Apercu- The Last Of The Chypres.
The first time I smelled Aperçu by Houbigant about ten years ago I had a very hard time believing it was new fragrance (released in 2000). I also must confess not liking it very much back then. I guess I wasn't in the mood for a very classic larger-than-life chypre that felt like a time traveler. Apercu was discontinued by 2005 or 2006, perhaps as part of the first wave of IFRA victims, but most likely because it didn't sell. Full bodied, spicy, and oakmoss laden, Aperçu probably felt dated to the department store shopper who reached for Flower by Kenzo or the various tea scents from Bulgari.
Aperçu is a wonderfully round and balanced floral chypre. It doesn't have anything edgy about it the way the famous green and leathery chypre present themselves but instead creates a very soft and womanly picture. I can't say that any particular note jumps forward, though there is an impression of a red and fruity rose (that's the geranium, actually). The spices in this Houbigant perfume are not particularly exotic and the green is lush and soft. I can smell shades of Mitsouko and of YSL Champagne/Yvress in its original form. The official notes don't list any fruit, but my nose and mind see peach and plum darkened by a wonderful helping of oakmoss.
I have the EDP as well as the extrait de parfum, and I love them both. The parfum is less green and more plummy and pillowy. If you told me that Houbigant has created Aperçu in the 1950s I would have easily believed. I think of Aperçu as somewhat motherly, which is amusing considering my own mother does not come near a chypre if she can help it in any way. Maybe I'll make it into my signature "Auntie" fragrance so my nieces and nephews will learn to associate it with me. I doubt they'll ever come across anyone else who wears it.
Notes: tuberose, green notes, jasmine, neroli, bergamot, lemon, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, geranium, sandalwood, patchouli, clove, oakmoss, vetiver and cassia.
Illustrations by Pierre Brissaud.