Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille, 2011

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mon parfum chéri

(image MISSING WOMAN: DISAPPEARING ACT #572, by Dominique Rey)

Perfumers Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal

I am as easily sucked in by the term “chypre-effect” as the next perfume fanatic. I’ll admit, I blind bought. Not only were the reviews good, but the  dark plum-iris-patchouli targets me perfectly. Factor in my recent interest in Annick Goutal fragrances and I become a big, round bull’s-eye.

As it turns out, I’m in love with Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille, if not the name.  Let’s call it MPC.  It is encompassing. Blanketing really, but perfectly calibrated. It’s a dusky, dusty, musty pairing of patchouli and coumarin.  The plummy richness and the odd pairing of iris and dark vanillic heliotropin, serve more as modifiers than main course.

In tone, this could be Aromatics Elixir’s younger sister, a bit less stern but equally towering.  Self-assured.

It’s not a chypre, though. It’s not even like a chypre, despite the common thread of pachouli. It’s a dank, powdery wood, with a remote sweetness.  It’s neither old-fashioned nor retro but it does feels like it refers to the past.  In the way that certain perfumes seem to have a language, MPC speaks the language of the more assured mid-late 20th century feminine perfumes.  It is a like mind to Balmain Jolie Madame, Sherrer by Sherrer, Lauder Azurée, Chanel 19.

Contemporary perfumery would lure you into a Bravo world where high heels define femininity.  MPC reveals backbone.  It’s not perched, it’s grounded. It is 180° from another patchouli heavy feminine, Thierry Mugler Angel.  Angel is an exciting, monstrous femme that knocks you over.  But where Angel is an irresistible force, MPC is the immovable object.  It has gravity.  MPC demonstrates that stillness is not stasis, but poise. It doesn’t try to appear contemporary, as in the ridiculous expression ‘fashion forward’. It simply IS contemporary.  J’y suis, j’y reste.

Screw bubbly and whimsical. They are irrelevant.  MPC is serious. The seriousness speaks of intent and assuredness. This is how perfume is sexy.

P. S.  I’ve always disliked the AG ‘gender’ bottles. The blocky masculine bottle is tolerable, but the feminine bottle is ugly in its plain-Jane frilliness. Is gender really so simple as these two bottles? Still, the easier it is to spot the simple gender binary at a glance, the easier it is to move past it.

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