(image, The Independent)
(Perfumer Christian Provenzano.)
Agent Provocateur is not the cotton candy cupcake or fruit slushie I’d expect from a modern lingerie brand. It’s a patchouli/rose chypre in the 1970s-1980s style. It is gravelly like many rose chypres, but it seems to have a less gigantic rose than that of Estée Lauder’s Knowing and Rabanne’s La Nuit for instance. Agent Provocateur’s rose is rich, but comparatively low-wattage. It joins the patchouli in harmonious fashion and gives AP its oriental style lushness. The different rose changes the tone of Agent Provocateur. It is expansive and takes over the conversation as the genre tends to, but once it does it doesn’t free-associate senselessly and endlessly in cocaine-club fashion (Montana’s Parfum de Peau for example.) Agent Provocateur is as big as the others of the genre, just not as overpowering.
I know many dig Agent Provocateur for its vaunted used-drawers nastiness, but I just get that mineral scent of soil that patchouli can lend to rose. Smells like a garden, really.