Absolu smells initially of vanilla, powdery sweet amber, and a lush orange note, which blend into a soft, pretty accord that has precedents in scents as far-removed as Kenzo’s Ça Sent Beau and Piguet’s Baghari. The foundation supporting this luminous vanilla-citrus accord is neither the dark chypre of Baghari nor the peculiar musk bouquet of Ça Sent Beau, but rather something akin to the classic oriental structure of Guerlain’s Shalimar and Habit Rouge, or even Nicolaï’s New York.
The orange, amber, and vanilla persist, but as Absolu develops discreet sweet spices, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and a touch of orange blossom add depth and substance to the composition. Absolu eschews the smoke and civet that darken the vanilla-citrus motif in Shalimar and shuns the leather that distinguishes its brother Habit Rouge, instead establishing simpler, sunnier mood. I also smell some parallels with Fendi’s fruity floral oriental Palazzo, which arrived a few years after Absolu, but Palazzo is a less spicy, more conspicuously floral composition.
Absolu’s drydown depends largely on its sweet, benzoin-rich amber and vanilla, warmed and enlivened by a seductive, yet never lewd, animalic musk. Absolu is potent and projects some distance from its wearer for several hours before gradually fading into a musky, ambery skin scent. While I can’t say it’s terribly original, Absolu is certainly a well-executed example of a popular style, and would make a fine everyday scent on those occasions where heavier orientals like Shalimar, Coco, or Arabie feel like a little bit too much.
Another smooth oriental creation in the same olfactory neighborhood as TROUBLE, albeit quite a bit simpler, Rochas ABSOLU is so benzoin and tolu balsam and labdanum-rich that the flowers (lily and neroli?)--and whatever else is supposed to be here--lie below my threshold detection capacity. What is most salient to me about this creation is its creator, Jacques Cavallier, who seems to use some mystery component which marks many perfumes as his own. I've smelled it in not only TROUBLE and ABSOLU, but also Calvin TRUTH (the original--I am not familiar with the reformulation...), and the perfumes which he designed both for Yves Rocher and for Salvatore Ferragamo.
Of all of the many perfumes by Jacques Cavallier with which I am familiar, ABSOLU strikes me as the most streamlined and the most obviously Cavallieresque, devoid as it is of loud distractions--whether of the spicy or the floral variety. In fact, this one might have been named L'ESSENCE DE JACQUES CAVALLIER. To my nose this composition really is minimalist--I would not have thought to compare it to Moschino COUTURE, for example, since the spices are so much more dominant in that composition than in this one, which to my nose is essentially an oriental perfume base. Very understated and totally unisex, ABSOLU would be perfect for those who find hard-hitting orientals to be a bit overwhelming.
I myself like but do not love and could certainly forego ABSOLU without undue strife, but I really do love the sleek vessel in which it is housed!
17th September, 2011 (last edited: 18th September, 2011)
Absolu is not really a mirror to its name, but it is a special fragrance that, thank Goodness, walks boldly away from all the over-sweet orientals available now. Instead, this is like rich dark, addictive molasses. It has a bit of sweetness to it, enough to make it warm, feminine, dark, smoky, intense, without being an obviously available (read easy to encounter on others) scent. The rich resinous smell is addictive for me - I love the smell as it says 'I'm not easy to find, I'm not everywhere, I'm not common'. I love to wear it, and seemingly so so the others around me. I bought it expecting something else, the classical vanilla--excessively sweet-drowned oriental fragrance, but am I glad it was not that - it is a tiny bit resinous and bitterish, but this is what makes it stand apart. I do like Kenzo-Jungle Elephant, D&G-The One, Dior-Dune, Chanel-Allure (to mention a few I thought this resembled according to reviews), but I far more love Absolu for its darkness, richness and distinctiveness. I am glad I have it, I enjoy it and I shall but it again and again.
14th August, 2011 (last edited: 21st August, 2011)
Decidedly feminine, balmy, rich and elegant creation with similarities with Jean Paul Classique (from the same nose Cavallier and which with Absolu shares some floral notes, the neroli accord with orange blossom, rose, musk, vanilla and woody amber) and Moschino couture which with shares some fruity-floral elements even if in a different way of consistence and intensity. While Moschino is clearly more airy, light and fruity-floral, Absolu is more rich and resinous with a more evident foundation on creamy and mellow final notes as vanilla, smokey amber, benzoin and balms. Many detect similarities with Le baisser du Dragon because of the common influence of neroli, cedar and benzoin considering that the note of bitter almond could play the same creamy-tasty role played by fig leaves in Absolu; i don't detect this connection because the Cartier's one is more dry, incensey, bitter-rooty and decidedly less balmy, smokey, dark and creamy than this one. The initial lush link of orange and fig is the intoxicating fruity welcome of the first Absolu's blast and it's really pleasant and almost edible before the scent becomes intensily floral with the feminine explosion of a bunch of nocturnal lily, neroli and rose. This phase lasts few time because the smell slides soon in a sort of balmy and mellow base that reminds me a bit the one of Amarige (milky vanilla, smokey amber, dry fruits and sandalwood, musk). The dry down is a shadow of smokey franckincense, animalic, slightly bitter-orangy and musky amber, vanillic balm with the undertones of toasted dry fruits. On my skin i detect a smokey-peppery-spicy (may be cinnamon or nuttmeg) sultriness that renders the fragrance as a seductive and mysterious concoction with a long wake though a faint level of persistence. A pleasant solution for a touch of sensuousness for a night out.
11th July, 2011 (last edited: 22nd May, 2014)
Beautiful unisex scent with amber, spices and vanilla notes...comforting and long lasting...
Big thumbs up...!