Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Parfumerie Générale- Intrigant Patchouli

I guess this is patchouli week. Last night we talked about Chantecaille's Kalimantan (and Uncle Serge's Borneo 1834), which made me think of another modern favorite: Intrigant Patchouli from Pierre Guillaume's original lineup for Parfumerie Générale. It's another chocolate-free patchouli, supposedly inspired by the great chypres of yore. I must confess, though, that while I understand how the note pyramid is of that classic structure (something that Pierre Guillaume is very meticulous about in his work), the actual living creature on my skin is decidedly a modern patchouli and not a mossy leathery chypre.

I talked about balance in my Kalimantan review, and that seems to be the secret of a good patchouli. The complexity of a fiery opening that crackles and sparkles with spices before it unfolds as a mysterious ambery patchouli. There's a dirty element there that has bits of the forest floor as well as the beasts that inhabit its darkest corners. At the same time, a powdery and slightly sweet note transport us in time to somewhat old-fashioned rooms covered in floral wallpaper.

Intrigant Patchouli moves between two points: a smoldering and rather fierce earthy patchouli and a kind of Victorian sepia photograph, romantic and even melancholy. The connecting piece is an animalic note, musky-civety, that takes both the powdery chintz and the wild patchouli and brings them together into a coherent blend. Weird? Yes, I do think that Intrigant Patchouli is weird. It challenges the concept of vintage-like perfumes, modern patchoulis, and my own idea of a chypre. It  emerges a winner.

Parfumerie Générale- Intrigant Patchouli ($85, 1 oz eau de parfum. Also comes in a 3.4oz) is available from Osswald NYC and Luckyscent (the latter stocks the 1.7 oz).

Photo: model Natalia Semanova for a Vogue Paris editorial.


  1. What a beautifully written review - and you've inspired me to put this scent on my must-try list! It sometimes seems to me that Parfumerie Generale doesn't get the attention it deserves to get in the blogosphere. Love the photo you used as well.

    1. Thank you, Karen. I agree: PG seems to be under-hyped. I don't know why. The perfumes are fantastic, the price is palatable, and it doesn't hurt that the perfumer is easy on the eyes.

  2. Must get out my bottle of this. And fantastic photo, fantastic hat.

    1. Thanks, Anna. I've kept that photo for ages, waiting for the right perfume to go with it.


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