Funnily enough I hate Pastis and you would never find me eating Liquorice Allsorts and yet I love this AA. There is no denying it is based on anise but not in a sickly way. It's fresh but you can smell something darker and more substantial lurking in the background. I'd say definitely unisex. I'm bringing this one to the South of France on holidays- I think it will be perfect for it!
The perfumer having been let out of the closet, so to speak, allows perfume hobbyists and enthusiasts to focus on particular perfumers. Cellier, Roudnitska, Robert, Chant. It allows us to recognize the history of the ephemeral and unspoken, give credit, and explore artists whose work has meaning for us. I think the precedent here is cinema, and its move from the focus on the studio and producer to the director. ‘Art film’ of the 1950s-1960s (Kurasowa, Truffault) could be likened to early niche perfumery (Laporte, Lutens.) 1970s-1980s and onward is where mainstream American film highlighted the star director (Scorsese, Spielberg.) I suppose the comparisons here would be Ellena and Kurkdjian. (Sorry, very broad strokes here. I’ve never studied film.) Whether the perfume/film analogy holds, and for better or worse, the perfumer as auteur is our current paradigm.
It’s fascinating to focus on the remaining work of the great, dead noses, but how about those still with us? I’m a great fan of Aurélien Guichard. He is prolific, his work has ongoing themes, his play with history and innovation is wonderfully smart, and his perfumes are beautiful. I find the connections between his contemporary work (Chinatown, Love in Paris) and his reconstructions/reorchestrations (Baghari, Azzaro Couture) utterly fascinating, and his mastery of genres admirable. (Chinatown is a fruity chypre, Future a green floral and Andy Warhol silver Factory a transparent woody insence.)
So, Anisia Bella (2004.) Creating an Aqua Allegoria must have been an interesting challenge to a perfumer whose future work would show a thorough grasp of classical perfumery in all its complexity. You know, the Aqua Allegorias---the Guerlain perfume training bra, the realm of the almost metaphysical ‘Is it a scent or a perfume?’ question. Guichard’s solution is witty and smells great.
The AA’s are light and easy if you like them, simplistic and possibly trite if you don’t. AB uses simplicity to its advantage. It is light but substantial, and complex enough to hold interest over time. Simple and facile, but not unsophisticated. Creating a two-tiered perfume is like the Goldylocks solution to the linear vs top/heart/base debate. AB keeps anise from start to finish, but starts with a cold, sugared citrus violet and transitions to a tea-like cedar. With herbs, perfumery tends to follow cuisine’s lead. Herbs are an enhancement, an embellishment. Fruit, flowers, woods are the lead. AB subverts the order and the flower serves the herb. Anise is the lead performer and ostensibly follows the ‘simple smell’ idea of the AAs. More often than not, though, he complexity of the floral and woody notes catches me when I’m not paying attention and gives me a wink.
See the Aqua Allegoria bottle, soulless through repitition, as the Trojan Horse to the beautiful set of ideas contained in Anisia Bella.
22nd May, 2011 (last edited: 03rd May, 2012)
Light, fresh & crispy when first applied. A couple of hours later is still there, softer, toned down. The next morning it has become deep & woodsy. Long lasting, interesting from start to finish. This is a complex & compelling fragrance.
This Guerlain lightweight spray is a sunny light eau de cologne of grapefruit, jasmine and anise. It is a light, watery but tart grapefruit spritzer with a hint of anise for a fresh uplfiting splash anytime you need a lift. It improves with frequent and/or heavier application. The anise adds a bit of herbal minty character to this otherwise simple grapefruit/floral EDC. Fresh and nice especially if you like anise - I do.
My favorite of the Aqua Allegoria's. I usually prefer parfums and pure perfume to colognes, but this is great when I want something to freshen up with. Anisia Bella is liqourice note as a skin scent, slightly herbal, with a tinge of delicate florals like little violets.Feminine but earthy and sporty, with good lasting power considering that it's a cologne and such a light scent at that.