Sunday, September 23, 2012

Robert Piguet's Bandit to be Reformulated (Again)

The Robert Piguet company is compelled to revise the formulation of one of their beloved classics by perfumer Germaine Cellier, the bracing ‘Bandit’ perfume due to compliance with the latest regulations on allergens/irritants in the fragrance industry.


According to Basenotes: The current formulation was praised by Luca Turin and Tanya Sanchez in their perfume guide, but with changing regulation the company says it needs to address the issue: “The IFRA regulations on oakmoss make things so difficult for that perfume” says [Joe] Garces [CEO of Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics] “If you keep changing and keep tweaking things you could end up with a different thing. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ve asked [perfumer] Aurelian [Guichard] to look at the whole thing again, to go back to the very original formula and take it from there.”

 Given Guichard's delicate impressionist hand as opposed to the brutal fauvism of Cellier, could this pose a risk on effacing the sharp character of Bandit? Remains to be seen. Let's be hopeful and hope that we can sample for ourselves soon.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Bandit by Robert Piguet perfume review & history, Robert Piguet news & reviews


  1. what I don't understand about the whole oakmoss issue is how they set the acceptable levels in a perfume. In the same vein there should be acceptable levels set on honey, sesame and nuts in all foods since they are potential allergens with much more dire consequences. Bottom line is if something gives you a rash, don't use it any more and return it to the shop. If something is carcinogenic then ban it. End of story

    (hope no one reads this and issues a ban on pasteli :O)

  2. I read the sad interview too. If Guichard does to Bandit what he did to Visa, we're doomed. Not that Visa was bad, but Angel du cuir is not a destiny one wants to imagine for Bandit. Futur's reissue wasn't bad - but I don't think it was Guichard's. Nor have I smelled the original.

    To avoid depression, the rest of the interview was fun, though. I laughed myself silly at the delicate East Asians requiring dilute waters.


  3. Oh no! Thanks for the heads up, Bandit is one of my absolute favorites, I think it's time to by at least one back-up bottle!

  4. I would like to second Kostas' comment above. They don't outright ban nuts in all foods, do they? I will never understand why the perfume industry decided to bring this great calamity upon themselves.

  5. I'm sure there is some hidden catch somewhere patuxxa

  6. Anonymous16:30

    Bandit has been reformulated so many times I suppose everyone has their own individual favorite. I like the current one precisely b/c on my skin it is actually linear and approachable, almost a second skin; an easy go-to. Go figure.

    I watched some of the recent videos with Joe Garces who I now have a major perfume crush on - he's been a great steward of the company so hopefully he will handle this well. It sounds like reformulation is preferable to the 'death by tweaking the current formula' that would be the alternative ... if the new regulations are prohibitive. Also, cacio doesn't like Visa but Guichard did a great job with Futur. I think reformulation will be handled better at Piguet than just about any other house else I can think of. And hopefully they will have preservation in mind as a model for reformulation, this versus modernization.

  7. Anonymous16:32

    LOL, forgot to sign my comment above,


  8. *sigh* A reformulation was inevitable re: the oakmoss. I just hope the new version doesn't render it neuter and bland. Bandit is meant to be bad.

  9. K,

    I hope pasteli is safe with us for a loooong time still ;-)

    Now, on to this strange issue. I believe the skin irritation/sensitization experiments do have a threshold of exposure which can be measured hence the percentages allowed in a formula. (Obviously frequent or heavy users run a higher risk).
    On the contrary even trace amounts of nuts can be lethal as far as I know (hence the labeling on foodstuff "has been produced in factory which processes nuts, etc.) So there is a difference.

    Carcinogenic is a different matter because new and updated research suggests that all cancer is genetically preprogrammed (and responding to genetic manipulation), so there are only aggravating factors rather than direct environmental causes (I know this for a fact for specific cancers' research).
    Besides, scientific research is not totally devoid of the old hat "dependency" on funding etc. It's a bit like trying to prove an archaeological theorem, if I may turn it to my own field of expertise: start with an impressive theory and build it up by amassing clues and proof to back it up; it worked for Troy, it worked for Mycenae and hundreds of other things. Of course one could run in the other direction to begin with!
    Only there's much more money in medicine, pharmaceuticals and...cosmetics/fragrance, rather than in archaeology ~so there goes your answer. ;-)

  10. M,

    Joe Garces is very mindful. I think he will try for the best and Guichard is talented enough to do all that's humanly possible. I do doubt whether it's technically doable to do these kind of fauve creations anymore, though. :/

  11. Eva,

    yeah, looks like it, doesn't it.

  12. Patuxxa,

    one perfumer friend quoted another professional perfumer saying 'we were caught asleep on the wheel".
    It's a mystery....

  13. K,

    see above reply to Patuxxa.
    There's also the "benefit" of appearing safer than most things.

  14. Lily,

    I agree with your estimate. Piguet is a discerning brand for perfumephiles, not just run of the mill designer big conglomerate bean counters. I'm hopeful...

  15. Julie,

    it would be a sin to neuter Bandit! It's supposed to be cracking that whip hard, baby!

  16. Some of the comments above are reassuring. If the intent is to preserve Bandit's character, I am confident they'll do something reasonable; indeed, I may be in the minority, but I don't think oakmoss is as essential to Bandit's character as it is for, say, Mitsouko. (But then of course the restrictions are not only on oakmoss, but also on many leather molecules.)

    I do like Guichard, and own both Visa and Chinatown (and Futur, if it is his). My comment was that Visa, while good, has little in common with its vintage self, and rather goes for a very well executed modern Angelic fruity - a destiny I do not want to imagine for Bandit.


  17. Morticia21:02

    The sky is falling. Why won't they just let it be, why change something that isn't broke. Bandit is BANGIN' that's why I like it. It's not for everyone but it is for me.

  18. Anonymous19:05

    I forgot to ask: is there expected to be a particularly restrictive batch of, er, restrictions in the next IFRA issuance? My understanding is that 2010 was a banner year in terms of broad and prohibitive restrictions and of resultant major reformulations. Is 2013 or 2014 expected to be similarly weighty? Or is this more of a case of Piguet avoiding a death by a thousand papercuts (ie, the tweaks necessitated by a slow-drip, gradual dimunition of allowable materials and concentrations)?

    (Not even sure if that wordy question makes sense, I think it does...)


  19. M,

    clarification duly noted. :-)
    Yup, I think it's the leather thingies which are posing some problems, but in late years we have seen a resurgence in leather scents (just think how many new launches!) so it goes without saying that perfumers are now in a position to explore newer synthetics and move away from the standard quinolines and birch tar (rationed, for our purposes). This is a hopeful thought, regardless of who tackles the "procedure". I think Bandit has enough of its own reputation to preserve (unlike the less known Future and Visa) to not become completely different from what it is purported to be. ;-)

  20. M,

    I don't think they're trying to please everyone (i.e. appeal to a wider demographic). This is a common misconception when the matter of regulations arises. It might be true for some companies, sure, but not for Piguet which has been carefully monitored from the mid-90s onwards to be a true connoisseur brand.
    They're just compelled to comply to industry regulations that would pose a threat of complete annihilation on the production of the Bandit scent if not seen to. See my point?

  21. Lys,

    I think we've seen the greatest changes/restrictions already; there's not much that will be restricted and will be such a familiar/foregone conclusion for the average perfume lover.
    The furore was greatly exaggerated in previous years because it would help launch careers (of those yelling out loud against them, of course); this is my personal theory and I'm sticking with it, it was an easy polemic and the Philippics launched made headlines on media which greatly pleased those participating in it (and inspired more and more to be vocal about it, I guess). Now that this doesn't make such an impact any more, things are lying low.
    That said, there are new synthetic molecules invented every day and the resurgence of leathery fragrances recently shows that when there's a will there's a way. I think we shouldn't panic just yet. ;-)


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