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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Parfumerie Generale L'eau Guerriere, Cuir d’Iris, L’oiseau de Nuit and L'Ombre Fauve

By Tom

Parfumerie Generale is one of the less heralded purveyors of Niche scents out there and I am not quite sure why; we all tend to quiver with an (minor "Rocky Horror" moment) ticipation at the arrival of a new Lutens or a Malle and a new Creed with cause skywriting and rockets red glare. PG tends to just show up with something, usually brilliant even if I can't personally see my way to wearing it.

L'eau Guerriere falls into that latter category. Luckyscent describes it as a "full-on woody, blatantly sexy" musk scent and yes, on me it will get there eventually. Sadly, the prequel to that was one that it took me a good deal of time to actually identify, but when I did, it was unmistakable: the smell of really good pot. So much so that the nice girl at ScentBar suggested that it would be best not to wear this and drive; much like Ambre Russe's overt boooziness, the "Dude, Where's My Car" aspect of it could lead to one standing on one foot and touching one's nose while pleading "Really, Officer, it's my COLOGNE!"..

Cuir d’Iris is one of the few PG scents that I could accuse of false advertising. Iris is in there but so far down in this particular parade it's the perfume equivalent of Janet Lee in "Psycho": there for the fist 20 minutes but done in by the leather and amber. Incense comes in later to mourn the iris' passing while vetiver adds a bit of a grounding buzz to the whole affair. This would have been my favorite had I not spritzed on:

L’Oiseau de Nuit (night bird) lists cistus labdanum, liqueur of davana, benzoin, and leather as it's ingredients, and I think it's the cistus (according tot he description) that gives the leather that earthy but sweet buzz to it that I also find in Knize Ten (yes, that bit of Miel de Bois). It's certainly not enough to scare the horses; it's just enough to make an interestingly sweet and clean contrapuntal interest to the earthy leather. It's like having your bouquet handed to you in the gardeners glove, in the best, most Lady Chatterly-like way.

L'Ombre Fauve mentions amber, musk, woods, incense, patchouli as the listed notes. Colombina wrote of it as "'thick' and luscious" later writing that it's "a demanding perfume that scares and excites me". On me it is intense and luscious and somewhat wild, balancing the earthy patch and the feline (the only way to describe it) musk with the smooth woods and incense. It manages the feat of being both feral and incredibly suave: if they had made a werewolf movie starring Bond-era Timothy Dalton, this is what he would have worn. (or, if you wish, Irena in Cat People)

All of these are $135 for 50ML, at LuckyScent and the PG website

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Blogger Flora said...

Wow Tom, these are so delectable-sounding! It sounds as though these are really meant for men, butI would totally love to try any of them myself. If I had to pick just one it would be L'Oiseau de Nuit - I am one of the five people on Earth who loves Miel de Bois, and anything that is reminiscent of it would be intriguing to me.

1:57 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

The great thing about this line is that they are not at all for one sex only- all of there would be great for you and Oiseau de Nuit would kill!

2:38 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

I keep meaning to go test the Parfumerie Générale. When the line launched, I ordered four minis, didn't know quite what to make of them and they've been lying in the sample box since. The website was a bit confusing, new stuff always seemed to pop up... If you were to define the line, Tom, what would you say? In terms of general aesthetics?

3:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parfumerie Generale is a bit of a dark horse house, isn't it? I seem to have acquired four bottles over the last couple of years, the latest of which is Cuir d'Iris. I had a tiny sample of this when it was still 'private', and marked it down as one I'd buy if ever made it to Paris. When Luckyscent advertised it, I had the order in within seconds! You're exactly right about the iris - it's leather all the way - but it dries down to the most delicious skin scent and I'm quite addicted to it at the moment. l'Ombre Fauve is another favourite - it kind of got eclipsed by Bois Blond when it came out, but I much prefer l'Ombre. Carmen is right about the website; it's horribly hard to navigate even thought they've changed it recently. I usually order from First in Fragrance or Les Senteurs in preference!

6:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that's 3 more drool-worthy must-smells! Why is it that when leather is mentioned I start rubbing my greedy little paws together?
The only debatable one is L'eau Guerriere as I'm not sure if I want to smell of really good dope, though it would have its merits, particularly bringing back memories of college days.

7:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PG is one of these lines that I intellectually admire but don't really desire to own or wear, Bois Blond being the possible exception. In fact one of my biggest mistakes was buying Ether de Lilas Blanc... unsniffed. I have not tried all PG scents but most of the regularly available ones, and I find many have an underlying slightly sugary/candy note that I dislike. May be it's just me, may be I need to retest. L'Oiseau de Nuit sounds really lovely.
Well, at least it's healthy for my bank balance !

8:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Billy D said...

Whenever I hear things, good or bad, about PG, I just remember what lilyofbp once told me, that they all are mostly too sweet for her. While I can handle a little sweetness, I find this initial warning about the line prevents me from ever getting really excited about their stuff. So many other lines for which to get excited, and do aerial acrobatics, though I have always thought that Musc Maori was a great name, one Tom Ford missed out on.

9:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for a sample of L'Oiseau de Nuit to wing its way to me at this very moment, so am glad to see you picked it out for a mention. I'm looking forward to exploring Parfumerie Generale in ... erm... general. The bottles are a bit boring but the some of the names are rather tempting! - Emma

9:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've been grooving on L'Ombre Fauve all summer. Went from sample to decant, and had to play horrible, sad games to decide if $$ went to that or Bois Blond in a purchase I just made.

(Perhaps I should have said "games whose conclusion were doomed to be horrible and sad"? No creatures were harmed in my games of chance...) ;)

L'Ombre Fauve ends up as somewhat sweet leathery skin scent on me. Am looking forward to the sample of L'oiseau de Nuit that is coming with the winner of my personal budget lottery.


9:31 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Great reviews! And the Psycho analogy - brilliant! :-) L'Oiseau de Nuit is in drawer of scents I feel I need to do serious resampling of.

10:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Madelyn E said...

Hi ,discovered this creative and inspired niche line of fragrances at The Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver in June.. Naz ,the owner was charming and so helpful.
I selected PG No. 5 Eau de Circe - a flioriental amber. It is refreshing, with a hint of a light floral- amber. Easy to wear - I love it. It is wearable now in the heat of the summer . It could even be layered for more heft - during the cooler months. It is beautiful -
This line is uncharted territory in the realm of niche.

12:56 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Can I come out of the woodwork and say how much the names of these scare me, a non-French speaker? I mean, I'm grateful they're not called Man Candy or whatever, but how does one pronounce them? Sigh. I should have taken French, I suppose it's not too late. I can't even say Guerlain right.

2:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I have been known to "murdelate" (a most grievous form of lexicide) plenty of French words. In fact, I am kind of the class clown among the French speaking faculty at school, because I am such an openly awkward speaker. (But willing to learn!)

I figure, if we respect the scent, and the salesperson, when we pay for "The Oil on Your Nose" (L'Ouiseau de Nuit), we can get some respect, right?

aka the good natured ugly American

2:41 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think it's about the same level of challenging that Lutens acheives but tends to get more gourmand than they do. Lutens keeps returning to resins and spices and PG tends to go with woods and musk, I think

3:22 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I didn't know they carried them, thanks for the info! I don't want to seem a shill for luckyscent..

3:23 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am hoping that was a quirk of my skin chemistry, but it did, and I have confirmation from two people in the store..

3:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


they do have a sweetness to them, but I find it's so balanced by other things that I can't classify them as sugary at all.

3:29 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


give a couple a try- some are sweet, but that's not all there is to them

3:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

emma- the bottles are kind of a pet peeve for me- I wish they would just get over the number bit and put the names on them so that my ancient eyes could differentiate them..

3:33 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have played that game waaaaaay to many times myself...

what won?

3:34 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'd be interested in reading what you think!

3:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


that's not that one I know- I will have to seek it out!

3:36 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


then the numbering bit is perfect for you! just call it PG #16 or something

3:38 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love that! "the oil on your nose"!

3:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah...the winner was Bois Blond, a vote that I threw because I decided I'd be more panicked if I never had that one again. I **LOVE** L'Ombre Fauve, but have yet to experience it in all weathers, plus have a couple of other skin scents that I if I think about it too much, I might panic and go back and order L'Ombre, so I am-not-thinking--about--tha-t-right---now...)

Thanks for asking!

4:17 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

bois blond is a great choice!

4:26 PM EDT  

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