As a centerpiece, Parfum Sacré makes the classical choice of rose, but this is no soliflore—a masterly, multi-faceted treatment that vacillates from a brassy, tacky 80s floriental complete with shoulderpads, to the lingering aroma of an exquisitely creamy soap, the ethereal luxury of the finest cashmere.
The opening is a relentless assault, lemon and pepper and aldehydes and jasmine and neroli, and its brashness is only further accentuated by the intensity of cloves and mace. The spice rolls naturally into a smoldering resinous myrrh, and cutting through the haze of smoke a queenly, blood-red bloom enters, and the cacophony subsides into a sudden hush. From this moment, Parfum Sacré takes on its most literal form—PER (through) + FUME (smoke) + SACRO (holy/accursed, a word that takes on antonymous meanings)—a dry, leathery, spiced rose not unlike potpourri. The incense acts as a crucial buffer between the top notes and the heart; by the time rose makes its presence known, the clamor has faded into an echo and left only a refined and elegant scent. As it moves into the drydown, Parfum Sacré makes yet another unexpected evolution, albeit a quieter one: the incense becomes merely atmospheric, and in a seeming reversal of time, the rose comes alive again, not quite the freshness of a garden, but petals strewn onto a downy bed of vanilla and musk (at which point it resembles Arpege). Compared to the stage lights of the opening, the drydown is just a subtle glow, the rosy fingers of dawn, lying very close to the skin.
07th June, 2008