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    Doctor Mod's avatar
    Doctor Mod
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    Sacrebleu by Parfums de Nicolaļ

    Ever since I heard of this fragrance, I had imagined I would love this. From the cheeky name to the very thought of an incense-based fragrance created by the offspring of the grand Guerlain dynasty, I had conjured up an idea of my perfect fragrance. Ah, but as they say, try before you buy.

    And so I did. The beginning of my test application was promising, with what struck me as a delicious licorice incense--although I can't quite define what note registered as licorice in my olfactory nerves. This delight was brief, though, as it soon settled into a rich and pretty (but neither beautiful nor sensuous) fruit jam.

    This is not to say that Sacrebleu is not fine stuff--indeed it is--but that suggestions that this is an oriental rather than a straight-up floral are, I think, really wide of the mark, as there is nothing very spicy or woody here.

    Being fifty-something, I confess I do find the constant dismissive references to "old-lady" fragrances irritating. Yet I must also confess that I had thoughts that Sacrebleu would be a fragrance I would give my mother (were she still living) as it is elegant and lovely but certainly not in the least bit sexy or as exciting as its exclamatory name would suggest. (Nor, for that matter, is there anything "sacre" about it.)

    Three weeks after my first test, I tried Sacre Bleu a second time, using the remainder of the sample vial. Being trained to analyze, process, then analyze and process again, I was troubled by my inability to sort out just what I found unappealing about it before. The second test produced several additional thoughts. I kept thinking there was some childhood recollection in all this, but I couldn't place it. At first, I thought it was some sort of candy--the kind kids eat, not because it's good but because it's candy and it's there--and realized that Sacrebleu strikes me as more fruity than floral. (I'd been stumped before, trying to pin down a particular flower.) I could swear I smelled banana--more some strange banana/raspberry flavoured something or other--and I could smell the incense more clearly this time, though it was an incense far removed from the ecclesiastical variety one encounters in CdG Avignon or Heeley Cardinal.

    And then it hit me. Not so much a childhood memory but a teenage one. By the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, virtually every place that sold records--no matter how unhip--also sold incense. Not only the patchouli sort that automatically registers "hippy" in so many minds, but just about every scent imaginable....

    Psychedelic raspberry incense! Mais oui!

    SACRE BLEU! (Pardon my French, as my mother would say.)

    09 June, 2010