Fragrances of Ireland Patrick, 1999

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(image source The Something Awful Forums)

Perfumer unknown

A fougère should be like a firm handshake. A good handshake doesn’t convey literal meaning, and forget the mystical reading of intention through a handshake. Leave aside also the old-boy, club-of-masculinity thing, too. A handshake done correctly simply conveys presence. The two performers are simply in the moment together. Nothing more, nothing less. The handshake is one of a handful of great things that masculinity has given the world.

If anyone is still producing encyclopedias in hard-bound book form the entry for fougère should have a scratch-and-sniff of Patrick. It is the handshake of perfumes. It is concise yet expressive. It is exuberant yet simple, soapy yet earthy. These dualities make it not just interesting, but conversational.

The coumarin/lavender/musk balance is pitch-perfect, but Patrick, for all its simplicity and directness makes me marvel at the slow sleight of hand that takes place. Over time, before our eyes, but unnoticed, Patrick moves from the barbershop about two paces into the realm of the green chypre. Spectacular transition! The coumarin, initially so closely held to the lavender and musk, joins hands with the moss, and turns to look at you with a laughing smile.

If you think you can’t afford boutique perfumery, try Patrick. It is by definition niche yet, avoids the trappings of perfume in-crowdiness, including price, preciousness and pretension.

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