I bought a bottle of Défilé last night at Henri Bendel's and also got to meet Gérald Ghislain, the man behind Histoires de Parfums; he signed my bottle, which was very nice. This is actually the first fragrance from the house that I've smelled (I also picked up 14ml bottles of a bunch of other scents from the line as well), and it is astonishing. I'm shocked that a fragrance this interesting and masterfully made was created with such limited distribution in mind.
As befits a fragrance with such a unique collection of notes, this is a highly nonlinear fragrance. It starts with crisp green, and right out of the bottle feels like a sparkling green fragrance with a touch of warmth given by the base notes. Quickly, though, the fragrance settles into a dance between the green notes (grass, etc), the mint, and the ambery/gourmandy base notes. I was surprised by how well the notes work together, but then I realized that the genius of this fragrance is that the mint acts as a sort of bridge between the green notes and the warm notes.
This is not a mint-heavy fragrance (which is good, because I don't like mint), but the mint is the key to the whole structure. As Défilé dries down, it becomes variously: gourmandy, green, minty-green, ambery. The balance between green and amber shifts and sometimes becomes almost bizarre, but in a good, novel way. At the extreme dry-down it reminds me of a warmer version of Geranium Pour Monsieur, and the coffee/chocolate/vanilla come out to give a hint of sweet mixed drinks or a warm dessert. But again, the green notes keep this from becoming too sweet: it never becomes cloying or overly edible. This is not a sweet, thick fragrance, but rather smooth and streamlined.
Anyhow, I am blown away. This is a brilliant fragrance and it must have been a huge amount of work to balance these notes, which represent a combination I've never seen before. I'm torn between hoping such a groundbreaking fragrance gets a wider release, versus wanting my bottle to be a sought-after holy-grail scent.
There were some bottles left at the end of the night. I don't know what they're going to do with them, but if this sounds even remotely like something you'd like, call Bendel's and see if you can get a bottle. You will not be disappointed. (As for price, it was at the same price point as the rest of the bottles in the line.)