Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Lost Perfumes: Inès De La Fressange (2004)

Last summer I went searching for the two Inès De La Fressange fragrances. I was curious to smell scents that were created for one of the few celebrities who can and should be considered an icon and an inspiration. I wrote about the story behind these perfumes and reviewed the older one, which was all that I could find at the time. Since then I kept a watchful eye on eBay, until finally, a pristine boxed and sealed 1 0z bottle was mine for the taking.

The pretty box is adorned with the same gold leaves you see on the beautiful bottle, Inès' emblem. You spray by pressing the acorn that's on top. The whole thing is quite adorable, and so is the scent, in a generic, predictable fruit-floral-with-musk-in-the-base way. I'm not a big fan of Alberto Morillas creations, but one thing you can't take away from him: He knows how to do commercial fragrances. Which doesn't explain why this juice wasn't a success and was pulled from shelves within two years of its launch. Maybe it was lack of marketing, or maybe it was just too similar to dozens of other perfumes on the market.

While I'm not sure I could pick this scent in a blind test of other fruity-florals of it kind, it's not as bad a juice as one would imagine. Maybe that's another reason it was discontinued: there's no reek of vile cheap materials, and, dare I say it? It actually smells nice, even if only as a fruity musk little thing.

The official notes are:
top: mandarin, blackcurrant, bergamot, neroli
heart: lily, white rose, orris, peony
base: patchouli, white musk, benzoin, vetiver

Any orris and vetiver that might be in there are hiding their face in shame for sharing bottle space with all that fruit (there's no mistaking the abundance of mandarin and berries), and even the flowers are staying well in the shadow, but the drydown is quite fun. It's mostly musk and benzoin with a faint hint of patchouli. The result is pretty and wearable, and while it doesn't rock my world in any way, I don't hate it. The "yesterday's perfume" residue it leaves on my clothes is borderline gorgeous. That alone was worth the hassle of trying to find this perfume.


  1. Thank you for your sleuthing to find this one and report back, daer G. I had always been curious (mainly because of the lovely packaging, I admit *hangs head in shame*)

    Enjoyed the description!

  2. I really enjoy your "Lost Perfumes" posts: your last one reminded me that I really wanted to try Kenzo Jungle l'Elephant. I bought a bottle and am luvvv'in it! Thanks!

    As for the Ines de la Fressange scents, I'm not terribly impressed by either of them. I think I expected something more than "pretty" from someone I consider an iconic figure of astounding beauty and individuality. But that bottle, oh! It truly is gorgeous!

    Great review. Looking forward to your next one.

  3. Good grief! I was planning a review of this very scent this week! LOL. Strange that we should hit upon the same thing at the same time...or not! It is pretty and wearable, but not enough to be an owner...but that bottle is something!

  4. Ines has a her own fragrance? Well, I guess if folks like Alain Delon can have their own fragrance lines, why not IdlF?

    I loved reading about Ines in Helena Frith Powell's book, Two Lipsticks and a Lover!

  5. I reviewed both of these not too long ago myself - I had the 1999 one and liked it a lot, and when I reviewed it I put out a call to ask if anyone had tried the 2004 version. A kind soul sent me a small decant. It turns out that I actually like the earlier one better, and it's especially good for wearing in summer - the 2004 is more conventionally pretty and a bit too sweet, but I discovered that it's great for layering with dry incense/woody frags - really brings out the rose and tamps down the fruit.

    I too wish that Ines had a more majestic perfume to her name -she was an idol to me back in the day, so stylish and lovely and daring.

  6. P.S. - isn't that bottle to die for? :-)

  7. Apologies to all for being so late in replying back.

    Helg- I fully admit that my obsession with this perfume was because of the pretty bottle.

    Suzanne- Thank you! I'm happy to see another Elephant lover.
    I agree with you: I expected a more interesting and challenging fragrance.

    P.- Not so strange. You and I seem to be running in parallel courses, sometimes. I do agree with you that it's not a must-have. Just pretty juice in a gorgeous bottle.

    Mandy- Doesn't it look like French celeb scents are way better than the Britney/Paris stuff produced here? I'll have to check that book. Sounds interesting.

    Flora- I'm definitely going to try layering. Any particular combination that you can recommend?

  8. Well I have to say that I loved, loved this perfume. I stumbled acrossed it at Sephora back in 2005 during a Paris holliday. I´t worked very vell on my skin and I was shocked when it disapeared just like that. I got many compliments for it and could not believe that they did´t reproduced it in another launch. However maybe it is similar to a couple of other perfumes but so far I havent found any. My tast may not be like everybody else since I like both, Angel, Poemé, Versace signature, Eternity and a couple of others. So a sad ending for a nice perfume and a wonderful packaging. Can someone name similar ones to Ines lost perfume.

  9. I arranged to meet a male friend in Paris for a first date. He presented me with a bottle of Ines De La Fressange perfume on arrival and it was such a beautiful bottle. Needless to say it was a very romantic weekend and relationship I've never forgotten it. Sadly he died some years later so this perfume has such attachment to it and I sorely wish it wasn't discontinued.

  10. I just purchased a bottle of it on fragrancenet.com for less than $20 so get it while it lasts! x


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