Friday, 2 March 2012

Parfumerie Générale Brûlure De Rose: A Plethora Of Post-it Notes Prompts A Proxy Perfume Purchase

Okay, so I know I said that my very next post after my account of the Parfumerie Générale talk was going to be on bubble wrap. I realise that countless* readers (see footnote) who had been eagerly anticipating another feature on packaging materials may deem not one but TWO Pierre Guillaume posts in quick succession to be a completely unwarranted diversion from the promised theme. Yes, Pierre Guillaume is a creative genius with a large back catalogue of intriguing and unusual scents to his credit; yes, he is easy on the eye - or even stronger than that - hmm, what could be stronger than "easy"? Okay...yes, he is incredibly simple and straightforward on the eye - but at the end of the day, as a versatile protective packaging material Pierre Guillaume doesn't really cut it. Or wrap it, even. Let's face it, his iPhone doesn't even have a cover.

And to make matters worse, this post isn't even that one! No, it struck me that in the interests of chronology - a concept to which Bonkers is known to pay scant lip service at best - it might not go amiss to rewind to a couple of days before the talk: I invited my friend S round to have a play with my perfume collection, which resulted in her taking home samples of some 20 new perfumes which caught her fancy, including one that she had a sudden and burning desire to own...Brûlure de Rose.

In preparing for S's visit, I got out most of my full bottles (except for the albatrosses, which remained confined to their refrigerated quarters), together with some decants and samples in all the main scent styles I like, and plonked the whole lot on the dining room table. I then proceeded to arrange them (largely instinctively) in groups based on very loose fragrance categories, labelling them with Post-it notes for ease of reference.

I knew that S owned Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, but beyond that I had no pointers as to her taste. Shortly after we sat down, S explained that she had worn Chanel No 5 in the past and still liked it, so I decided to park the vanilla scent group for the moment and dive straight into the "Aldehydes". I was surprised to learn that my collection featured quite a number of "aldehyde-forward" scents, from Ines de la Fressange to Balenciaga Le Dix, and two of these - Esprit d'Oscar and Chanel No 5 Eau Première - were an instant hit with my friend.

Inevitably there was a good deal of crossover between some of the groupings: spicy vanillas (eg DSH Cimabue!), vanilla and incense combos, woody-patchouli-amber-vanillas and so on, but where possible I tried to use headings that captured the dominant aspect of any given scent. Seeing my collection physically organised in front of me - sadly, there are no "before" pictures - only ones of the chaotic scene afterwards by which time the categories had got thoroughly jumbled up! - brought home to me in particular how much I love "powdery roses". (S also liked three here: Brûlure de Rose itself of course - which isn't even powdery to be honest, but it wasn't worth starting a splinter category just for "gourmand roses" - plus Floris Snow Rose and Rose Kashmirie.) I am also a big fan of vanillas and woody orientals, flanked by one or two leather or spicy numbers. In the spring and summer I enjoy florals of all kinds from polite office scents to the occasional dirty diva, and am also well catered for on the citrus side of things.

Here is the complete list of (very forgiving!) categories:

WOOD / INCENSE / PATCHOULI / "DARK" - I was clearly starting to give up at this point

Somewhere I jotted down the complete list of samples S took away from our session, but I can't put my hand on it for the moment. It was mostly spread across the vanilla (clean, not barnyard), aldehydes, woody/patch/incense, powdery rose and "fairly big" floral categories, with a general success rate of about 60-65% at a rough guess and only one or two out and out scrubbers amongst the scents I gave S to try. (For example, though I had high hopes of the tobacco note in Cartier L'Heure Fougueuse following the wild success that was Vanille Absolument, it proved to be unequivocably wrong on S's skin, and she likened it to the smell of "a tack room" crossed with "a specimen bottle". At that time we were both unaware that the Cartier actually contained a "horsetail" note!)

And then on Monday, following my return from London, S finally took custody of her new bottle of Brûlure de Rose, which she had asked me to buy for her.

The review of Brûlure de Rose that precipitated my own interest in this scent and subsequent purchase was this one by Marina on PST, and here is one by Olfactoria which I missed last summer when I was away on business. I don't really get any green "early morning" stage with this scent, though I know that it is supposed to evoke the evolution of the rose at different times of day. On me Brûlure de Rose is pretty dark, sweet and sultry from the off. The views on Basenotes are polarised on this one, and my dear friend lovethescents didn't care for it at all. It reminded her of a brand of lip salve, so it isn't everyone's cup of tea, though I love it as much as S.

So looking back, the Post-it note and bottle frenzy led to a satisfactory outcome all round: my friend found a new fragrance love, while I got a kiss from Pierre Guillaume when I showed him the bag as evidence of my purchase. Now that is what I call a good deal.

*For "countless" read zero... : - )

Photo of cake from Wikimedia Commons, photo of Brûlure de Rose from, other photos my own


Anonymous said...

Even though I am eagerly awaiting your promised bubble wrap post, feel free to post as many Pierre Guillaume pieces in succession as you wish. All those pretty pics of PG, plus daring tales of wrist-licking, cheek-kissing, and phone-freeing are well worth the read. (Not to mention the excellent reporting of PG's thoughts on the creation of his fragrances and his opinions on other scents).

Speaking of freeing your phone from its body armour: does that mean it can now fit into that pretty little Prada case? Or are your glasses unwilling to give up their cachet?

You and S must have had a great time together given those "after" pictures and that she walked away
with 20 scents to try. You deserved that "bi-cheek bise" for all your organizing work.

-- Lindaloo

Martha said...

Parfumerie Generaaaaaaaale! I love them.

Sadly, I don't much like Brulure de Rose, but I choose to consider that a lapse in taste on my part.

Olfactoria's Travels said...

Just for the record, I would more than welcome PG wrapping himself around me, more so than bubble wrap even, so I am totally fine with your choice of blog post order.

S is a lucky woman indeed to have you as a friend, I'm proud of you for being such a wonderful perfume missionary (umm, why I am I thinking of PG again now, whatever... moving on).
Thank you for the Brulure de Rose link, you've inspired me to wear it again, it is in my weekend bag.

P.S. I'm sorry, but it is probably comments like these that keep your blog on the FB blacklist. ;)

Tara said...

LOL at B's comment above! Only because I've been thinking much worse :) It's all PG's fault.

Actually I am very grateful to Birgit for introducing me to Brulure de Rose. I love it and would like a FB one day. It is like a rose dusted in caramel so I kind of think of it as powdery.

S is obviously a natural, describing L'HF as like a tackroom!

What a lovely time the two of you must have had!

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

I am pleased to hear that you have been able to contain your curiosity about the upcoming bubble wrap post, and were happily distracted by the many attractive facets of PG and his work. I fear the next post, when it comes, will have a lot to live up to now!

And that's a very good point about the Prada Candy bag. : - ) Yes it does indeed fit, is the short answer, but the glasses have more or less annexed the Prada bag now - on contact lens wearing days, certainly.

It was a pleasure to introduce S to my perfume collection. I have done a similar exercise with a few other friends, but never in such a systematic - and thematic! - way. Also, I am aware that I have enjoyed a lot of hospitality at S's house in recent months, and given my own lacklustre skills as a "cooker" (you may have seen a photo on Facebook of my pancake-cake hybrid effort from the other week?), figured that this was a way to reciprocate where I could genuinely "add value", as it were, where my home cooking might not. I have suggested a re-match in the summer, as we never got around to the citrus and orange categories or most of the florals!

And it is true that I had at least as good a time as S - it was like the enjoyment you get from watching a favourite film with a friend who hasn't seen it before, or something like that!

Vanessa said...

Hi ChickenFreak,

I wouldn't say your liking Brulure de Rose is a lapse of taste on your part - I do have the feeling, reading around and talking to fellow fumeheads, that it doesn't receive universal love. It is quite potent for one thing, but I find it extraordinarily affecting in a way very few other scents have ever moved me. Plus Que Jamais being one of the few with similar affective powers!

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Hahaha - I am sure a lot of us would agree with you on that point. You and he are more or less contemporaries as well!

If this sort of delightful comment gets my links blacklisted on FB, it will have been worth it...

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Thanks for realigning Brulure with the "powdery rose" category. : - )

I must have instinctively thought it was powdery enough to belong there - the labelling process was incredibly quick and knee jerk: I was just making it up as I went along really, and some of the bottles shuttled to and fro between different categories over the course of the session.

I can understand your considering this FBW. I am down to my last few ml of Brulure myself, so I do see a repeat purchase in my future...

Anonymous said...

I love BdR! It was one of my very first full bottles, when I was looking for the perfect rose (I've found several, btw).

What a fun time you had with your friend! I love sharing the world of fragrance with non-perfumistas, it's so thrilling to see how they react to each scent, and what they like or don't like :)

Thank you for sharing!

lovethescents said...

I can't believe you remembered my thoughts on this one! That was years ago! Your memory is excellent.

It sounds like you and S had a great time. How kind of you to prepare everything so carefully for her, and with obvious success :-)

Vanessa said...

Hi Dee,

I recall your liking this one and have just caught up with your review! I will take a look at that - there aren't so many out there.

And yes, it is fun "spreading the love", as it were. : - ) Some of the people I have introduced my collection to have gone on to become fumeheads themselves. Well, one or two, maybe!

Vanessa said...

Hi lovethescents,

I can't recall the brand of lip salve, but the general image stayed with me!

I was pleasantly surprised at S's success rate with the ones she tried - her taste was quite similar to mine in fact.

Natalie said...

It was Birgit who introduced me to Brulure de Rose, when I was looking for a wedding perfume. I did end up with a bottle, which sadly broke due to (no doubt) poor bubble wrapping when I moved. So there is another PG-bubble wrap connection, albeit a tenuous one. :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

I am so sorry for your loss. A smashed bottle of Brulure is a much more regrettable casualty than my Boyfriend of the other week. I hope you can see your way to another FB purchase one day.

Oh, and I guess Birgit's suggestion of being enveloped by the great man himself counts as the ultimate aspirational style of protective packaging. Or even his jacket would be nice (having first removed the iPhone).

mals86 said...

Now I want to know what you have grouped under the title "Big skanky floral divas."

Vanessa said...

Hi mals86,

Oh gosh, I really should have taken notes, shouldn't I? : - )

But from memory I know Roja Dove Scandal was in that group (that you don't find very skanky, as I recall, but Tarleisio and I do), and Bal a Versailles and Amaranthine. Well, that was there more as a general diva, but it also has an animalic hint to it.

Beyond that I can't think - next time I do this exercise I will pay more attention to what I put where!

Undina said...

I'm envious again! I'd LOVE to be able to spend a couple of hours with a real (as an opposite of virtual) friend going through my collection, sharing, finding new loves...

I tested Brulure de Rose (thanks to Natalie) and liked it. It reminds me a lot of Rosine's Rose Praline but I'm not sure which one I want to own (if any - I need to test more).

I so enjoyed Birgit's comment! :) So thank you for writing a post that prompted it.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I am lucky to have a few receptive friends - fertile ground for planting the seed of perfumista madness, if you will! S said she could quite see how a person could get into this hobby in a big way, and that it had "opened her eyes".

Brulure was instant love for me, though I could so easily understand someone not caring for it. Rose Praline I also enjoyed, but it didn't move me it such a visceral way.

Birgit's comment was priceless, wasn't it, and I am delighted to have done my bit towards setting it up...!

: - )