Les Nereides Fleur Poudrée de Musc

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(image source mademoisellepolonaise.pl))

Release date and perfumer unknown.

The name, the quaint bottle, the label (you really have to see the label.) It all tells you that this will be a powder-puff of a perfume designed for the sort of woman who tiptoes through her life imagining herself as La Sylphide or Giselle. The label even has a pair of symmetrical putti fluttering about carrying the name of the perfume on a banner you might find at the renaissance fair.

Don’t let the preciousness fool you, the topnotes make the opening of Luten’s Muscs Kublai Khan seem like a fresh rose on a pillow. Have you ever undressed somebody after a long day of winter sport, all those layers amplifying the scent of skin that’s sweated then dried multiple times? Remember that scent, then imagine some powder on top. That’s Fleur Poudrée.

Fleur Poudrée has all the sweet waxiness that the ‘skin musks’ have, but is defined by two poles. The flowers and musky berry-sweetness only serve to fill in the narrow middle between the boulder-like bookends of powder and funk. Fleur Poudrée captures what I love about musk-based perfumes. It tells you we’re animals and we in fact want to sniff each other. But it also tells you that much of what we learn from infancy onward, starting with ritual cleansings/circumcision/initiation ceremonies, is to keep others at arm’s length. The ‘personal space’ bit actually just means you stink and I stink and if human stink bothers you, you’ll never actually find a solution.

Fleur Poudrée exaggerates the carnal at the same time that it amplifies the classic defense against our own odor: powder. It’s the torrid disguised as the proper. Unless you’re in on the joke, Fleur Poudrée must be unsettling.


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