mardi 8 juillet 2008

How Guerlain's Attrape-coeur caught a heart

If there ever was a perfume that deserved its name, it’s this one: in French, Attrape-cœur[1] means « the heart-catcher ». Ever since it entered my life three months ago, I’ve found Attrape-coeur maddeningly frustrating to analyse, because when I wear it (often), I just feel like soaking in its vanilla-soaked woody amber accords…

I’m not much of a gourmand perfume fan, and a bit of a snob when it comes to vanilla (too easy), so the voluptuous comfort this fragrances gives me it is a bit of a puzzler.

For the longest time, my nose couldn’t even read the iris, violet and rose notes that seemed obvious to other, admittedly more experienced bloggers, like Victoria of Bois de Jasmin or Marina of Perfume-Smellin’ Things.

But I hung on and finally extricated the iris from its ambery wrapping. It plays a similar role in this composition than in Chanel Bois des Iles, to which Luca Turin compares Attrape-Coeur in Perfumes: The Guide. The cold notes dry up the slightly oily accents of the sandalwood base notes, and shoot metallic glints into the amber coating. The rose is barely detectable as an apricot-y jam folded into the unctuous mix.

Oddly, this edible scent manages to stay light enough to be worn in warm weather. Its oriental richness unfurls to perfection in Mediterranean nights. The fragrance even got me an unexpected compliment in a five-star hotel in Tunis. A young male employee caught up with me just before I stepped into the elevator, sighing:

- Madam, madam, your perfume, what is it?
- Attrape-coeur.
- Well, it’s caught my heart.

As the elevator doors shut, I still didn’t know whether the compliment was intended for me, or for my sillage.

[1] Created by Mathilde Laurent in 1999 under the name Guet-Apens, “ambush”, Attrape-Coeur was both re-named and, strangely, re-attributed, this time to Jean-Paul Guerlain, when it was re-issued in the Les Parisiennes collection in 2005. I own both versions and can’t say there’s much difference between them.

Image: One from the heart, miniature neon for the title sequence of the movie “One From The Heart” by Francis Ford Coppola, now displayed in the museum of the Neibaum-Coppola Winery in Rutherford, California. Courtesy of Aargon Neon.

4 commentaires:

  1. Oh! was the employee cute? If I wasn't wearing Amouage XXV today (working on a post) I'd be diggin' for my attrape coeur sample as well. I'm also blind to the iris and violet. Maybe since I have grown up olfactory-ily in the last year I can catch them now.

  2. Well he looked nice, but not quite enough for me to hold the door... I half-suspected some of these young men have a sideline in seducing single female clients (I was there on business). But my imperious Middle-eastern client was already quite a lot to handle!
    I'm glad I'm not the only one to have been iris-violet bling on that one, though!

  3. I cherish my well-kept cobalt Guet-Apens...
    Sumptuous, would be the word.

  4. That cobalt bottle is lovely, and I'm not particularly a "bottle" person... And the box all tied up with gold rope is a pretty nice idea too!