Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Jean Patou- Sublime

If there's one perfume-related decision I've made that now causes me to kick myself, it's the bottle of Sublime EDP I sold about ten years ago. I bought it after using up a sample, but eventually decided it was too floral and traditional. I was desperately seeking something more edgy and different, but had yet to discover Serge Lutens, and Sublime didn't hit the spot for me. Yes, I'm giving myself the stink-eye as we speak.

Sublime is a sophisticated and complex floral chypre with quite a bit of green thrown in. The seamless blend was probably the reason I wasn't so thrilled with it back then- it has a very classic French feel with an aldehydic opening and absolutely nothing that ties this Patou perfume to 1992, the year it was launched. Actually, Sublime would feel right at home with 1950s Jean Patou dresses and the women who wore them. I guess I had to grow into this perfume, or simply get my freak on elsewhere before I was able to dedicate part of my fragrance wardrobe to elegant timelessness.

I rectified my careless mistake when I began to fully appreciate Patou perfumes. I now own both the EDP and the parfum in bottles that are probably slightly older than my original one. The extrait de parfum is sweeter and feels more ambery than chypre, while the oakmoss is more present in the EDP. Both possess a rare and luminous splendor, and layering them brings out the full effect and richness. Sublime is the kind of perfume I'd wear on a first date, even if it's a casual one. It has the perfect combination of alluring femininity and an effortless confidence. It's powerful and easygoing at the same time. Actually, I'd also wear it for the second and third date, just because.

Sublime is still in production. It appears on the Patou website and sold for full retail price ($95, 3.4oz EDP) with the other Patou perfumes that are still standing at many department stores. Since it's both a chypre and the property of Proctor & Gamble I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was reformulated at some point in the not so distant past. My local Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's both stock it, but the tester is chronically missing, so I can't confirm it.

Sublime ad from the early 1990s- fragrantica.com
Model Joanna McCormick for Patou by Henry Clark, 1957- myvintagevogue.com


  1. Thank you for reviewing this. I thought you had reviewed it before, but maybe it was just a mention.

    This perfume is so not me, but I definitely love it for what it is. It has an interesting and beautiful development with a few subtle surprises along the way.

    And you're right that it is easy to overlook if you are still exploring and looking to 'get your freak on'. Along with 1000, I think it would be a pleasant surprise for someone who loves Joy and didn't know about the other fragrances in the Patou house.

  2. I had a similar trajectory in my perfume journey -- I wanted the new & weird for a while, but as time has gone on I have a deeper & deeper love & appreciation for a well-executed classical symphony of a perfume. This past year I fell passionately in love with Enlevement au Serail. Not only is it gorgeous, it is masterfully constructed, and I wouldn't have appreciated that aspect of it when I first fell down the perfume rabbit hole.

  3. i love most patous, but this one smells better to me in the air than on the body. gave mine to my mother, who wears it much more effectively than i do.


  4. Many thanks for your review, which is spot on IMO. This is a HG for me. I literally have boxes of perfume, shower gel, body lotion, soap, deodorant even!, stockpiled in my closet, and I live in fear of P&G discontinuing it. I can hardly tell the difference between old and new versions. I hope others may try and fall in love with it!


  5. I just ordered a mini of Sublime. I'll let you know what I think of it. What attracted me is the cedar that I read it has in it. I like woody chypre scents. I am ready to find my 'signature' scent so I hope this will be the one.

  6. When I dab my "Sublime" EDT, it is truly lovely, good. A whole perfume sensation.
    When my bottle arrived (I don't know its age), I used to spray it. It casts a hairspray saturated air feeling, that puts me off. A synthetic feeling.
    But when the scent lift by itself from my skin, all is perfect (shades from citrus, rosy tones, to wood).

    Talk about perfume trends! In the 90's Sublime could be easily dismissed, it reminds many other chypre, in a "paloma picasso" way of fashion.
    Now, Sublime could beat most Lutens composition on their own fields of woody plays. Sublime is now in "the air du temps" as french would say.

    If it was chypre, and held sandalwood, it most probably has lost of its lushness.


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