Friday, September 21, 2007

Robert Piguet- Bandit

My first meeting with Bandit by Robert Piguet was a head-on collision. I bought a bottle of the (modern version) EdP blind, based on the notes that I was supposed to love (and on the fact that Sephora had it on sale for a drugstore-like price): Spice, carnation, leather, jasmine, vetiver, patchouli and musk. What's better than vetiver and leather? The problem was spraying it in abandon on a hot summer day. The result felt nothing like my dream of spicy, carnation-laced leather. Instead I got an ashy, rancid old boot that was tossed out of a car into an old swamp. Extreme? You bet. But I wasn't ready to give up on this classic from 1944 (re-issued in 2005) with a cool note list and even cooler name. I was going to tame the bandit and make it work.

It needed to wait till the worst of summer was over, and then spray carefully. That helped. A lot. All of a sudden the actual perfume part of the juice started to reveal itself. It's so well blended that the florals don't stand alone: They are smokey, leathery florals (or the leather is smokey-floral, take your pick). OsMoz doesn't list oakmoss as a note, yet it's definitely a chypre, big in presence and character, unapologetic and very demanding.

There's a duality in this scent. A modern nose would not label it as a woman's perfume. On the contrary: Most of us wouldn't even blink had it been issued as a masculine fragrance. Yet, here and there there's something very femme about it if worn with the right outfit and matching makeup (red lipstick is a must here). The leather and smoke are sexy, yet I get a clean and soapy note in the drydown that keeps the garter belt and Cruella de Vil hidden, and wouldn't cause children and small animals to flee in terror.

Bandit is worth at least sniffing and trying. At the right moment it would make you hear Nina Simone singing Pirate Jenny. I wouldn't recommend buying unsniffed (which is true for every perfume, actually), especially since it's no longer dirt cheap and it's a challenging fragrance that requires getting used to, unless one has been rocking dry chypres and big leathers on a daily basis. I love it now, adore it with no reservations. Bandit is at the top of my favorite leather scents (Cuir Ottoman, Lonestar Memories, Daim Blond and Dzing!

And the ship
The Black Freighter
disappears out to sea
And on it


  1. Yup, I'm still waiting for cooler weather (c'mon, fall!) to retry this one. I did buy a bottle unsniffed, because I love Jolie Madame and wanted an extreme version. The initial spray of Bandit is so gorgeous, exactly what I was looking for, but it all too quickly morphs into dirty old car ashtray accord. And it still can be had dirt cheap - has Bandit available for less than $15US (not affiliated.)

  2. It is, ahem, challenging to say the least, but I do love it.

  3. The thing is that this perfume was never meant to be used by women. But since it would be quite difficult to sell it as a masculine perfume in the forties they marketed it as a feminine scent. And cancelled the original F. Holland Day publicity images.

  4. Bandit is so nice but i love Robert Piguet Baghari :)


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