Every time the husband reaches for our bottle of Equistrius by Parfum d'Empire (or when he smells it on me), he asks whether I've reviewed it already. "Why haven't you?" he wants to know. It's a good question considering how often Equistrius is worn around here. We both love it. We both love this mellow interpretation of orris. And we both have a serious thing for Parfum d'Empire. So why haven't I?
There's something about the low key character of Equistrius. It's like a background noise sometimes, and I have to make myself pay attention until I notice how good I smell. It becomes one with my skin in a non-perfumy way. Dry powder, dry orris powder, dry rice powder, all float leisurely in the air just above the skin. Something in the late dry-down melds into an almost leathery note, which I'm guessing is where the equestrian theme is leading, but for the most part I find Equistrius to be comfortable yet romantic, which I think is a far departure from perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato's intention of a tribute to the Roman Empire.
As you must have figured above, Equistrius is a rather powdery perfume, but not in the sweet makeupy way of rose-violet-orris. It doesn't have that vintage boudoir vibe at all, and it's not particularly feminine, just as the animalic musky veteiver in the dry-down doesn't make it particularly masculine. The latter, with it's use of the not-so-clean skin note of ambrette seed is probably a nod for that horsey theme, but this is a very pampered and groomed horse (I was tempted to use a photo of Queen Elizabeth and one of her cherished horses, but it would have been just as far from the atmosphere Equistrius creates as a Roman statue).
Equistruis is incredibly smooth and easy to wear. It behaves in extreme heat, in close quarters, as well as outdoors. It's lightness might be misleading. It has a dusky quality, the result of the classic pairing of violets and orris, which my brain automatically labels as "romantic". In any case, this is a beautiful and elegant fragrance with a modern twist on a familiar theme, and horse or no horse, it's gender-free, long-lasting on skin level and thoroughly a pleasure (must love orris).
Notes: orris, violet, rice powder, chocolate, ambrette, sandalwood, vetiver, grey amber
My older reviews of Parfum d'Empire fragrances:
Ambre Russe, Cuir Ottoman, Osmanthus Interdite, Fougere Bengale, Wazamba, Corsica Furiosa, and Musc Tonkin.
Parfum d'Empire- Equistrius ($145, 100ml eau de parfum) is available from Luckyscent.
Photo: Ewelina at an equestrian fashion photoshoot for Poland's Next Top Model, fall 2014.