Great Balls Of Fire – Reunited With Le Feu d’Issey
On Valentine’s Day here on PST we all wrote a post together, about the first perfume we ever loved. Mine was Le Feu d’Issey, a sadly discontinued masterpiece by Issey Miyake, that I wore from 1998, when it was launched, until I couldn’t find it anymore and moved on to other things. That was before my perfume infatuation began, but nonetheless Le Feu d’Issey always had a place in my heart and well as my olfactory memory. It is a unique scent, unlike anything I have smelled since and that is saying something.
Since perfume turned into a way of life for me, I was always on the lookout for Le Feu. I regularly searched online, had my eyes open at flea markets and in perfume stores that seemed like they had stock from the fifties still on their shelves. But no Le Feu. It remained elusive or when it popped up now and then, it was not affordable. I was not willing to pay over 200$ to a questionable seller on eBay.
Last week my luck changed. I was in a perfume store sniffing my way through some old classics, when I saw a glimpse of the familiar red behind a yellow-striped army of Giorgio Beverly Hills boxes. I started to hyperventilate – could that be what I thought it was?
I started to burrow my way through the Giorgios and unearthed the top – Issey Miyake it said. Yessss!!! I would have paid 200$ or more that minute. With not much help of the supremely bored SA I managed to extricate Le Feu from its Beverly Hills prison where it had languished for the last ten years probably. A perfect, sealed 75ml specimen was mine for a retail price from ten years ago. Sometimes when it is good, it is really good!
Many say Le Feu was ahead of its time and I agree. It failed massively on the market and was discontinued not long after its launch. A different perfume called Le Feu d’Issey Light was released in its stead, but that is a mere shadow, or a very distant relative to the original and not worth much discussion in my opinion. Of course this one is still available.
Le Feu was created in 1998 by Jacques Cavallier and there are several notes lists out there. Basenotes lists Bulgarian Rose, Coriander, Sichuan Pepper, Golden Japanese Lily, Gauaic wood and milky Amber. Osmoz lists Bergamot, Coconut, Rosewood, Anise, Jasmine, Rose, Milk, Caramel, Cedar, Sandal, Vanilla and Musk.
What ever is really in there – Le Feu smells simply intriguing.
If you ever smelled Le Feu you know what I mean and you won’t have forgotten what it smells like. I write a perfume review a day, but I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing Le Feu.
If pressed (which I undoubtedly am, since I chose to write about it!) I would say I smell a spicy, rosy, bready mix with hints of woody and lactonic notes, drying down to a musky vanilla-rose base. But I am far from satisfied with that description. Maybe I am also a little reticent to deconstruct it. I feel the same with a perfect poem, awe and respect, happy to enjoy it in its entirety but unwilling to poke at it and make it yield its secrets. In this case, I am not the type who needs to know how a magician does his tricks, but I am delighting in the sense of wonder watching that trick fills me with.
Le Feu is strange and wonderful. Odd and beautiful. Weird and delectable. Maybe its brilliance is in the creation of a scent that is not resembling anything in nature, being something utterly new and original, unique and inimitable.
Le Feu makes me jubilant, I delight in its sweet and sour jolt to my nose. Every time I smell it, I am glad I found it again and sad that such a marvel is not for everyone to have.
Please bring back Le Feu d’Issey! Call it Le Terre d’Issey or L’Air d’Issey by all means.
I think the world is ready for a new run with this extraordinary perfume.
Image source: Coloribus.com