was very eager to try this new creation by La Parfumerie Moderne, which is nearly the only new French niche act (of, say, the last 2-3 years) I personally consider worthy consideration and praise. And I surely appreciate the fact it took nearly two years for them to come up with a single new offering – in a time when niche brands launch a whole line once, sometimes even twice a year, that’s a true mirage. And well... once I sampled this, my expectations were decidedly exceeded. You can skip my boring detailed review and just trust me: Années Folles is absolutely great, probably the best offering by this brand, and in my opinion, one of the best works by Corticchiato. Années Folles surprised me for several reasons in fact, the first of which in chronological order being its breathtakingly rich opening. The fragrance starts with a truly sumptuous, yet actually rather simple structure of lavender (bold, deep, balsamic and “skanky” double-distilled lavender absolue) blended in a dusty-herbal frame of Mediterranean herbs and spices (thyme, nutmeg) and paired with a very clever and delightfully harmonic core of geranium and vetiver, which is quite subtle at first, but the drydown will do it justice. A veritable triumph of lavender (I think this was missing in Corticchiato’s portfolio?) and woody herbs supported by a gentle cascade of dusty resinous notes of tonka, patchouli and myrrh, vith a vague aftertaste of dry vanilla.
So basically Années Folles opens as a creative, remarkably well-executed mix of a breezy Mediterranean green-woody cologne, a formal, dusty old-school French “barbershop” lavender-based fougère, and a tangy, warm Oriental spicy-ambery-resinous blend. Floral, herbal and resinous, melting together a classic French inspiration (powdery, soapy, at the same time kind of dirty traditional fougère notes) with a whiff of Mediterranean rawness following Corticchiato’s fondness for herbs and green notes, brilliantly warmed by a touch of Oriental aromatic and dusty spiciness (blending with the French part to echo a sort of “Guerlinade”). All in the most genuine quality, almost an “artisanal” quality of materials, but with a rather mannered appearance – a sort of sophisticated, distinguished, kind of melancholic look in which the “rawness” and the depth of lavender and of the Mediterranean and Oriental inspirations are elegantly tamed down, as if the center and the perspective of the fragrance still remain rooted in a certain French sense of discreet, slightly decadent “chic”. Mediterranean and Parisian at once, so to speak, all filtered in faded, dusty sepia tones.
The evolution brilliantly unravels the vetiver heart, with a transition towards a powdery and smoky drydown tinged with masculine nuances of geranium and darker spices, and still a sharp hint of thyme. Some of the initial lavender-herbal “raw” greenness slowly fades away, bringing in a warmer, sort of talc-like and slightly sweet feel, reaching a (rather close to skin – maybe a tad too much for many) final drydown based on a very simple, delightfully cozy whiff of spicy-floral vetiver dusted with fine talc. Lavender remains as a “fil rouge” throughout the scent, with a shimmering transition from a bolder initial phase, to an ethereal, discreet powdery-soapy presence on the drydown.
So, to cut it short, Années Folles smells fairly “old school” on one side (a French digest ranging from Guerlain’s Mouchoir de Monsieur to Pierre Cardin pour Monsieur), and very modern on the other – the “modern” factor being an extremely fascinating weightless texture, which smells as much rich as crisp and somehow very breezy and almost thin, with a dark shade, or better say a “mist” feel. French, Mediterranean and Oriental inspirations are very effortlessly blended together in a sophisticated, natural, discreet blend with a very neat composition and a fantastic refined presence on skin. For some reasons this fragrance smells quite different from any other work by Corticchiato, both for the materials used (there’s a more massive natural feel here for me) and for the way its is composed and how it behaves on skin. I think this it is at once the most “old school” scent by him (except maybe for Musc Tonkin) and the most creative one, and it seems he really tried to use at best the natural behaviour of the materials with no “synthetic help” and no formal patterns – rather combining some of them. I really enjoy this fragrance, as it smells rich and fulfilling yet very approachable and actually simple to enjoy, extremely sophisticated but very cozy and versatile. As regards of the projection, Années Folles won’t be a bold “compliment getter” bomb as it soon sits rather close to skin, but that’s how many elegant and quality scents perform. Support the last good niche we have, don’t miss this!