vendredi 31 juillet 2009

The 2 New Parfums d'Empire: 3 Fleurs + Wazamba



The Moroccan-born Corsican Marc-Antoine Corticchiato has always seemed to me to be in a slightly awkward position: he often draws his inspiration from the same Mediterranean/Arabian pool as Serge Lutens, and his first launches followed a similar trail, with Cuir Ottoman echoing Cuir Mauresque and Ambre Russe apparently a variation on Ambre Sultan.

Which isn’t to say Corticchiato doesn’t have a style of his own. He does, and it packs quite a punch: a clear statement of intent against the shower-fresh, the candy-sweet and the wimpy florals of the mainstream.

His new 3 Fleurs is just such a scent. Corticchiato goes Joy one better and adds tuberose to an already fierce jasmine-rose pairing. The result is the olfactory equivalent of the Three Tenors, with a trio of full-bodied divas trilling away. Somehow 3 Fleurs doesn’t devolve into a shrieking contest, as the three flowers are adroitly spliced together by their green facets, through galbanum and mint: you might call the hybrid tuberosmin. A cocktail of musks anchors the whole production together. Big, bold and brashly romantic.

Wazamba sounds like one of the inter-titles in the original 60s Batman series, along with “wazoom” and “kerpow!”, but the Parfums d’Empire press kit helpfully tells us that it is “a sistrum used in the rituals of West Africa”, with a “heavy sound, full and deep”. So much for superheroes…

Once more, this incense/conifer combo comes hot on the trail of Lutens’ two latest takes on resins, Serge Noire and Fille en Aiguilles, but I find it more wearable because, oddly for Corticchiato who has a bent for saturated notes, Wazamba is rather soft and meditative.

It starts off with a shot of pure olibanum incense propelled by aldehydes then quickly takes on an oddly edible, savory quality with its balsamic blend: the myrrh gives off its faint touch of mushroom amidst its licorice and cinnamic facets, further intensified by apple. The incense note acts as the backbone for the various facets to unfold: cistus labdanum and opoponax dominate in the middle stage; green-earthy cypress and fruity fir balsam take over in the drydown.

Wazamba doesn’t really feel like a perfume, or rather, it feels like perfume drawn back to its primary meaning, per-fumare: precious resins and woods burnt in offering to the gods.

It is the smoke of this offering that impregnates the skin: as though you’d spent hours in some syncretic African/Indian/Arabian temple.

As Parfums d’Empire has been generous in the samples it sent me, I’ll doing a draw of 4 pairs of 2 ml decants. Just drop a comment if you’d like to participate, and Jicky the Siamese might pounce on your name…

The draw is now closed.


Image: Irving Penn, The Hand of Miles Davis, New York, 1986.

85 commentaires:

  1. Oooh! These sound divine! Please enter me.

    You know, Osmathus Interdite is one of my favorite frags. PdE are fantastic! I can't wait to try the new ones!

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  2. Hello, Denyse. I have recently fallen for Cuir Ottoman, so am very curious about these new Parfums d'Empire. Please enter me in the drawing, and tell Jicky what a pretty kitty I think she is.

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  3. Pick me, Jicky!!

    Those both sound really intriguing. I'm not really familiar with P d'E.

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  4. Here, Jicky! Choose me! (I confess: I'm a dog person. I'm pretty sure this won't work on cats.)

    I love the name Wazamba, and the description sounds very good as well. And Tuberosmin... mais oui!

    I have never tried any of the Parfum d'Empire line. I thought all their perfumes were associated with some empire... are these?

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  5. Hi and as always what a fantastic review! Going by those notes it sounds like a scent I would very much like to try so hopefully I'll get a chance!
    Many thanks,
    Ross.

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  6. 3 Fleurs sounds like a tuberose I might actually enjoy -- please enter me in the draw!

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  7. Pick me, please!! I am very excited by Wazamba: even if Jicky does not pounce on my name, I might pounce on this fragrance as soon as I see it anywhere!

    My favourites in the P d'E range so far are Azyade, Ambre Russe, Cuir Ottoman and Fougere Orientale, all of which have a lot to thank Corticchiato's talent for playing with saturated notes, no?

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  8. I would love to be entered in the draw as I'm a big fan of some of the P d'Es. Thank you.

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  9. Cuir Ottoman is my favorite leathery-oriental scent (admittedly, I have tried Cuir mauresque only in wax sample format). I pretty much like most of the PdE. And as much as I was thrilled with les filles en aguilles, I can't wait to try wazamba. And of course the Tuberosim sounds like a luscious hypnotic flower, doesn't it?
    So please, enter me in the draw!! pss, Jicky, choose this way....

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  10. Jarvis, you don't know just how cute the little minx is... You're in.

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  11. These sound beautiful! Please enter me in the draw!

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  12. Amy, you know she's impartial... except to cuddles and wiggly pieces of strings?
    You're in.

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  13. Fernando, they usually are associated with an empire but I guess the concept didn't fit with these.
    You're in.

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  14. Katherine, the tuberose is pretty much an equal-opportunity player here... you're in.

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  15. Laurinha, yes, your favorites are all heavy hitters... you're in.

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  16. Zazie, Wazamba is much quieter than Fille en Aiguille, but it's quite compelling... You're in.

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  17. I'd love to try these, especially Wazamba. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  18. Here Jicky, Jicky!! Give Carmen a nice nudge for me...thank her for the fabulous review and for piquing my curiousity. My paw in the draw, purrrrty please!

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  19. TheScentMuse, Jicky can, of course, write, but she's busy hunting flies, so she tells me to say: prrrrrrr, you're in.

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  20. Parfums d'Empire is one of my favorite lines! Please enter me in your draw, you have me seriously lemming these two new scents.

    Karen M

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  21. I've yet to explore any of the Parfums d'Empire line, and would love to start with these. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  22. Thanks, Denyse. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Hugs!

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  23. Wazzup with Wazamba? Hmmm, I'd like to know so please enter me into the draw. Thanks.

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  24. Nancy, you couldn't resist that, could you? You're in too.

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  25. I greatly admire personalities with definition, in people and in perfume, and if they can do it quietly, they are sublime - like cats. I am very curious about Wazamba.

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  26. Anonymous, great comment. You're in.

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  27. Given that I used to have disturbing dreams as a young child, involving a cat who was always hiding and ready to pounce, I love that I can bring this full circle, and INVITE an opportunity to be pounced upon. ;)

    As for the scents...floral is always a "can't know" territory for me...sometimes wonderful, sometimes a quick mental scan for who I can give it away to...but when you introduce the concept of "stitched together by green," well then, it becomes placed solidly in the "better try it" zone. As for the wonderful sounding in notes and wacky sounding in name Wazamba, I promise that if I should be pounced upon, I shall wear Wazamba to a drumming circle. ooooh, your description does sound so nice...

    Thanks for sharing, btw. :)

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  28. ScentScelf, I'm pretty sure most cat phobias spring from that pouncing thing they do...
    As for florals, well, this is the ultimate big floral, but you never know, do you?
    Wazamba is very nice indeed... I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing it come fall (that is if I can sort my ever-growing collection).
    You're in.

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  29. GalileosDaughter31 juillet 2009 19:46

    Oh I would love to try this. Thank you for the drawing. I'm putting out a virtual saucer of milk for Jicky as I type....

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  30. Galileosdaughter... has the milk been in contact with muesli nuggets? Otherwise it's a no-go. You know how they are...
    You're in.

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  31. Would love to try these, thanks for offering the draw!!!

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  32. Hi there,
    I'd love to be in this draw as well...I love the PdEs I have sampled. Cuir Ottoman and Ambre Russe are strange and beautiful. Ps I love the graphic appeal of your site.

    Cheryl

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  33. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  34. Oh, these sound sooooo enticing! Please enter me. *tosses ball of yarn for Jicky* Oh, is that cheating?

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  35. Cheryl, thank you. This picture by Irving Penn is so beautiful, especially when you know it's Miles Davis's hand...
    You're in.

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  36. Melissa, Jicky doesn't know yarn yet... I shudder at the thought!
    You're in.

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  37. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

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  38. Okay, I was going to sit this one out because of the recent Habit Rouge bonanza, but Denyse you make it impossible to be self-sacrificing when you write like that. I am all in, baby, and you all can think of me as wish. Also, Nancy, thank you for that, because the temptation was killing me there as well.

    Now, Jicky darling, listen up! I am putting the Border Terriers in the closet and am sitting here with a honking huge tuna in my lap with your name all over it. You know what you gotta do, sweet kitty, kitty, kitty...

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  39. Carter, Miss Jicky doesn't eat tuna, no she doesn't, not *that* finnicky girl. Now if you could make that pecan swirl ice cream...
    You're in!

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  40. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

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  41. Jiiiickkky, I've got pecans, I've got swirls...

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  42. I can see whiskers twitching... Especially since momma is on a ice cream ban since yesterday.

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  43. I very much like and often wear Cuir Ottoman. The whole PdE line is interesting and i'm considering Equistrius as a possiblre future buy. Please enter me in the draw.

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  44. Haha, I got the same association from the name "Wazamba", a cartoon'ish sound effect. But the fragrance itself sounds interesting, plese do enter me in the draw :)

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  45. Wazamba, Wazamba, Wazamba. It sounds like a magic spell, I think. I love to see if it works any magic on me.

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  46. PdE never fails to entice me (same with your reviews!), so I would love to be entered in the drawing -- thank you so much. Here, kitty kitty kitty...

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  47. They seem wonderful! Please Jicky, chiose me!

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  48. carmencanada, count me in for the draw please!

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  49. Bijou, I counted you in in the French comments!

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  50. Both of these sound great , please enter me in the draw ,Ms Wazamba Mamba !

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  51. Carol, that Ms. *Black* Mamba... Wazamba for my friends! ;-) You're in.

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  52. Lovely Jicky, please pick my name. I've wanted to sniff Wazamba ever since I heard ITS name!

    -- Gretchen

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  53. Gretchen, here's your chance! You're in.

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  54. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  55. Scratch dear Jicky under the chin for me, and please enter me in the drawing.

    3 Fleurs sounds jaw-droppingly lovely to me, and Wazamba intriguing. My only experience with PdE so far has been the rather friendly Eau Suave, so I'd love a shot at these two.

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  56. I do love the Ambre Russe.
    Please enter me in the draw!

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  57. Mals86, Eau Suave is indeed the tamest of the line... You're in (maybe for a surprise).

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  58. You've made both of these sound very interesting. I'd been keeping an eye on the Wazamba, as resinous scents are a siren song to me, but you've made 3 Fleurs sound pretty darn good, too.

    Pd'E has had a mixed record with me, so I'm very curious to try these and see. Please enter me in the draw!

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  59. I'm a fan of PdE's Ambre Russe and Osmanthus Interdite, so I'd love to try these.

    Here, Jicky. Good kitty .....

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  60. Oooh, olibanum....tuberose...these sound heavenly. I would love to be enetered, and thank you!

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  61. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  62. Eileen, I prefer the Wazamba myself but 3 Fleurs would suit a monster-floral mood...
    You're in.

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  63. When I first read the list of notes, I became immediately curious: like you, I find a discreet reminder of SL in PDE creations, but I think they' re nonetheless interesting on their own. Would love to enter the draw.

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  64. Auge, you're right, and you're in.

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  65. Hi Denyse: I'd love to be in the draw.

    Both scents sound really intriguing, and I'm very curious about Wazamba. I lived in West Africa for eight months and never heard of the Wazamba sistrum, but that certainly doesn't mean anything; I like the story of the inspiration

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  66. Joe, well you know press kits... still, who cares?
    You're in.

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