Perfume Review: Bandit by Robert Piguet
Review by Tom
Colombina's recent post about which scents were "French-iest" reminded me that I had never written much about one of my all-time favorite French perfumes: Bandit. In my comments on that post I wrote of it as a "whip-crack androgyne", while earlier Colombina wrote of it as "an elegant perfume that says No". Somewhat overshadowed by its sister fragrance Fracas in the public eye, but sharing the slightly sinister overtones of that ultimate paean to tuberose, this is almost the flip-side of the same film-noirish coin. Fracas is what the creamily seductive blond would wear, all white satin and tuberose, a Singapore Sling and getting you to dump the body by the train tracks at night; Bandit is the sultry brunette who'll sling a mink over her alabaster shoulder, look you straight in the eyes as she plugs you and afterwards calmly order a bourbon, neat. Either way, they are bad, bad girls and you would be well warned to stay away. But you won't will you? You can't...
All hyperbole aside, Bandit does seem more of a product of it's time and is perhaps because of that less accessible than Fracas: it opens with a sharp, medicinal accord dominated by galbanum and vetiver giving the feeling of a heavily wooded glade, moist leaves and earth never touched by the sun (what better place to get rid of the corpse?), almost immediately joined by leather. The leather never leaves the scent- it's the grounding accord here, whether it's joined by the brief hit of white flowers (as if it had met the blonde in the ladies room for a quick cigarette and to compare notes) to the carnal drydown with its peppery musk and gunpowdery incense. Having written that, experiencing Bandit is not only to fall hopelessly for it, it's to see where quite a few houses got the idea for some recent scents. Houses ranging from Le Labo to Lutens have clearly given Bandit a good long sniff. So should you.
Bandit is available at e-tailers and some discount houses for shockingly cheap prices: the 1.7 oz spray EDT I bought was less that $20. While I am happy for the bargain I am also hoping that does not mean that the scent may go away again: this sort of brilliance should be permanent. Also, although I write about this as a feminine scent (and it is) I would not hesitate for a second to recommend it to a man: if you're man enough for Patchouli 24 or Yatagan, you're man enough, or perhaps woman enough for Bandit.
I was going to end this post with the mention that there are several Piguet fragrances from the past that I would adore the chance to experience, luckily according to the Piguet website, we will be able to try Visa and Cravache soon. I for one can't wait...
The image is by Eugenio Recuenco, from gianfrancomeza.com.