Perfumer UnknownI’ve been thinking about unabashedly synthetic fragrances. Not Comme des Garçons synthetic or non-perfume punk fragrances. I mean Hermès 24, Faubourg, Boucheron by Boucheron & Boucheron Eau Legère, Lauder’s Dazzling Silver, Paco Rabanne Metal. Some work better than others. The less successful of the lot seem to fail for errors of approximation and errors of scale. Boucheron by Boucheron approaches sensibilities of flower and amber, but misses them by just enough that they seem odd, then magnifies them enough that they seem alarming. Approximation and scale.
Boucheron Eau Legère (2006) uses the same palette as the original, but actually smells nice. Maybe it’s a lighter hand in the composition, maybe there’s simply a little room to breath between the notes. It feels like it has a thinner nose viscosity. It doesn’t hide its synthetic tone; there is a crystalline quality that is both pretty and shallow. The chord has a fetching ring, but it’s played on a tinny instrument. Smart, though. In Boucheron by Boucheron a similar chord, much louder, is brittle and harsh.
The strict use of aromachemicals rather than botanicals does allow for a manipulation of abstract qualities. It gives PR Metal and EL Dazzling Silver their metallic glare. In Nahema, synthetics allow the creation of a sort of meta-flower. But in using solely aromachemicals to attempt to replicate florals, ambers, etc., perfumes like Boucheron and 24, Faubourg EDT use synthetics as scent prostheses. A bit like using saccharine instead of sugar or presenting carob as a chocolate replacement. It sets up an expectation that can’t be met.
Eau Legère’s lighter weight is what allows it to succeed as a perfume. It verges on appearing over-produced, but it’s catchy.