Direct kin off Narcisse Noir (Caron's venerable classic built on orange blossom and Sunset Boulevard notoriety) Boucheron Femme is at once a queenly narcotic perfume that recalls retro beauties and a fragrance that breathes contemporary air; if by contemporary we refer to the still living, still breathing women who first discovered it in the 1980s when it erupted Venus like from the sea foam "sprayed" by the creative sperm of perfumers Francis Deleamont and Jean-Pierre Bethouart in 1988. Obviously this is the result of palinoia rather than divine intervention, but it feels like the latter, such is the awe it inspires in me. Boucheron Femme feels the way Venus de Milo looks: eudaimonia (ευδαιμονία), in Greek literally denoting "of benevolent spirit", a balance of prosperous good living, of contended human flourishing.
I suppose what I'm trying to convey in my Greek-inflected English is that Boucheron Femme possesses the sort of timeless charm that makes for idols such as Greta Garbo or goddesses such as Venus; intelligence built in the glamor package, a healthy dosage of wit and self-deprecation (or self-insouciance), the distance necessary to feel special and never "me too". The only reason I can discern for this perfume being less well known or lauded than some others (and thus forming part of the Underrated Perfume Day feature today) is that audiences have been so conditioned not to understand quality, even when it slaps them in the face, that the likes of Boucheron Femme can remain a code for the secret handshake societies of perfumistadom such as this one.
The formula of Boucheron Femme fragrance remains a beautifully balanced textbook definition of the floriental genre: an oriental perfume skeleton onto which lush flower notes have been etched with the precision of a skilled calligrapher on thick moire paper. Orange blossom absolute with its candied and indolic facets is contributing the main floral theme, blooming as the succession of two different but equally "fresh" directions in the introduction: one is the citrusy fruity theme of hesperides (elegant bergamot, juicy and sweet mandarin) plus fleshy lactonic apricot; the other is the emerald accent of galbanum grass resin rising atop with a couple of complimentary notes in bright minty basil and bluish, celadon narcissus.
The plush of the base isn't just downy soft, it can only be described as the finest, whitest ermine, the smoothest marble, the deepest shimmer of smoky cognac diamonds. Constructed out of amber, vanilla, olibanum (frankincense), sandalwood and the vanillic, caramelic benzoin resin, it is everything a grand oriental should accomplish, but without losing the plot into too vampish. Boucheron Femme is always the lady and a very knowing and smart lady at that.
The bottle of Boucheron Femme is famously inspired by cabochon sapphires set on a ring. In fact the glorious parfum concentration (which smooths out the marmoreal qualities of the resins even further without losing the inherent radiance) is shaped like a giant ring for une femme aux gros doigts, sitting in its own leather-cased box lined with felt like a real jewel would. But what am I saying…it IS a jewel, what the French so aptly call un parfum bijou.
Wear it with your very best, naked skin!
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