - I used the absolute of it very sparingly to give a hint of fruitiness". Those who are afraid of the bitter green tang of the exotic grass of galbanum should sigh with relief, here it's weaved in very smoothly without dominating. Narcissus with its intoxicating, sweet, yet at the same time almost smoky vibe, poised between jasmine and hyacinth, is represented in all realism here; as if the white blooms are sprouting in front of your computer-weary eyes from the landscape painting across the wall.

You'd be hard pressed to peg this fragrance only as a floral or a green, nevertheless; there is an intimate, unsettling (deeply sexual) vibe about it, like a warm pillow where a beloved head had slept on the night before and you're clutching it in the morning, the memory of the scent even more precious than the reality lived, to paraphrase Henry Miller and his sexy Tropic of Cancer. The inclusion of blackcurrant buds adds a touch of of naughtiness, buttressed by honey and ambrette seeds, two essences that speak in intimate, hushed tones of lust and shared moments. A floral exalted into an animalic that can still behave, meowing its yearning. The slight hint of a dark chocolate edge presents itself throughout, something that puzzled me, as I suspected patchouli in minute amounts. Annette confirmed that indeed it is the green leaves of this exotic bush that mollify the floral notes and extend them. Paired with the classic vanilla-sandalwood-tonka accord, the base of Narcissus Poeticus is veering into the comforting.
The version I have is ultra-smooth pure parfum (the new and improved version 2010, not her older composition) and the lasting power for an all-naturals fragrance is quite satisfactory, although don't expect it to outlast a spring day's welcome.

Notes for Narcissus Poeticus by Annette Neuffer:
Head: Bergamot, Clementine, Tunisian Neroli, Violet Leaf, Galbanum
Heart: French Narcissus Absolute, Tunisian Orange Flower Absolute, Indian Tuberose, Egyptian Jasmine*, Bulgarian Rose Otto*
Base: Vanilla Absolute*, Mysore Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vegetal Musk

*certified organic, organically grown

Narcissus Poeticus by Annette Neuffer is only available through her site, Opulentals at NaturParfum.net
For our readers, curious to experience this scent in pure parfum, a small decant will be given away to a lucky reader. Enter a comment and you're included in the draw Draw is now closed..

Related reading: Avicenna by Annette Neuffer

Painting The Loss of Virginity (or Spring Awakening) by Paul Gauguin via wikimedia commons. Pic of narcissi via ruhr-uni-bochum.de.
In the interests of full disclosure I originally got to test the perfume through the perfumer herself.

67 comments:

  1. Kill. Me. Now.

    No, wait--I need to smell this before I go. Holy favorite notes, Batman! I'm not afraid of the "tang" of galbanum--in fact, I often like it very much--but am intrigued by your description of how it is handled here. Sandalwood? Tonka? Animalic?

    Poet's Narcissus are among the first things I plant in my own yard when I have to move, or for that matter, anyone who will let me. Such a haunting, connected to the earth beauty...and an ephemeral, very much connected to the turns of the earth.

    Cap it all off with the fact I grew up with jazz, and I think I've got to make the acquaintance of this one. Maybe I'll get lucky and find it through your draw. :)

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  2. Anonymous16:27

    Oooh, this sounds divine--Ireally fell hard for vintage Narcisse Noir, but I'd love to try a narcissus without the tobacco overtones. Please enter me in the draw.
    Thanks, Disteza

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  3. stella p16:32

    I would very much like to try this perfume! became a fan of her Avicenna after reading about it on your site, and also have tried a rose scent of her that I liked almost as much. The notes of thsi one sounds delicious, and your addition of the Franz Marc in your presentation makes it even more tempting to try (I love Blaue Reiter)

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  4. stella p16:35

    ps: read it is Gauguin, not Marc. Similar colors, and the animal

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  5. That sounds lovely! Please count me in for the draw. I'd love to smell this for myself!

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  6. Anonymous16:45

    "Narcissus Poeticus": sounds utterly gorgeous. No wonder Wordsworth took to ambling around the hills and fells in search of hosts of golden daffodils:-) Let me at it, please.

    cheerio,

    Anna from Edinburgh

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  7. I need this; I need this now.

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  8. Those who are afraid of the bitter green tang of the exotic grass of galbanum should sigh with relief, here it's weaved in very smoothly without dominating. Narcissus with its intoxicating, sweet, yet at the same time almost smoky vibe

    Oh that sounds lovely. I already adore galbanum greenery anyway, but this sounds gorgeous.

    Hi! I have all these Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab samples for you, if you'd like to try them.

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  9. I am - intrepid and interested, even... intrigued. A very long time ago, I wore Narcisse Noir to death - how I dared at that age, I have no idea - and ever since, that note of narcissus has haunted me in places and at times where I least expected it. So anything that gets reviews this glowing I simply. Must. Try. Now.

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  10. Wow. I need to take a cold shower after that description.

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  11. Anonymous17:07

    Your description was fabulous!
    Who doesn't want art, love, and life in a bottle, please enter me in the sample draw.

    DB in ME

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  12. Would love to try this!

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  13. Nancy C.18:14

    Wow! Sounds fabulous. I'd love to get a sample.

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  14. Maria B.18:45

    I love Le Temps d'Une Fete by Parfums de Nicolai, which also combines narcissus with green notes. Have you tried it? I'd love to try this one.

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  15. Zazie19:56

    Lemming!
    This perfume sounds heavenly, and I love Narcissus as a note! green, leathery, floral, bittersweet at the same time... It is meant for me! ;)

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  16. Chris G19:56

    The notes sound right up my alley. Please enter me in the draw. Thanks!!
    Chris G

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  17. Anonymous20:41

    I would be glad to get it. Alica - alica@cleis.net

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  18. S,
    it's all that indeed, I really fell for it first thing, which is a sure sign of persistent infatuation.
    I think it's among her very best and it's all around lovely!
    Good luck!!

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  19. Disteza,

    this one has the delectable orange blossom of NN without any tobacco, instead tonka and a somewhat intimate, musky aura; very naughty, very fun!
    Best of luck!

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  20. S,

    so glad you got to try Avicenna, isn't it fabulous? She is tweaking the fragrances whenever a superior material becomes available and I think she has reached excellence with that one.
    NP is truly beautiful and it puts spring in mind like few other things!

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  21. And yes, they're quite close, you weren't far off!

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  22. Matt,

    you're included, this is luscious and lovely. Good luck!

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  23. Anna,

    welcome, what a wonderful reference, I can transport myself into the fields hunting for the paperwhites. Hope you get to try it!

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  24. Nbh,

    yes, you do! Crossing my fingers for you!

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  25. P,

    galbanum is rather hard for the non-die-hard "greens" fans, although obviously you're not among those shying away. But here it's a passing rush and then it's on into white flowers, luscious and inviting!

    Please do mail me again for more on the BPAL, I'd love to try! I can't find your mail!! *hangs head in shame*

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  26. T,

    sounds like you were one to pave your own path... :-)
    Narcissus is a gorgeous smell, I have no idea why anyone could not like it. It IS haunting!
    Best of luck with the drawing!

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  27. Krista,

    LOL, thanks! I think! :-)

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  28. DB,

    aww, thanks! It's rather glorious when all good things can be summed up elegantly in one little thing that we can enjoy, isn't it?
    You're in!

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  29. Datura,

    hope you win!

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  30. Maria,

    great thinking, yup, that's another good one, LTDF, very lovely! Mossier though.
    This one has the all naturals "feel" with an ever evolving heart.

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  31. Z,

    I sincerely hope you get to try it out! best of luck; it's gorgeous!

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  32. Chris,

    glad you think so, you're in so maybe you will soon find out for yourself.

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  33. Alica,

    thanks for commenting, hope you win!

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  34. Please ma'm, enter me for the draw, I LOVE narcissus! Thank you :)

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  35. Oh it sounds so wonderful...I love narcissus and have planted many bulbs. Right now my gardens are full of them, so it must be spring!

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  36. It sounds lovely! I'd like to try it.

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  37. I remember reading that Joan Juliet Buck thing ages ago, and found myself wondering just how a simple smell could have such a profoundly mind-altering effect. I've certainly never smelled anything that made me hallucinate! But if Chloe Narcisse did in fact have the smell of narcissus, then I think I might like it very much, 'cause that was an amazing perfume.

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  38. Geordan124400:17

    Wow. I've got to try this... Almost ready to pull out the cc and purchase unsniffed, and this isn't what I typically find myself drawn to... Anybody doing a split, or is that even possible with this?

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  39. I was going to try to leave a pithy comment but I'm having trouble catching my breath, this sounds so beautiful!

    xo

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  40. Now I've got to go home and try on my decant of Narcisse Noir =) In the meantime, I'd take some Narcissus Poeticus =P

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  41. Wow... I would to smell this, E. Please enter me into the draw.

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  42. OMG, I'm already swooning here and I didn't even get to try it. :) Please enter me in the draw so I can hope. :)

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  43. I'm all for Rip van Winkle narcissi. Small, with full blossoms, bright yellow. I guess I have a weak spot for kitsch in gardening.
    And yeah, I want haz a sample. As always:D

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  44. Gisela07:41

    This is awesome, I know her music but I had no idea she has perfumes also! And with these notes - swoon..

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  45. Sounds great, I would gladly try it...

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  46. Mystic Knot10:41

    Helg- please enter me in the draw. Narcissus is a note I am currently crazy over ! :) This new perfume sounds fabulous - where can one buy it ?

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  47. Mystic Knot10:43

    OK Helg - saw the link at the bottom of the article !

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  48. Anonymous12:00

    Please, count me in the draw :)

    Agata

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  49. It sounds exciting, beautiful, and slightly outside my comfort zone, but in a good way. I'd love to smell it! Please include me in the draw :)

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  50. That sounds like a perfect way to welcome the vernal season: Spring in a bottle? Hope I get to sniff and tell!

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  51. After reading this and checking out her website, I'm tempted to purchase the sample set...but please include me in the draw if it's not too late in the meantime. Thanks!

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  52. Anonymous13:41

    I'd love to be included in the draw. I'm Susan in Memphis and I like surprises.

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  53. Sounds amazing! Would you please enter me in the draw for this lovely concoction?

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  54. london13:43

    This is my favourite flower. I would love to be entered in the drawing.

    Many thanks

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  55. Oh. Ohh. OHHHHH.

    Narcissus. It's one of the notes that I didn't know I loved until I smelled it, and it was such love right away.

    The only version of Narcisse Noir I have smelled was the current one, and it does not smell of narcissus at all to me. I was so disappointed. Le Temps d'une Fete, though, is full of it, and so is Lumiere Noire.

    I would love to smell this.

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  56. Anonymous16:02

    ^Thank you for the beautifully written review, as always. Please enter me for the draw. When I was a student, I lived in a very minimal studio apartment for a while. To cheer myself up, I forced a pot of narcissus bulbs in an old fish bowl I bought in a thrift store-- the little apartment was dense with the sweet aroma of those flowers. I think narcissus flowers bring fantastic dreams. Would love to try the sample--Mary

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  57. what an wonderful, evocative review...your words really come alive!! i would love to enter the draw, if I'm eligible here in Buenos Aires, Argentina :)
    p.s. thank you for your always amazing blog!
    love,
    Melina

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  58. I wore Je Reviens parfum from the sixties until sometime in early 2000 when they reformulated it one too many times and lost too much of its beauty. That was probably the one and only HG I'll ever have. This one shares many notes in common, including of course, the narcissus. And as always, E., your review elevates it to divine status. This one has moved to the top of my Must Try list.

    Wonderful review as always. Donna

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  59. I wore Je Reviens parfum from the sixties until sometime in early 2000 when they reformulated it one too many times and lost too much of its beauty. That was probably the one and only HG I'll ever have. This one shares many notes in common, including of course, the narcissus. And as always, E., your review elevates it to divine status. This one has moved to the top of my Must Try list.

    Wonderful review as always. Donna

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  60. Lauren01:54

    Oh, I hope I'm not to late to comment. I would love to try this.

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  61. PUT ME IN THE DRAW

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  62. Parfymerad10:25

    Hope I'm not too late - would love to be in the draw...my husband just bought me a massive bunch of narcissi, and their scent is filling both sitting and dining room...truly heavenly. I want to smell like this! Thanks for a lovley review.

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  63. Anonymous20:05

    I love the smell of narcissus,to me it is spring. Please enter me in the draw. Rosie

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  64. Elizabeth03:55

    Narcissus is one of my favorites- paperwhites in winter can't be beat! Please enter me, if I'm not too late... Efcharisto!

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  65. I'd love to try this!

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  66. Thanks everyone for the participation! Winner has been announced.

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