Perfumer Isabelle Michaud is a Canadian artist who after starting her career in soap-making decided to take things a step further and trained at the ISIPCA school in Versailles, France. Returning to her native Quebec, Michaud settled in Montreal and started her own perfumery business, Monsillage, in 2009. The collection today includes four perfumes in EDT concentration that are inconveniently only sold online or in person either in Quebec or in Paris.
Jane of Daly Beauty sent me a link to an article about Monsillage perfumes the weekend I was in Montreal. I owe her one, for sure, as I am now a co-owner of an Aviation Club bottle, the more masculine of the four, at least according to the SA at Jamais Assez (a fashionable housewares store on 5155 Boulevard Saint-Laurent). The display at the store is quite nice, as you get to experience at least part of the perfume's dry-down on the scented black feathers while testing the more immediate effect on the paper strips and on skin.
It was the scent of Aviation Club on the feather that won me over before I even smelled the top notes or heard any other details. Two words: leather and tobacco. I was a goner. The opening notes are a modern take on a green theme. Bittersweet and mixed with black coffee, tasting like an early gray morning in the beginning of spring. You reluctantly get up, get ready, pack an overnight bag, grab an old and weary leather jacket and glare at the rainy city through the big droplets on the window at the backseat of the cab.
A quick cup of espresso, you skip the pastry but the sweet smell lingers in the air behind you, as is a whiff of smoke and wood polish. The sliding doors of the airport are as cold and gray as the sky, but you feel a little better now, warmer and you almost smile as you catch a whiff of a light sweet and gentle scent- is it something that lingered in your scarf or was it the pretty woman in the beautifully tailored coat that just passed you by?
Aviation Club takes you on an adventure and tells a story. Tobacco and leather notes are tactile and rich, full of life and experience. I know some women might find the green streak that is woven throughout the top and heart of the perfume too masculine or barbershopy. My skin makes it considerably sweeter, so I don't actually get the aftershave vibe, and neither do I smell it on the Blond (who insists Aviation Club smells better on him. As if). It dries down into a beautiful and urbane distressed brown leather that lasts and holds its own quietly for 12-14 hours.
Aviation Club ($95 CAD, 1.7oz EDT) is available from monsillage.com (payment accepted through PayPal) and in select locations as listed on the website.
Photo of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti from myvintagevogue.com.