Monday, September 17, 2012
Multiple Rouge by Humiecki and Graef
There's really nothing else like Multiple Rouge, which has made it difficult to write about. My favorite of the offbeat Humiecki and Graef line, it's somehow simultaneously weirder than it sounds, and tamer. There's no denying it's a big bowl of fruity berries, a sort of study in various succulent hues of red. There's no getting around the immortelle, which, like patchouli, is going to be a deal breaker for some. But somehow, these two, encouraged by a dash of coriander, play nice. Multiple Rouge is similar to the fruitchouli, but something else altogether, thanks to the immortelle and a salted caramel effect.
The berries have a darker quality than, say, the explosive brightness of a fragrance like Byredo Pulp, but Pulp is a useful comparison. Like Multiple Rouge, Pulp is an oversized fantasy take on fruit. Still, for all its outlandish strangeness, Multiple Rouge is a far mellower wear. Moodier, too. Pineapple and peach complicate things, arranging the scent into interesting tensions. This is tart but seasoned pineapple, and a stewed peach. Together they seem to conjure something like apple, if not in the shape of anything you'd want to eat.
There's a savory feel to Multiple Rouge unlike anything I've smelled in a berried fragrance. While it isn't gourmand in any conventional way, it nevertheless feels foody. There's something aquatic going on as well. So: berry, salt, apple, peach, pineapple, ozonic, immortelle. See what I mean?
People talk about Multiple Rouge's sense of playfulness. Beyond words, it's a study in absurdity, fragrance as delighted squeal. Just as many seem to feel the joke's on them, and fail to see the humor. Did I mention the booziness? Those apples and berries are on their way to some kind of special, simmering brew, the kind you find in a Crock-pot around the holidays, spiked to get you through Uncle Ed's second wind; dash of grenadine, dash of cognac.
I appreciate Multiple Rouge's unusualness, but wear it seriously. It's one of my favorite immortelle scents, along with Fougere Bengale, Sables, Eau Noire, and 1740.
Top photo: Bert Stern
Middle: Norman Parkinson
Bottom: Irving Penn