|La Perla basque - source: eBay|
On its very irritating website, so typical of high end fashion brands, there is lots of flash gimmickry and sideways scrolling images hovering right over the bit you want to read. The print is in a tiny font, white out of black - yes, even worse than my blog! - but I did manage to decipher the following background to the brand
'The designer Ada Masotti opens a corset boutique in Bologna with a promising name - La Perla. The name was inspired by the jewel-like case with red velvet in which th e first products were delivered.'
|Asa Masotti, possibly wearing a corset of her own fabrication - source: nonsoloborse.net|
Interesting mix of tenses there. And I have never seen an oyster with a red velvet interior, but we'll let that minor point go in the spirit of poetic licence. Over the years La Perla gradually expanded its range, adding coloured underwear as well as flesh toned garments, introducing bodies made entirely of elastic lace and so on, and then in 1986 its first perfume was born.
La Perla edp notes: carnation, freesia, osmanthus, light citrus floral notes, coriander, pepper, cardamom, jasmine, rose, patchouli, oakmoss, sandalwood and musk
There are very few reviews of La Perla edp, but The Non-Blonde was impressed, and likens it to 80s diva scents such as Fendi and Paloma Picasso. I can totally see the connection with Paloma Picasso - I am not sure I have ever tried Fendi in fact - and when you compare the notes (from Fragrantica this time), there is some interesting crossover in terms of their chypre base and the presence of carnation and coriander. However, it is important to say that La Perla is a very quiet scent, the quietest, most delicate example of a throwback chypre you could possibly imagine. And it is a long time since I smelt Paloma Picasso, when I will have found it jolly scary on account of its multiple whammy of animalic notes. But these days I am much more game with respect to the 'business end' of small mammals. I am speaking metaphorically, obviously.
Paloma Picasso notes: coriander, angelica, carnation, aldehydes, ylang-ylang, jasmine, hyacinth, oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, tobacco, castoreum, civet and musk
Go on then, how does it smell?
Word associations that spring to mind when La Perla hits the skin are 'cool, silky, feminine, light floral, mossy, ever so slightly plasticky'. Now normally I am very anti-plastic notes in a scent, and have gunned down large swathes of the Givenchy and Jean-Paul Gaultier ranges on that very account, but a hint of plastic doesn't bother me here and it is moreover quite fleeting.
And now here's the interesting thing about La Perla. It starts out girly and feminine, a wisp of elasticated lace if you will, a silken strap of a scent, but gradually a more animalic base asserts itself, and though there is none listed, it most certainly smells like CIVET to me. During my googling of the notes, I came across an intriguing thread on Basenotes, in which Olfacta of Olfactarama (who is blogging again, in case anyone missed that) asks if other members have encountered a civet note in La Perla - which she herself doesn't particularly care for, I might add. She appears to be the only one who detects it, mind, but I get a pronounced note as the scent wears on, indeed on one particular wearing the civet base (phantom or otherwise) persisted until the following morning!
And what is even more noteworthy is the fact that I didn't mind. I wanted to keep sniffing my wrist when it got to this nice but naughty stage. This is the scent of 'finished business', rolls in the hay, getting to fifth? base, and what might euphemistically be termed 'special cuddles'.
So in summary - a new lemming and the need to revise my Basenotes moniker. For from now on, I should be known not as 'VM I hate civet', but as 'VM I appear to have discovered a sneaking affection for civet and am as surprised as the next man'.