Who Is Afraid of Fruity Florals? Caron L'Accord 119
I've had a pleasure of wearing the formerly "Paris exclusive" L'Accord 119 for a while, thanks to Shelley, Notes from the Ledge. (Shelley and I are reviewing the perfume together today, so please click over to her blog, when you are done, to read her impressions). I gave no thought to its olfactory family, group and sub-group. Then the news came that Caron will be launching it in the States (possibly under a different name?) and is describing it as...a fruity floral. My first reaction was to be appalled. What a blasphemy! The exquisitely dark, baroque elegance of L'Accord 119 is as far removed from Heiress by Paris Hilton as the rarefied atmosphere of a Caron boutique is from a messy TJ Maxx in the local mall.
As I walked by my perfume shelves later that night (the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw possessed me and) I wondered... When it comes to fruity florals, why are we so negative? Have the ubiquitousness of the generic representatives made the whole family seem inferior and turned us into snobs?
And also, define a "fruity floral"! In Michael Edwards' detailed categorization, Floral / Crisp - Citrus Fruity or Floral /Fresh Citrus-Fruity is where you find Heiresses and Baby Dolls. Soft Floral/ Crisp - Citrus Fruity boasts L'Artisan Parfumerur Orchidee Blanche and the 1987 Nina by Nina Ricci. Among Soft Floral /Fresh - Citrus Fruity, next to Tiffany's Trueste, you'll see XOXO Perfume by Victory International...The are also Fruity / Crisp and Fruity / Fresh groups, which include scents heavier on fruit, like various summery Escadas.
Société Française des Parfumeurs distinguishes between Floral Fruity Woody ("On a floral bouquet, with a woody undertone, fruity notes are added..." Examples...Jacques Fathe Iris Gris, 1947 and Hot Couture No 1 by Givenchy.) and Floral Fruity ("The floral "body" is still there, but new fruit notes are showing strongly..." Examples: Patou for Ever, 1998 and Tropical Punch by Escada, 2001).*
Haarmann & Reimer Guide to the Feminine Notes, 1984 edition, does not have a fruity, a fruity floral or a floral fruity category. The closest would be their Floral Notes / floral-sweet (Faberge Babe, Piguet Fracas and Estee by Estee Lauder). The 1991 edition adds the Floral Fruity sub-category to the Floral: "these are fragrances, whose character is enhanced by radiant-fruity elements, some of them highly dominating."** It includes Hermes Amazone, Prescriptives Calyx and Molyneux Quartz, among others. There is also a lone representative of Floral / Fruity-Fresh in the face of Oleg Cassini II.
Let's keep in mind that each fragrance manufacturer, each brand and each new perfume campaign might offer their own classification and understanding of what is fruity floral / floral fruity.
The rather obvious conclusions are that not all FFs were created equal, that a "fruity floral" is not a swear term and that one (well, me) should neither be embarrassed to try an FF, caught enjoying an FF, nor offended when a favorite is called an FF.
As for L'Accord 119, it is a gorgeous blend of creamy, just a tiny bit green jasmine, over-ripe blackberries and wonderfully rich, nutty, delectable musk. Wearing it, I am haunted by phantom whiffs of blackcurrant and pineapple, and find L'Accord to be a close relative of Patou's late, lamented Colony... Or rather, I'd call L'Accord the child of ménage à trois of Colony, L'Artisan's Mure et Musc and Caron's own Acaciosa. Having just concluded a wordy defense of fruity florals, I feel a little embarrassed making a case for L'Accord 119 not being called one. Undoubtedly, the fruits here are "showing strongly" and even "dominating" the floral accord and the composition in general. Having said that, it is impossible to ignore the dark, brooding, velvety yet dry, "very Caron" base of the blend. If it was up to me, I'd classify L'Accord the way Michael Edward classified Colony, as Mossy Woods / Crisp Citrus-Fruity or put it into Société Française des Parfumeur's Floral Fruity Woody category. Incidentally, the latter includes Aimez-Moi...and so there goes Caron's claim that L'Accord 119 is their first fruity floral.
Call a Caron boutique to find out about L'Accord's availability.
For Shelley's review of L'Accord, please, visit Notes from the Ledge.
*Société Française des Parfumeur, Classification des Parfums et Terminologie, p. 8.
**H&R Fragrance Guide to Feminine and Masculine Notes, 1991, p. 12.
Image source, gamegossip.com and vi.sualize.us.