Double Perfume Review: Frapin Caravelle Epicee, Esprit de Fleurs, Passion Boisee and Terre de Sarment
...or a Double Dose of Grumpiness
Esprit de Fleurs
Esprit de Fleurs is written of as "airy and crystalline". It is airy, a pleasant bergamotty thing, with a bit of grapefruit and a bare hint of pepper. That accord also has the lasting power of a fruit fly; the scent then morphs into a light woodiness that's very pleasant.
Dry, green floral with a bit of a citrusy sparkle, Esprit de Fleurs is a welcome break from sweet offerings of this and many other brands. Its fresh, elegant feel is being compared to the taste of brut champagne, and I find the comparison very apt. Having said that, I like Esprit de Fleurs "apophatically", so to say, for what it is not: not sweet, not fruity, not gourmand, not, heaven help me, endlessly woody-ambery-spicy like what seems every other scent on niche market (that's right, one gets tired not only of fruits and vanilla but of woods and spices too, when they are rendered in the same Wannabe Lutens style.). Taken on its own, however, Esprit de Fleurs is rather boring. A neutral, understated blend, appropriate in any season, for any occasion.
Passion Boisee starts with a candied citrus, reminding me a bit of one of the Christmas candies we used to get when we were kids. It then goes to a light cedar. I was promised leather and got none, I was promised oakmoss and got a bare whiff.
The beginning of Passion Boisee is very appealing, reminiscent of chocolate candies stuffed with cherries filled with cognac. The fruity booziness quickly becomes replaced by the dry, spicy woodiness (nutmeg + cedarwood) that reminds me a little of the piquant powderiness of Rousse. I don't find Passion Boisee particularly original, but it is easy to wear and easy to like if not love, and I imagine it would be very pleasant and very fitting during the cold days of Holiday season.
Caravelle Epicée is the boldest of the bunch, which is rather like writing that one Olsen twin is the fatter of the two. It starts with a father fatty nutmeggy amber, with discernible coriander. Vanilla pops forward before it settles to an unassuming sandalwood.
A potent brew of Ambre Narguile, Wild Woods and dill. Will probably be the most popular of the bunch, and probably deservedly so. More or less unwearble for me.
Terre de Sarment
Terre de Sarment starts with an accord that smells quite like the glue that I used to make models as a kid, that citrus-scented stuff that was introduced after they found out that kids were sniffing the older formulations to get high. It's immediately joined by the smell of fresh sheets, then gets a little dirty, with an edge of cumin, with that same nutmeggy vanilla. I think I like this one the best, but none of these are making me run out to buy.
Terre de Sarment suffers from too much of too many good ingredients syndrome so typical of many attempts at Lutenesque originality. Let's throw together every spice on the rack, not forgetting the most controversial of them all, cumin, let's add to that incense and tobacco, sweeten the blend with a generous helping of vanilla, and Chris Sheldrake has nothing on us...goes this thinking. The result is, in fact, not altogether unattractive. The spices create a strange iodine and therefore, in a way, aoud-like undertone, and tobacco-vanilla accord has, in contrast to that, a warm, over-ripe, again almost cherry-like sweetness. But I feel that this Terre is the one where I've been many times before, and I am ready to discover new and more original lands.
None of these are scrubbers, mind you. They are all well made, pleasant, and if you are looking for a nice scent that doesn't dance up to you and bop you on the nose with it's in-your-face oddness these may be your nonfat soy latte. Nice thought they are, I have to write that my $140 is still firmly in my bank account on these.
But I do have to ask, is scent the new .com? Remember in the late 90's when everyone was convinced that a buttload of cash and the idea that everything should be available on the internet would lead to instant income? The idea that led to brusselssprouts.com, leftshoeonly.com, skirtsRus.com, remember? Then it was found that most of these were basically stupid ideas? I mean, "I Hate Going To The Video Store" plus "You Never Have To Ask 'Does This DVD Make My Ass LookFat?'" equals Netflix equals profit. Most of the rest? Not so much. I sort of get the same feeling about the plethora of new lines that are popping up like dandelions these days. Many of them,like these are quite good, mind you. Some of them? Not so much. It seems that at this point that even the good ones are in danger of getting lost in the general cacophony of new releases being fed into the hungry maw that is New!
So I beg of you, prospective parfumeur, the next time you think that what the world needs now is not love, sweet love, but your take on what a fruity-floral can be when those frozen blackberries and clean sheet notes really roll up their sleeves and go to work, I urge you to seek the nearest dark bar and indulge in your favorite alcoholic beverage until said urge passes. Because I will be waiting. It won't be pretty.
...and when you, prospective parfumeur, think that what the world needs now is yet another Fumerie Turque, Chergui, Ambre Narguile or Luctor et Emergo, I urge you to think outside of this admittedly very small and very exclusive and very attractive box.
The Grumpy Two have spoken.
Image source, Luckyscent. The scents are available there, $140.00 for 100ml.