Andrée Putman's fragrance is not easy to review, exactly because it eschews traditional classification, much like the acclaimed designer opted to for her work as well. From home interiors to furniture to tableware, her work is sans pareil. It was only natural that her eponymous fragrance would be too; an aqueous woody with a different feeling of freshness than the screechy scratch of "marines", at a time of launch (2001) a mini revolution. Doubly so if one considers for a moment that it was she who was responsible for the renovation of the flagship Guerlain boutique at Champs-Elysées in 2005, replete with the luminous chandeliers which refract light in a million rays. Her eponymous perfume bears absolutely no relation with a classic Guerlain!
Preparation Parfumée begins with a spicy top note that reminds me of bay leaves and their oil, although I know they are not listed, that slightly bittersweet & hot eugenol-rich spice that we use in lentils soup. The fragrance however is not heavy nor strong, never a singeing feeling. Then along with that a very aqueous accord follows retaining the earthy smell of petrichor for a long long time. It reminds me of wood branches washed on the shore of a river of gigantic proportions after a storm, drenched in mud and bog water. This earthy, elemental force is fundamental to its appeal. Rather than mountains and forests, due to lack of the resinous quality I associate with those, this image creates another kind of serenity.
Would that be a scent to dampen one's spirits though with all its damp wood and such? It depends….It’s not “pretty” for sure , neither “elegant” and "feminine" in the traditional sense, but it retains an air of mystery and nostalgic quality for those friendly to introspection.