The very first perfume "review" I posted here was of Monyette Paris eponymous perfume oil. It was a little over nine years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I wanted to talk about a perfume I fell in love with despite my (now defunct) aversion to white flowers. I also wanted to describe the process of giving a second (or was it a third?) chance to a fragrance that didn't particularly appeal to me at first sniff. I failed miserably. But I did love Monyette Paris. I loved it so much that I started, finished, and repurchased a new roller-ball within a year. That rarely happens these days. Of course, we're talking about a 1/8 oz little thing, but still.
The tropical night charm of Monyette Paris is still as captivating as it was back then. At times it smells incredibly simple: isn't it just a sweet and creamy gardenia? On other days the oil seems to be constructed of endless layers of white gauzy material that adds up. Gardenia? Yes, sure. But also coconut milk, vanilla, phantom white flowers that go in and out, a touch of champaca or plumeria (even after all these years I often get the two mixed up in some blends). It's heady, of course, enough to make it a perfect sultry summer night favorite; but the tropical fantasy floats over a surprisingly comforting vanilla base. I rely on Monyette Paris as a winter pick-me-up just as much as I do in the heat. A fantasy of a chilled pudding on a warm island? Yes, please.
Regular readers know that I can't deal with Datura Noir (Lutens) that has a lot in common (coconut, white flowers, an oriental base) with this little oil. But Monyette is far more easy-going. Not as green, not as loud, and smiles a lot more. For some this might be a dumbed-down simplification, but I find it a relief. Monyette Paris doesn't go all the way to the beachy suntan lotion category, despite its creaminess. It isn't a light and fresh, and the way the oil blooms in the heat might be too assertive for some. But it's a lot of fun.
Monyette Paris used to be grouped with other 1990s-early 2000s perfumes with an unmistakable California vibe that blonde celebs liked to buy in small Los Angeles boutiques. Stuff like Kai and Child Perfume (still one of the worst names I can think of) that were all the rage in a world that had much fewer perfume releases and even less so outside the department store counters. I have no idea how many people still remember, wear or buy any of them. It seems that Kai is still the most popular of the bunch (and it was supposed to be the inspiration behind Jennifer Aniston's insufferable fragrance). Is Monyette all but forgotten? It deserves to be reintroduced.
Monyette Paris Perfume Oil ($45, 1/8 oz perfume oil, still the same price it was when I bought my second bottle) is available from Luckyscent.
Photo of Dorothy Lamour via her fan site.