La Belle Helene by Parfums MDCI
As the song goes, "the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t." La Belle Helene, whom, if I were to anthropomorphize her, I would place in the "29 to infinity" age bracket, is undecided about what to do with her life. The fragrance, created for Parfums MDCI by Bertrand Duchaufour, seems to be vacillating whether to become a joyful fruity, pear-centered scent, to focus her attention on leathery osmanthus or to perhaps turn into a very vaguely loukhoum-like rosy-orrisy blend...
And most significantly, I am not even entirely sure I should call La Belle Helene a She. For a perfume that is supposed to be inspired by a dessert and is full of such traditionally feminine and even girly notes, Helene smells rather masculine. Right from the start, the aldehydes are sparkling darkly, not brightly, and that sets the tone for the subsequent stages of the development. The fruits and flowers are sweet but strangely dry at the same time, the gourmand aspect is abstract at most...And the base, well, that is where La Belle Helene is all man. The mossy, earthy, leathery, sharply-woody drydown is mucho macho on my skin. The overall impressions is that of a porcelain-skinned, seemingly very feminine beauty on whom somebody drew a mustache...
Some of the most interesting people I know are the ones who decided to accept the fact that they still don't know what to do with their lives; their eclectic tastes and vast albeit sometimes random knowledge are what makes them exciting. The same applies to La Belle Helene. Yes, you can't figure her out because she hasn't figured herself out, but that's what's keeping you coming back.
Available from MDCI and Luckyscent, $250.00-$375.00, depending upon the fanciness of the bottle.
Image by Matt Ewrin.