Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Andree Putman Preparation Parfumee: fragrance review

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!

via habituallychic.blogspot.com

Damp woods are harmoniously paired to spices and refined notes reminiscent of dewy stems and petals in Preparation Parfumée; more of a protective amulet than a potion of seduction, as evidenced by the name too (i.e. scented preparation) The Andrée Putman fragrance was composed by Olivia Giacobetti, a perfumer known for her transparent, limpid accords and her quirky, individual style ~as showcased in Premier Figuier (1994), Drôle de Rose (1995), Thé Pour Un Eté (1996), Philosykos (1996), L’Eau du Fleuriste (1997), Navegar (1998), Dzing! (1999), Passage d'Enfer (1999), Hiris (1999), Tea for Two (2000), Essence of John Galliano, En Passant (2000) or Thé des Sables (2001). The building up to Preparation Parfumée Andrée Putman (2001) bears olfactory kinship with another perfume composed by Giacobetti, Navegar for L'Artisan Parfumeur, a scent of blanched pebbles and driftwood on a river's delta. No wonder that Putman OK-ed the austere and economical use of a few elements to convey a potent message; it was she who had famously said: "I love America, and I love American women. But there is one thing that deeply shocks me - American closets. I cannot believe one can dress well when you have so much."

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.


  1. That perfume really sounds like her doesn't it Helg!

  2. M,

    it gives me the feeling that like the original Costes fragrance it's the sort of thing to live through rather than wear on occasion on yourself. It is spare, serene, tranquil, luminous and creates a sense of spaciousness and nature.

  3. Anonymous02:39

    this perfume contains something at once so familiar and foreign. it remains an enigma to me. i never wear it, but am glad to have it to smell. and not long ago, i found echos of it in another fragrance... wish i could remember which one.

    rip, madame.


  4. J,

    there's something about it that is vaguely familiar, you're right. Could it be that it reminds you of Navegar or the clean "cotton" thing in Extrait de Songe? I find it has some parallels.
    I find it works perfectly as ambience scent, surrounding you in a cocoon of tranquility.

  5. Anonymous19:43

    elena, it may well be a scent by l'artisan. i need to revisit preparation - it might jar my memory.


  6. J, if it does come to you, I'd be most interested to hear what it was!

    hugs! :-)


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