I spent years regarding Paco Rabanne XS Extreme Girl as a guilty pleasure; a somewhat shameful indulgence. Don't fault me for that. Between the perfume's name, the fact that Paco Rabanne is no longer what it used to be, and the ultra trashy advertisement (below), this 2001 limited edition fragrance was never meant to become Apres L'Ondee. Seriously, just look at this:
|I don't even want to think who is the target audience for this ad|
But XS Extreme Girl, is a Mark Buxton composition (actually a collaboration with perfumer Emilie Coppermann (Amouage Bleoved Man, Givenchy Amarige d'Amour, VC&E Bois d'Iris, several other Paco Rabanne perfumes and many many more, mostly commercial mainstream but also for The Different Company). Even before realizing that I could tell that there is more here than meets the eye.
Back in the day my first impression was of a honeyed fruit perfume. It's more than that, though. XS Extreme Girl opens with a strange infusion of almonds and slightly fermented red berries. The almonds and a general nuttiness are very dominant, and it's quite delicious on skin. The fragrance progresses into nighttime territory when the cocktail develops a distinct honey note: warm, thick, and slightly dirty. The incredible richness is anything but girly. It's not even all that feminine, or at least I think it can be worn by men who can deal with sweet red berries in their perfume.
Things become darker and slightly peppery when a heavy dose of spices, most notably cinnamon, is introduced into the mix. It would have been a gourmand fragrance had the dry-down been a vanilla affairy, but that never happens. Instead, you get a leather-tobacco base that still sports an impressive coat of honey. By the time this Paco Rabanne perfume reaches its destination there's little to no sign of the jammy fruit, and instead it's all about velvety skin and mulled wine. Longevity is from here to eternity, and the sillage and projection are such that XS Extreme Girl could use a warning label.
Notes: almonds, kumquat, pistachio, red berries, cinnamon, pepper, saffron, jasmine, honey, clove, leather, tobacco leaf.
Paco Rabanne- XS Extreme Girl was a limited edition perfume and never became permanent. Thankfully, it's still available here and there at mall kiosks and on eBay at relatively sane prices.
Top photo: Lindsay Lohan by Mark Seliger from a 2003 Vanity Fair photoshoot.