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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Perfume Review: Barbara Bui Le Parfum

Barbara Bui's style is typically described as minimalist, "urban modernist", evocative of the duality of "yin and yang", strength and softness. If ever there existed a fragrance perfectly fitting into the overall aesthetics of a fashion brand that launched it, it is Barbara Bui Le Parfum. The scent has a wonderfully uncluttered feel; its "lines" are clean, its colors understated. It skims the body and floats around it like a seemingly simple Bui garment, in pale beige silk.

On my skin, Le Parfum goes through three rather distinctive stages. It starts with a softly-candied floral accord. I smell mostly heliotrope, a note, which, when used in moderation, like here, is capable of creating an enveloping, pleasantly "fluffy", slightly-sugary effect, which I find very comforting. In the second stage, incense becomes very apparent. To me, the presence of incense is what makes Barbara Bui Le Parfum interesting and original. It is that little twist that I adore in fragrances. It is unexpected. After the somewhat sweet beginning one anticipates the continuation and intensification of the theme of candied florals. Instead, the scent becomes drier, and acquires a tranquil, almost meditative quality. From being "just" pretty, it suddenly transforms into something elegant and a little unconventional. The base finishes the development with a slightly peppery, lightly balsamic, woody touch. Whenever I smell Bui, I have a feeling that it is what Kenzo people wanted their Amour to smell like but did not succeed in achieving quite the same effect, simply because they did not add to their scent enough incense.

Barbara Bui Le Parfume is one of the most versatile perfumes I own. It can be taken absolutely anywhere. It is as appropriate for a casual stroll on the town as it is for visiting a sick relative or attending a black-tie affair. It is also one of my favorite comfort scents, and my go-to scent, which I invariably choose if nothing else feels quite right. As far as I understand, Le Parfum can only be purchased from Barbara Bui store: 115 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012 . Tel.: 212-625-1938 When I called to inquire about the exact price of Le Parfum, I was told that Bui is not making this scent anymore, not because it wasn't selling well, but because the company had problems with the scent manufacturer. I was also told there might be another fragrance coming instead, but nothing is certain. How sad.

...And to dispell the blues...there is a Quiz going on at Made by Blog...Any cinema-maniacs and fans of Insolence out there? This is the quiz for you.

34 Comments:

Blogger Juliana said...

Is it similar to Kenzo Amour? Never smelled Barbara Bui Le Parfum, but I like very much the comforting scent of Amour.

10:34 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Juliana,
I think it is based on the same sort of idea. I like Barbara Bui much, much better, however. It is more distinct, in my opinion.

10:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

I'm now unlikely ever to smell this. ;(

Go to scents - a good category. I'm trying to think what is in this group for me... Definitely New York... And Santal Blanc (thanks to Tom for making me track this one down).

5:14 AM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

Waaaah! Your review makes me want to try this one so much, and it is no longer sold??!! **whines** Ah,well. So, is Kenzo Amour worth trying if I'm looking for a Bui substitute or should I look elsewhere?

5:46 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

What? Not making it any longer? Oh, NO! I'm suddenly overcome w/ a need to have this. Truly depressing news. And am just praying they don't decide to do a fruity/floral as a follow up.

7:12 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Leopoldo,
I love New York! The scent...well, the city too :-) But seriously, great scent. Parfums de Nicolai fragrance are very underrated, I think.

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

M,
Amour bored me to tears. Pale, shapeless, albeit quite pleasant little something. Because of the incense and the woods Bui has more character. It is also soft and neutral, but it is not dull.

8:28 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

L,
I don't understand the "problems with the manufacturer" thing. Well...find another one, no? Strange. Such a shame the scent is gone :-(

8:29 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

I know I have a decant of this somewhere. I remember thinking it was nice, but I wasn't knocked out--or even moved enough to return to it frequently. But I know a lot of my scent sisters seem to love it--so I should probably give it another try.

9:27 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
It was the same for me. I blame the fact that I had just a tiny sample. Spraying it made all the difference. The same applies to Rousse. I might have to eat my words about it. Sprayed on, Rousse rocks my world. :-)

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Oh, dear! I don't know whether I should be grateful--or what--to you for resurrecting dead lemmings! Rousse, huh?!

9:37 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
Sorry! :-) Yeah, Rousse. Who knew? When I spray it, it is warmer and woodier and the similarity to Idole is much less apparent. Been wearing it for days now. :-)

9:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

I really loved it when it first came out. I still like it but hardly ever wear. It reminds me a lot of Rykiel For Women (same perfumer). That said, it's a bummer they're discontinuing it.

10:17 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ina,
That is another one I have to re-try and preferably spray liberally over, because the last time I sampled, it left me cold. Of course, when people were finding bottles of Rykiel at their TJMaxxes, mine as usually had nothing.

10:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Colombina, I think Parfums de Nicolai needs more reviews. I recently tried Sacrebleu and instantly declared it FBW. The opening is reminiscent of L'Heure Bleue but then turns into its own separate lovely, comforting scent.

I haven't tried Rousse, but a few days ago I finally got around to trying Idole de Lubin. The drydown on me was very powdery, so very different in character from what I thought the fragrance would be like. Does Rousse avoid the dreaded powderiness?

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Maria,
I agree, PdN does need more reviews. :-)

Rousse is a tiny little bit powdery...but it is not the facial powder kind of powder. It smells like powdered, spicy, cinnamony wood, if that makes any sense.

12:55 PM EDT  
Blogger carolyn said...

This is very distressing news! Barbara Bui is one of my top 5 HG scents. I wear it all the time and I think it's perfect for everything. I guess I need to start hoarding it off of eBay now. Drat!

1:48 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Carolyn,
Yeah, I know! All hopes for eBay now.

1:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

This was on my list forever to try, and I didn't get around to it. Now I am sad.

2:30 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty,
They discontinue all the best ones, hrmph.

2:31 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Rousse is better sprayed? Hmmmm. When is it getting to Barneys?

3:23 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
Not sure, perhaps this month...

3:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

I have challenged you - see my blog! Interesting to see how you will link it to perfume but I'm sure you'll succeed!

4:18 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Sorry Anna-

Challenge expired. You posted another blog entry after the challenge, obviating any future challenges. Trust me, I studied Law, and use big words like obviate.

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Anna,
"Thanks". :-) I love how you called me Perfume Girl :-))) I will try to come up with something by Saturday.

4:53 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
You are just afraid I'll tag *you* in my post. And you right, I definitely will. :-)

4:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous March said...

Rousse, shmoose. I could have bathed in it and it refused to cooperate. Still bitter.

I'd forgotten how much you disliked Amour! I find it very comforting. However, I think I am the only person who doesn't like the bottle (everyone was always commenting, well, the scent's worthless, but that *bottle*!!!") It will look like a Dr. Seuss objet next to my Guerlain.

5:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
I like the Amour bottle, but I do agree that it would look ridiculously out of place next to a Guerlain...unless one owns a fleurchon of a bottle that is Insolence. Amour would sort of look ok next to that one. :-)

5:03 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Columbina-

You're right!

5:32 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

nyah ha ha!
:-)

5:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maleficent said...

Ha hahahaha! You're right about Insolence.

That makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Maybe their next bottle will have a cartoon character on it? Or they'll do one called Girl Lane? Something fresh, fruity-floral...

5:44 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

My Maleficent Coleague,

I would not put it past them. Would totally fit in with their mission to attract a younger buyer "who might not yet be ready for Guerlain" or whatever was the premise of Insolence.

They keep doing great, or at least good things for their more exclusive lines (really want to try that male Chamade), and release total ...um, not so good stuff for the mass market.

5:47 PM EDT  
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6:21 AM EDT  
Blogger gr said...

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6:22 AM EDT  

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