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Tuesday, February 08, 2011


By Marla

"And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be— and whenever I look up, there will be you.”
-Gabriel Oak, Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

Have you ever smelled a perfume that whispers “Home” to you?

Wim Wenders’ iconic 1980s film “Wings of Desire/Angels Over Berlin” was the original inspiration and title for this new perfume collaboration of Frapin (the cognac people) and Bertrand Duchaufour. “Les Ailes du Desir” sounds rather steamy, but in fact, the movie, starring the incomparable Bruno Ganz, revolved around themes of basic human connection, and depicted an angel’s search for meaning, love, and family. These themes of comfort, warmth, and homecoming match “1697”, named for the year the Frapin family received its coat-of-arms. It’s the most compelling and cozy winter perfume I’ve worn, most especially so as night falls, which is early here in the snowy Alps.

“1697” opens with a strong accord of dried fruit stewed in spiced rum. There’s quite a bit of rum absolute, which gives an ambered liqueur effect. Cognac absolute does indeed exist, but M. Duchaufour found it clashed with the other accords and switched to rum. Next, there’s a heart of jasmine and rose, then antique leather, roasted nuts, dark woods, myrrh (of course, it’s a Duchaufour!), with a creamy background of tonka bean, vanilla, and labdanum; far in the distance, there’s a bite of ambergris and castoreum for a subtle edge. In the movie, there’s some great footage of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds that has a similar animalic effect.

“1697” is curling up in front of a roaring fire with your favorite sweetie and a couple of cats, some cognac and caramel-roasted nuts to sip and nibble, while you page through a pile of antique, leather-bound books. Yum. It is scheduled to launch this month.

Full disclosure: I received a decant of “1697” from the perfumer, at my request.

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Blogger Flora said...

Marla, I have been curious about this and now I want to try it even more! Rum, leather AND myrrh?! Be still O my heart! :-)

12:16 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is what it sounds like, Flora, very delicious!

1:04 AM EST  
Blogger Tama said...

How would you compare this with Arabie? It sounds delicious!

2:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It definitely shares notes/accords with Arabie, and I'd say, if you love Arabie, then you'd want to try 1697. The Frapin is a bit more...austere, less sweet, more airy and less dense than Arabie. I'll happily wear either! They take a similar set of accords and go in different directions.

2:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make that sound like something I could love. Is it true that this will only be in very limited distribution?

2:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think that is the case, but if it's popular, and people request it, they might put it into wider distribution, I'm not sure. The Perfumed Court and Posh Peasant tend to get a hold of these things, though, so a decant might be possible if a bottle is not.

3:02 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Wow,that's not only calling my name, is firmly roaring it!

(I'd go blindly for everything Duchaufour...)

3:35 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's nice to know who the noses are behind the perfumes, because we can follow their work if we like the style!

3:44 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Wonderful Marla! Now I must must try!!!!!

7:31 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once I'm back in the States, I'll send you a little, it's really good.

7:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Sounds very interesting! So far, I did not love any of Frapin fragrances.

8:18 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the first one I've tried, though I gather there's a lot of love for "1270"- they need to work on those names, though. Maybe it's time to branch into other languages for perfume names, such as Tagalog or Urdu?? Numbers are boring.

8:52 AM EST  
Blogger tarleisio said...

Ooooh. Rum. Myrrh. Leather. A kinship with Arabie. I'm not sure if I want to drink it, eat it or sniff it! But it does sound delicious!

11:18 AM EST  
Blogger Michael said...

I'm probably totally wrong, but for some reason there is something about the notes that make me think this should smell a lot like Jubilation XXV. Sounds good anyway and I shall try get my mitts on this in due course!

11:18 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael, there are definite echoes of BD's Amouage. But the leather, fruit, and spices take it in another direction. There is also an accord which is in Traversee du Bosphore, but again, it's a very distinct variation within a pretty complicated piece....

11:22 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tarleisio, it's definitely worth a sniff for you!

11:23 AM EST  
Anonymous dleep said...


12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right back at you, dleep!

1:21 PM EST  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

How exciting! Love your description!

1:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much,

4:23 PM EST  
Blogger Vintage Lady said...

I am sure I have a vial to test of this scent! That is a lovely review, perhaps I should write about it in two weeks´s time.

10:43 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to know your impressions, Vintage Lady!

12:42 PM EST  
Blogger Vintage Lady said...

well, then you can check my profile and see it when it is done. I think it will be ready not this next Monday but the second one. thank you for your interest!

1:21 PM EST  

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