Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sira des Indes By Jean Patou -The One With The Banana

The first few times I tested Sira des Indes on my wrist were mostly a dare and a little game I was playing with myself. This 2006 perfume from the formerly mighty house of Jean Patou is mostly famous for having a banana accord, and a synthetic banana is among the vilest of scents as far as I'm concerned. But I sprayed, sniffed and survived. And tried it again several more times until I found myself searching online and buying a 1/4 oz bottle of Sira des Indes in parfum extrait against my better judgment. How did that happen?

The short answer: The thing smells pretty and it was a bargain.

I'm a sucker for extraits. Even if they come from a perfume house that has gone downhill so much you can barely recognize its roots and former glory. Even if said house is now owned by a giant corporation (Procter & Gamble) more famous for feminine hygiene products, paper towels and over-the-counter heartburn medication, to only name a few highlights.

Let there be no mistakes here: Sira des Indes is a tropical fruity floral, pink, punch-like and girly. It has a creamy sandalwoodish vanilla drydown that appeals to one's inner teenager and opulent tropical flowers that belong on a printed pareo wrap worn on the Love Boat's Lido Deck (preferably while reading a chick-lit novel and sipping a pink drink decorated with a pink umbrella from a glass that had its rim dipped in pink sugar).

This still doesn't explain why I own this little bottle.

The thing is, Sira des Indes is actually very balanced. Yes, it's sweet, but none of the facets- the fruits, the flowers or the milky base-is too overwhelming or aggressive. I don't get the banana, either. It's more of an abstract plate of fruit poached in a vanilla bean syrup. The flowers are kept in check and never turn screechy or suffocating. Champaca notes can be easier to wear than gardenia or tuberose, and they play well with others, without hogging the bottle.

The result in this case is a cheerful little thing for summer. My skin is extremely vanilla-friendly, and the the parfum, with its creamier tendencies and medium-low sillage, works nicely. I consider wearing Sira des Indes an equivalent of wearing pink. It's not really my style and I don't do it often, but there are days that call for it.

Sira des Indes is one of the few Jean Patou perfumes still in production. It's sold in most department stores for a pretty penny, but can be found for less than half retail price through the usual suspects online. The parfum is a better choice than the EDP, if you can find it, though it doesn't add to the scent's lasting power.

Art: Amaryllis 06 by Marcia Baldwin


  1. I was about to comment that there are days when one likes to smell tropical and girly, but then you said so in the end. :) I for one love tropical fragrances and this one definitely deserves a try.

  2. I actually really like Sira des Indes: it is cheerful, well-made and not simplistic. Sophisticated foody tropical, perhaps? I'm only sorry so little use has been made of Jean-Michel Duriez's talents at Patou... And I'm quite worried about the house's future. P&G never really knew what to do with it.

  3. I'm glad Sira des Indes works for you - on me it was disturbingly animalic.

    I too fear for Patou's future - it's not looking good with P&G at the helm.


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