APERCU belongs to a rare segment of chypres that are quite alike and altogether wonderful - the scent of a warm autumn day, with the amber-sweet decay of vegetation supported by crisp fallen leaves.
Schiaparelli's SHOCKING was like this.
Raphael's REPLIQUE was like this.
Now all we have is APERCU, outside of vintage bottles of the two discontinued fragrances above. This is I believe one of a handful of Houbigant's original formulas being recreated for the current market.
Stock up - it's cheaper than finding SHOCKING and REPLIQUE on Ebay.
Another great scent by Houbigant and very unisex. I have both the edt and the pure perfume version. it stays very close to the skin and last for as long as 12 hrs on my skin. Beautiful oakmoss chypre- with subtle hints of cinnamon, cloves, rose and sandalwood. One of my faves!
In the Persian language, you call a person who lacks in temperament "salt-less". Obviously, there's a parallel to the Spanish perception of a "salty person" so wonderfully pointed out by Hillaire in her review of the scent.
Apercu is a gorgeous, original perfume. The first deep sniff you take of it will tell you what an outstanding creation this is. It is a chypre with a very radiant touch, not sharp or biting, but stylish and elegant. Highly recommended - grab it while you can.
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In the Spanish language, the adjective salty (salado) is often used to describe an attractive woman who is self-possessed, inherently sexual, and amusing. It's a wonderful term, and I have always considered its contrast with the more common description of women as sweet ('Sweet' is nice and fine, but not half as great as 'salty'!), particularly as we lack this association in English. (I feel that we are really missing out on something profound.) I love the sensual range of flavors I associate with saltiness as opposed to sweetness and the idea that 'saltiness', in a woman, is considered a sensual quality. I'd like to be "salty"!
Well, 'Apercu' is a *salty* chypre, if you can conjure what salt smells like, and it's absolutely for a 'salty' kind-of woman (though it's utterly unisex). It is truly a powerful, unapologetic, and sensual beast.
This imposing, paradigmatic chypre is neither supplicating nor attentuated, nor degrading to its genre, like so many other newer chypres are, in their efforts to appeal the fickle, sweetness-loving modern perfume-consumer. 'Apercu' triumphantly declares chypres are the nes-plus-ultra *goddesses* of perfumes!
It's both an homage to the greatest originary ladies of the genre, e.g.: 'Mitsuko', 'Coty Chypre', and a credible contender for the title of 'best chypre ever'.
I my humble opinion, there is not one classic-style chypre out there, which is currently in production, that uses finer ingredients or adheres more honorifically to the chypric tradition.
I absolutely think every classics- collector *needs* a bottle of this miraculous achievement from Houbigant. Because it is both a reference chypre and a symbol of great character and taste as a perfume. And because I cannot imagine it will be around for much longer, considering both the "new laws" and its totally unremorseful, old-style type-of pizzazz.
Ladies and gentleman, if you love old perfumes, or gender-bending chypres like 'Mitsouko' or "Amazone', do NOT deprive yourself of this cost-effective, impeccable enchanter.
23rd November, 2009 (last edited: 27th February, 2010)
Geranium and rosewood in this do an amazing job of making you believe you are smelling roses. This is reinforced by the cinnamon notes in both cinnamon bark oil and cassia bark. The actual florals, in the top note here, are white florals used with a delicate hand, and closely associated with citrus notes, which also exist in attar of roses. The capstone of the rose deception is in the addition of sandalwood, the final brush stroke in the simulation. The bergamot-oakmoss-patchouli triangle make of this s perfect classical chypre, worthy of Houbigant. As suitable for men as for women, if worn lightly. Sadly now withdrawn from the market.
If this is a reformulation of the original, it was done in classic style, somewhat reminiscent of the premier Chypre by Coty. (I have the parfum.) Apercu is a gorgeous chypre, opening with a beautifully composed floral/green accord (if there is tuberose here I can't detect it) underpinned by soft woods and spice. Not a trace of powder, thankfully. It strikes me somehow as a scent that both the patrician Katharine Hepburn and the outre Marlene Dietrich could have worn in the '30s, yet it's also quite modern. Reminds me a bit of Tommi Sooni's Tarantella but without the fizzy aldehydes. Sophisticated and timeless.
01st April, 2009 (last edited: 07th November, 2013)
Being a huge fan of Quelques Fleurs (I personally believe it is one of the most drop dead beautiful perfume creations of all time) I had to try Apercu. And if they haven't done it again, Apercu is one of the most gorgeous chypres I have ever experienced. If the word sophistication had a smell this would be it. It does have a lot in common with Aromatics Elixir but there is a roundness and richness here... Where Elixir is sharp and edgey, this is poised and upright, graceful . If you love the Guerlain chypres, please please please allow yourself the chance to experience this world class fragrance.
Apercu is assuredly an underknown and therefore underappreciated classic from Houbigant. Apercu was first released about 80 years ago, and whether or not it was reformulated when it was reintroduced in 2000 is anyone's guess. My guess is that yes, it was reformulated to some extent. This is a chypre floral. Very easy to wear for a chypre. If you find Mitsouko a bit strange for your tastes (for the record, I don't, but many do) but are interested in chypres, this is one to try. It's similar to Jean Patou's 1000 but without that questionable (nasty?) undertone, and it's not as powerful as Clinique's Aromatics Elixir, another chypre floral. Apercu begins with shades of florals (rose, jasmine and a muted, well-behaved tuberose) and spices (oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli, clove, cassis) and then mellows to a classic chypre heart. The drydown's end is once again that florally spice. Just beautiful. You can often find the pure parfum on eBay for a reasonable price. I was fortunate enough to snag an 8ml bottle for under $12.00, shipping included. Can't beat that. The EdP is also beautiful, which is good to know in case you can't get your hands on the parfum. Bravo, Houbigant, for another classic. I hope this one is around for a long time. It deserves to be.