This fragrance doesn't smell like any Caron I've ever sampled before. It opens with a blast of something oud-like, and then adds a hefty dose of fruity blackcurrant and pear. Lurking beneath it all is something quite "dirty", and I mean that literally - I get a disturbing whiff of unwashed underwear that I really don't like. I mean, if I wanted to smell like that, I'd just wear yesterday's undies. I certainly wouldn't pay for it. This unpleasantness recedes, fortunately, though I can still detect it's there; but then Accord 119 becomes quite faint and I really have to put my nose directly on my wrist to smell anything. It mystifies me that this should be a Caron at all. I love their florals, especially N'Aimez Que Moi and Or et Noir, and I adore Parfum Sacre. But Accord 119? Not for me. Others may like it, and I can't say it's a poor quality fragrance, so I'm giving it a neutral.
There's an awful lot happening here. There's a violet-over-suede Cuir de Russie element, a mix of karo karounde and dusty oak lifted straight from Timbuktu, a fuzzy abstract peach on top, some berries and gold musk reminiscent of Mure Et Musk Extreme, and a lot more. It slowly loses volume over the course of the day, until a subtle patchouli comes through, melding with the oak and the berries to form a nice wine barrel smell with some gold musk underneath for added "perfumeyness".
So, can we talk about classic perfume houses putting out "niche"-smelling perfumes? There's always the threat that it's going to be the artistic equivalent of Eric Clapton doing a rap album "to appeal to the youth." It would alienate his old fans and rap aficionados would immediately see the transparent pandering and not like it either. Of course, I'd much rather have the old houses put out wannabe niche than mainstream dreck, but there's a distinct kind of powdery floral that Caron does better than anyone and I'd hate to see that get lost in attempts to modernize (kind of like how Amouage did the best ridiculously rich classic-style perfumes and then gave that up to become just another expensive niche brand).
To be fair, Caron aimed high and hit their target. The Duchoufour L'Artisans are some of the best niche perfumes out there and Accord 119 would smell right at home with them, but come on - this is Caron! They don't need to do this. They could release one carefully planned new perfume in their own style every few years, with the occasional re-issue in between and just revel in how legendary they are.
Anyway, back on point, Accord 119 is quite good, intelligently done, and I would recommend that niche wood and incense lovers check it out. But I'm still hoping the next Caron is a waxy carnation powder bomb, which is what they do better than anyone!
This scent opens by performing a quick impression of Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir before quickly giving way to a Frapin wine. Then, I don't know if it's a case of anosmia, but Accord 119 fades quite fast for me. Save your money for one of the Frapin fragrances instead.
This is a beautiful fragrance - full, rich, luscious, with a complex, classic quality. The predominant floral is a beautiful jasmine. There is no other flower that has the incredible smoothness of a high quality Jasmine. I would buy a bottle except for one quibble. After a few hours, in the drydown, it develops a subtle sour note on my skin. It's a matter of skin chemistry - I would recommend anyone at least sample this beauty. If it works for you, you're in luck. Apparently, I'm not. But I can't give it a thumbs down - I still think it's a beautiful fragrance.
12th July, 2012 (last edited: 16th July, 2012)