I recall my mother growing sweetpeas when I was a child; I do not, however, have any recollection of what they smelled like, which is odd because back then I made a point of sniffing any and every flower with which I came in contact. I would have to say that it probably doesn't matter much whether Pois de Senteur de Chez Moi smells like sweetpeas or not. The overall affect is not one of a particular flower but rather that of an abstract floral aesthetic representation of an ideal.
While some less inquiring minds would dismiss this fragrance as an "old lady" scent, I think that "nostalgic" is more to the point. Yes, the fragrance is "old" in the sense of its long history and thus best described as a classic Modernist perfume, albeit not a typical one. It has little or nothing to do with the age of the wearer; rather, it has much to do with the wearer's outlook on life. When I call it "nostalgic," I am describing a sense of longing for a time past, turned to shades of sepia in the memory, in this dusty floral.
This was my impression, at least, on first applying PdS. I didn't notice the typical aldehydic "blast" so typical of many (perhaps most) Carons, just a pleasant and powdery (if not particularly sexy) floral. After twenty to thirty minutes, however, it transmuted into something less admirable. If I were to bring my wrist to close to my nose, I experienced a rather rancid smell that is more prominent in Caron's Infini, so prominent that I can't wear that fragrance. Some have called it the "plastic flower" note. I have yet to figure out what note is behind this. Still, if I kept my wrists away from my face, I could discern a pleasant, almost interesting floral nothing like the nastiness on my wrists.
A significant transformation took place once I had to make a late-night run to the grocery store. After stepping out into the hot and humid air of a Long Island summer, I was increasingly aware of a certain spiciness developing and manifesting itself when I exerted myself physically. This was the most pleasurable phase of all. I'd be hard pressed to call this a floral oriental, still some slightly oriental qualities made themselves known--probably the sandalwood and cedar. Within a few hours, though, it wound itself down into a pleasant, unobtrusive floral that was still with me when I woke up the following morning.
Considering that my sample was a parfum, I must say that Pois de Senteur is one of the less exciting or intense examples of Caron's urn fragrances. The sillage is moderate, yet the endurance is quite good. Despite some ambiguity in my experience with it, it's a beautifully crafted fragrance in the old high style, and I cannot give it any less than a thumbs up.
Top notes: Hyacinth, tincture of rose and cyclamen
Middle notes: Jasmine and lily-of-the-valley
Base notes: Musk, sandalwood, virginia cedar, vanille and lime.
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