Paloma Picasso is a quite respectable modern chypre, perhaps a tad tacky at the opening, but good and compelling enough. It shows a soft and mellow feel of sweetness which makes it somehow more lively, cozy, relaxed and juvenile than other dirtier, more austere or more "adult" chypres, together with an overall green-floral breeze (heliotrope too?) which cleverly contrast the classic chypre notes - "heavy" flowers, vetiver, oak moss, tamed-down castoreum (I don't get much civet). These are basically the strengths of this scent – the balsamic-fresh and slightly minty breeze, and a silky-sweet feel halfway floral and resinous, really pleasant and warm. Both features manage to blend with the classic chypre structure, at the same time contrasting it, and that is what makes Paloma Picasso appealing and "safe" for any fan of chypres, yet quite unique, and as I said, overall brighter and more playful. Somehow, it smells like a "watercolour chypre", if you want, yet vibrant and sharp. Not a masterpiece and not even a "must" in my opinion, but a nice and well-executed fun variation on a classic theme.
A pleasant, but unremarkable floral chypre that opens big (with a blast of menthol), then quiets down to a coriander/rose projection, dry yet fragrant.
I just don't get all the hype about this scent - my sample is an edp.
Barbara Herman was impressed - "green, floral, woody, spicy, mossy, animalic" and dubbed it a 1940s type chypre with an overdose of castoreum. Turin gave it four stars and dubbed it simply, a "floral chypre," noting it reminded him of Cabochard and Givenchy III. [I do not find that similarity.]
Top notes: Coriander, Rosewood, Bergamot
Heart notes: Rose, Geranium, Tuberose, Jasmine, Muguet, Ylang
Base notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Amber, Musk, Civet, Castoreum, Benzoin, Oakmoss
Impressive on first meeting as a celebrity scent, but unable to keep up its interest over time.
Paloma Picasso opens on a big, brash accord of green jasmine, patchouli, peaches, and bergamot. The scale is huge and the intent is clearly to impress, then dominate. A rich rose note soon arrives to underscore the jasmine, while moss and labdanum base notes tie the bergamot into a recognizable chypre accord. In both its sheer mass and its basic structure, Paloma Picasso smells like a jasmine-based variant on the rose chypre style of its mid-1980s contemporaries Paris, Beautiful, and Knowing. Which is to say that it’s completely at odds with the current trend of minimalist chic.
While no fan of olfactory minimalism myself, Paloma Picasso’s flamboyance probes the boundaries of good taste. It aims at glamour but winds up smelling garish, and I can’t help feeling self conscious when I’m wearing it. A few hours with Paloma Picasso leave me craving a nice, brisk eau de Cologne. Or a shower. Paloma Picasso doesn’t smell especially bad - it’s just that unlike Beautiful, Paris, or Knowing among the rose chypres, Opium among the monumental orientals, or Boucheron among grand scale florals, Paloma Picasso doesn’t quite have the elegance or grace to offset its heft.
As you may deduce from my comments so far, sillage, projection, and endurance on the skin are all enormous, so Paloma Picasso’s in no danger of going unnoticed. The big, bold floral chypre doesn’t develop so much as (very slowly) fade away into a soapy rose, moss, and amber drydown that clings to the skin well past Paloma Picasso’s already lengthy active lifespan. I can understand the affection this scent garners, but I don’t enjoy it much myself.
A great opening of lemon mixed with a delightful hyacinth, quite unique. A floral drydown with a rose and coriander that is nice, but the base in truly simple but good - honey sweetness mixes with an edgier patchouli spiciness. Remembering the original, my latest sample is flatter and less deep and less rich - the newer version gets the neutral score. Good silage and projection with five hours of longevity. For elegant evenings.
Paloma Mon Parfum was my signature scent from 1984, until a few years ago, when it was reformulated. It has lost its' soul and I feel like I lost a good friend. Wish I could have a bottle of the original formula - what a dream that was.