Monday, June 23, 2008

Frederic Malle, Le Parfum de Thérèse: A Review

I imagine most perfume connoisseurs already know that Edmond Roudnitska created Le Parfum de Thérèse in the early 1950s for his wife Thérèse, and it was hers exclusively.

I’ve read that Le Parfum de Thérèse is Edmond Roudnitska’s concept of olfactory beauty, incandescent, ever-changing composition that is both soulful and awe-inspiring.

It took me awhile to try Le Parfum de Thérèse (henceforth LPdT) because I rushed off to try Carnal Flower and Lipstick Rose first. When I finally did try LPdT I felt I’d wasted valuable time, valuable sniffing and swooning time, because it’s just so heartbreakingly beautiful. I wish I’d come to know it sooner.

Others smell all sorts of melon, plum, oranges and leather. I think they smell this because it’s in the list of notes; it’s the power of suggestion working on them. I suppose if I smell it closely, too closely in my book, I could pick out these fruits, definitely the orange and some rose and jasmine, but I try not to dissect. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I prefer to evaluate the perfume, the work as a whole, the way it smells as it wafts up to my nose from the keyboard as I type this, or as a lover might smell it on me in an embrace.

Thérèse, Mr. Roudnitska’s wife, was one lucky lady. Le Parfum de Thérèse is a stunning masterpiece. There’s a definite wildness to it, a very natural, fresh, joyous wildness, the way one might smell if you were to go for a picnic, stretch out on a blanket in a meadow on the loveliest day in June. LPdT smells to me as if you fell asleep during your afternoon picnic, took a little nap on your blanket, and awoke to find yourself smelling of everything around you; clovers, grass, herbs, all the ripe fruits and wine you brought in your basket and the leather of the horses saddle. (Yes, you rode a horse to this perfect little picnic, this IS a fantasy, mind you.) The top notes do burst with a very fruity sweetness, but this is temporary. I find LPdT to be a kaleidescope of aroma - not layered one on top of the other - but rather, each note tumbles around and around and lingers in the middle/heart notes for eternity.

Le Parfum de Thérèse is a complex scent in that is simultaneously fresh, warm, sweet, tangy, tame, wild and salty. LPdT is traditionally feminine with a little edge, a slight subversive quality due to the hint of leather and vetiver in the base. LPdT dances playfully in a joyous and spirited way, completely oblivious to everything around it, dreamily doing its own thing, in its own time. LPdT doesn’t pay heed to market research, it doesn’t care about which types of perfumes are selling well or whether it’s on the cutting edge or it’s a classic. In this regard, we at I Smell Therefore I Am, would call this a Dandy of a Perfume.

UPDATE (2 hours later): One important thing I forgot to mention in this glowing review is that LPdT doesn't have enough lasting power. You'd never think so after the initial burst - it's so strong in the beginning - but it only lasts on my skin for about 90 minutes - 2 hours maximum. For a perfume this expensive this is a problem. If it were less expensive I'd happily re-apply. So, due to it's fleeting nature, I tend to treat LPdT as a special occasion perfume. The bottle feels like liquid gold in my hand (gold is the color of the juice itself and gold as a reminder of the wasted coins spritzing out into the air and disappearing...sadly...too soon).

1 comment:

Rocketqueen said...

Ah, that sounds absolutely heavenly! I love reading your reviews, it feels like I'm holding the bottle in my hand, carefully spraying it and letting it charm me.

Many warm wishes from Sweden!