Jean Patou QUE SAIS-JE? [1925; nose: Henri Almeras]. Aldehydic/Fruity/Woody Type.
This classic beauty was released by the house of Patou in 1925, the year of the Arts Decoratifs Exposition in Paris... the arts convention that officially launched the "Art Deco" style (even though Europeans have always called it "Le Style Moderne", not Art Deco).
QUE SAIS-JE?, which means literally "What do *I* know?", refers to the dizzy beginning of a romance, when one is not thinking wisely or prudently, but rather with emotional ardor. The scent was originally released as part of a trilogy, each suggested for a different wearer's haircolor. :-) QSJ was recommended for brunettes; AMOUR AMOUR for blondes, and ADIEU SAGESSE for redheads.
QSJ is a sweet, fruity, nutty, woody fragrance. It opens with sweet aldehydes, and a peach/pear fruitiness that smells like a peach brandy or hard pear cider. The floralcy is sweet, yet subdued, somewhat "anonymous": rose, jasmin and ylang-ylang form a soft, muted cushion designed to spotlight the fruit characteristics. In the heart, the fruit takes on a juicy pear-like deliciousness, slathered in a drippy, indolic honey. Hazelnut confers a nutty warmth, and a delicate herbal accord of French thyme, tarragon, menthol and clove spice up the fruit. The base is a woody accord of cedar, sandalwood, benzoin, a vanilla in its floral guise, musks, and au fond, an unusual, improbable stony/dusty note of myrrh, which anchors and counterbalances the perfume's essential sweetness.
QSJ? is now long-discontinued and rather difficult to find, though it occasionally crops up on eBay. One must be sure to look for the 1980's "Ma Collection" re-issue, and take great pains to avoid the monstrous, incorrect bastardization it received upon re-launch in 2014.
Highly recommended. Respected Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer considers QUE SAIS-JE? to be a classic masterpiece that every perfumer must experience at least once in his/her nose training.
An excellent fruity chypre, obviously created by a master.
As Barbara Herman notes, it is a perfect balance between sweetness and darkness.
Honey, peach and hazelnut combine to give it a pastry-like aroma (think Caron's Farnesiana or Guelain's L'Heure Bleue). The darkness is neither animalic, woody, nor mossy, so indiscernible to my nose as to its source. It has a balsamic quality to it.
Too bad the notes are not available to us, as it would be fun to know what the components are.
Sadly discontinued and very pricey on Ebay, but worth sampling.
A beautiful, peachy chypre (at a guess). Think Rochas Femme, without the skank. Fruity and round. Gorgeous quality and longevity. An utterly adorable scent.
Of all 12 Limited Edition 'Ma Collection' de Jean Patou fragrances I used to wear, this one got the most positive responses, and it was my personal favorite as well.