What is it about perfume houses and their "official" list of notes? Here, as is obvious in the many astute Basenoter reviews, the central note is immortelle, which is not part of the official seven notes given out by Parfum d'Empire - lavender, tarragon, patchouli, geranium, tobacco, tonka, vanilla.
The range of scents not in the note tree detected by the 23 reviews as of this writing is astounding. To summarize: coffee, chocolate, mint, Assam tea, oakmoss, maple bacon, civet, anise, cumin, coriander, tumeric, ginger.
I have in past reviews for immortelle scents (Eau Noire, Sables) appreciated the scent achievement without wanting to smell like the kitchen in an Indian restaurant. Primarily, that was due to the sweetness of the garam masala vibe that immortelle gives off.
Here, however, what I get is only one note (not 7, not any of the 12 other notes fellow Basenoters have detected), just one, immortelle. The difference for me is that this is not sweet, but both richly honeyed and bitter. The removal of the sweetness makes me like it. It removes the scent from the gourmand category and places it not in the fougere, but in the chypre category.
I have experienced hundreds of great women's perfumes of the past century and all the chypres have this great "bitter" honeyed note that closely resembles Fougere Bengale, although I don't know if immortelle was the common ingredient, as I never heard of its use in perfumery until recently.
In any case, this is the first immortelle usage I like and its all due to its honeyed bitterness and my attraction to the classic chypres of the past. A surprise, and a welcome one.