like all perfumers bar none, Mathilde worships Mitsouko
, so she wanted to do a modern fruity chypre: the rhubarb/apple/apricot/strawberry facets of styrallyl acetate, the “gardenia” molecule, would provide that fruity note. (Oddly enough, another old-time chypre, Ma Griffe
by Carven, also associates gardenia with a catty attitude, if only through its name, a play on the two meanings of the word in French, « claw » and « signature »).
And it works. Mitsouko
brushes by with its tail swishing, though the treatment is more in the style of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People than of Paul Schrader’s 80s remake: you don’t actually see the creature full-on, you just keep getting hints of its presence. Proper oakmoss and the aforementioned musk ketone – which has been used next to forever – add to the classic vibe.
crosses the vertical structure of a chypre with a more contemporary “fuzzy” (or, in this case, “furry”) texture. Gardenia provides the axis. The panther musk is curled around it. The floral note is realistic – it was elaborated through a headspace capture of the flower, and features every aspect of it from its slender rhubarb greenness to its hint of mushroom. But it can only be perceived through the musky haze: this isn’t actually a soliflore, but a flower-feline hybrid, a chimera crouched in a mossy patch.
The silkiness of petals and fur is vividly conjured by La Panthère’s
purring sillage. This is that rare gem of a mainstream scent that manages a perfect Goldilocks balance (notice the deft use of jewelry metaphors here). Distinctive enough to please connoisseurs, yet not so much that it’ll scare off civilians. Just take care you don’t start clawing the couch.