Juniper, aldehydes, balsamic notes, pine needles, pungent dry green notes, a peculiar salty and almost metallic base, leather, geranium. Spicy old crackling leather, squeaky gears, antique herbs with a woody/rusty feel. The mossy/balsamic note is beautiful, fresh, not sticky neither resinous at all – rather vibrant, windy, dry. The base is unique as well, a sort of soapy feel but not in the usual "somptous iris chypre" meaning – more of a domestic, dry soap, for instance the Marseille soap or other cleaners. Then it emerges a gorgeous leather note with liquorice, patchouli and roasted coffe notes – again all really dry, earthy and straightforward. Earthy and herbal in a totally unique way, with a salty/rusty feel which is just perfect – and also, the perfect olfactory depiction of the cultural reference for this (a fictional Victorian explorer: herbs, leather, rust, it's all there). Not even that complex, just unique and one of a kind. Absolutely worth the purchase – which I am given to understand may be challenging: I keep my bottle safe - and really elegant.
Complexity with a fougère development
The top notes are citrus with bergamot, herbal green notes, and the bitterness of juniper berries, all drowned in large doses of aldehydes. Still, is is a very good mix. The drydown becomes first class: carnation, patchouli, vetiver and pine, a classic middle phase. That merges into a base with amber and some tobacco, but the most predominant feature of the second half is a classic, intense oakmoss - delicious! The quality of the components is exceptional, the blending superb, silage and projection very good, and the longevity is stellar - over ten hours. One of Nina Ricci's best!
A true masterpiece. An aromatic scent that evolves through the hours, showing a different vibe each time. two thumbs up aren't enough.
Yum! The previous reviewers have captured the 'essence' of Phileas quite well, and so I can't add much except this:
The only currently available fragrance that immediately came to mind when I smelled it the first time was Wrappings by Clinique... although it certainly resembled a few others upon reflection.
Something to add to your collection, if you can find it.
Reticent , delicate, serene, and slightly mysterious, Phileas might seem to give the lie to the belief that a fragrance with celery as a dominant theme could ever be a thing of beauty. Fragile and misty, it seems to somehow combine the impression of dew on a leaf in a kitchen garden with the aroma of some bare and exquisite ballroom which has just been freshly cleaned - delicate oudoor smells of early morning mingled with the smells of highly civilized interiors. The later developments of Phileas continue in the same vein but with a gradually stealing warmth. Too generous spraying can give a slightly animalic tinge to these later stages. Phileas does have something in common with dry herbal fragrances like Yatagan and Sud Est but it is altogether more refined and sophisticated. I also see the partial affinity with Oscar Pour Lui mentioned by the estimable PigeonMurderer's review.
I still have the miniature they gave me as a sample in Paris the day it was launched. Althought I did not like this fragrance at first, it grew on me rather fast. In a way, Philéas reminds me of Yatagan by Caron. They share the pine needles, vetiver, patchouli and leather notes and both of them have that phantom celery note that is not mentioned in either olfactive pyramid. Although I love Philéas, I can understand why it did not catch on. This is certainly not an easy fragrance to wear. However, those who can wear it well will most definitely make heads turn.