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Fille en Aiguilles might be too bold for you if you are uncomfortable wearing something that walks a thin line between: room spray and fragrance. The synthetic smell of pine needles has been introduced to most of us from those large aerosol cans, which you spray in your home during the holidays – not something you splash on your body after a morning shower.
FeA is different. The strong pine needle, resinous top notes are intermingled with fresh cut cedar wood, gentle fruit notes and a tiny wisp of incense. From top, to middle to base notes, the entire fragrance evokes the smell of place(s): forests; wood lined walk in closets; a home with fruit pastries baking in the oven; an apothecary store filled with balms, ointments and elixirs; a single wisp of incense smoke in a moment by the Christmas tree and fireplace.
Unlike many of the woody Serge Lutens scents (Chene, for instance, is a close relative) FeA is gentle and polite due in part to the way it dials down the sharpness with vetiver and a tiny, savory bit of laurel. Instead of feeling like you’re trapped inside a wood closet, the smell of woods diffuses around me: as if the trees I smell are in the distance…a circle of pine trees, if you will, that hovers and travels with me wherever I move. This might lead you to believe that FeA is a fougere but it’s not - perhaps it’s best categorized as a woody oriental.
The bitter medicinal edge reveals itself at the very initial spray but then quickly becomes reserved and hushed - allowing me to enjoy it without a disturbing, loud or hissy synthetic smell (I smell no aldehydes). Perhaps because of this – it only lasts 5-6 hours before it starts to fade and give off a subtle tannic aura…like warm, mulled red wine.
It might prove difficult, to disassociate the smell of FeA with the holiday season. I can’t see wearing this in the heat of the summer. Just like Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice by Guerlain, this just feels more appropriate and comforting worn during the holidays.
11th December, 2009