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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Kristen Michèle Parfumeur Fleurs Blanches, Notes Fraiche and Épice Orientale

Kristen Michèle Parfumeur is a line consisting of three scents created by Californian Kristen Michèle. Established in 2008, the line is now available in Europe through First in Fragrance.

The fragrances are handcrafted and “inspired by travels and life itself” as Kristen Michèle states. I had the opportunity to try all three, here are my personal impressions.

Notes Fraîches:

Notes Fraiches was created in 2008 and includes notes of lemon, galbanum, marine notes, honeysuckle, gardenia, lily, musk and white tea.

Notes Fraiches is as the name suggests, a fresh, marine scent. Evocative of maritime breezes and freshly laundered white sheets blowing in the wind, Notes Fraiches is not exactly my kind of perfume. It is very pretty and well-made though, and I’m sure it has its fans, my husband first among them. Notes Fraiches is soft and wears close to the skin.

Fleurs Blanches:

Fleurs Blanches was also released in 2008 and includes notes of blackberry, grapefruit, frangipani, lily, narcissus,tuberose, ambergris, musk and sandalwood.

Fleurs Blanches, white flowers are taking up the theme of the first perfume seemlessly. Reminding me of Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile, Fleurs Blanche is pretty and happy and cheerful, but thankfully not relentlessly so. It calms down nicely after a few minutes and is a soft and lovely floral on a creamy sandalwood base. A bridal scent if there ever was one. This is no heavy white floral by any means, but a delicate bouquet of freshest, dew-laden blooms. Young and carefree.

Épice Orientale:

The last of the three, an oriental, includes notes of blood orange, fruity notes, jasmine, tuberose, patchouli, frankincense and ambergris.

Èpice Orientale is by nature the heaviest of the three. It is a floral oriental, although for its genre it is quite light and airy, sheer almost and therefore very wearable, even for non-oriental fans. It opens strongly with the accent on the orange, aided by a little spicy kick. The heart is dominated by tuberose that segues smoothly into the broad base of patchouli and amber. This light enough to be worn year-round, although it is lovely now, as temperatures drop. The spicy orange also gives the perfume a christmas-y vibe.

If I had to find one word to express the common thread that defines those three perfumes it would be clean. These are very clearly American fragrances, made for American sensibilities. Which is simply a statement, not a judgement!

I could imagine these selling like hotcakes in Sephora. Since it is a niche line, I am not sure this is what people who are especially interested in perfume, are looking for. Too clean, too polished, too friendly and sleek .

But what sets them apart from usual mainstream fare, is the high quality of the materials and the love that went into them, a love I can smell, even if the perfumes are not to my personal taste.

What about you? Did you try the line? What are your thoughts?

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Blogger Flora said...

I have not tried these but they all sound good! They would be great for the office I bet, while other niche lines might be too much.

1:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Gator Grad said...

I bought a mostly-empty set of these on ebay a few years ago and therefore have a teeny amount of all three. Notes Fraîches smells marine-y without smelling like the "aquatic" notes or sunscreen notes that you smell in most marine-y mass perfumes. I really like it. It smells like open air to me: sea breezes, sparkling sun, flowers. I liked the other two a lot too. Èpice Orientale was a gateway oriental for me. They'd sell well to new niche hobbyists who are tired of smelling fruchouli but aren't ready for heavy animalic stuff.

8:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Birgit, these do sound like they have a California-girl kind of vibe (or maybe I should say the California-girl vibe that is a product of my imagination and my love of that old Beach Boys song). :) I agree with the points Donna and Gator Grad made, and I think they would appeal to a certain segment of perfumistas (in fact, I can really see Vanessa from Bonkers liking at least one of these because they sound like they are very well done and have that sheer, floaty kind of loveliness about them that [I think] she digs). And by your description, they sound like they have a signature, which is something worth praising in and of itself.

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

This American likes her perfume very, very dirty and animalic, but I agree with you completely that most don't, especially the younger generation.

Ironically, too polished and sleek has always been my beef with the uber French House of Chanel, especially the "numbered" ones. Until I discovered Coco and Coromandel, I could appreciate Chanel, but never really liked the line. (Of course now that I have found 19, I am a major fangirl)

Many things with aldehydes read as kind of fresh and brittle and synthetic to me, so I have trouble with lots of French perfumes.

11:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never heard of them, never tried them! It sounds like they don't fall in to my too-much-is-just enough sensibility, so I'll probably sit this one out :)

Although, I agree with Suzanne--- reading your descriptions, and remembering how much she likes L'eau de l'Hermine, made me too think of Vanessa!

2:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are right, as work-friendly well-made perfumes these are great!

Gator Grad,
they are indeed great transitional scents from mainstream to niche. And though it sounds like I am damning them with faint praise, I really think they are done well.

that is too funny! I had to think about Vanessa all the time while testing them! :)

I'm sorry about the American quip, but there are certain stereotypes, where, whether true or not, we know what they mean, so they are helpful sometimes.

I'd say they are not really your thing. But I'll be curious as to what Kristen Michèle does next.

2:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

Oh, please do not apologize for the American comment; I think it's true! And I wasn't offended at all.

If I came across as snarky, I am sorry for that, not intended at all.

7:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Undina said...

Sorry, but at $4/ml price point it should have received your roaring approval for me to feel compelled to try this line. Of course, if I come accross it I will sniff all three but short of that miracle... I'm with Dee on that.

8:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you weren't snarky at all, I just needed to explain myself. :)

I totally understand. We need to try to get the most out of our money. :)

6:43 AM EDT  
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5:45 AM EDT  

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