Tag Archives: Parfum d’Empire

Bouquet of Misfits, Parfum d’Empire Mal-Aimé

Those who love nature will probably agree that there’s a certain beauty to vegetation that grows on its own, without human attention. Meadows and fiels that grow wild flowers, plants & herbs – they look pretty and we admire their easthetic valors in spring/summer season. We often like (at least I do) the fragrance they offer but for some reason we find it too specific or not pretty enough to wear on your skin as a perfume. Why would you if you can choose a magnificent rose or jasmine composition. The underrated smell of wildflowers became a study of new Parfum d’Empire composition. Mal-Aimé literally means ‘unloved’ and pays tribute to weeds. A bouquet of misfits.

Mal-Aimé begins with a verdant vibrancy that feels a bit messy and chaotic for the first couple of minutes. It feels like standing in the middle of a meadow – there are bees, ants, flies, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies minding their own business, and all of this amidst flowering (or not) plants, weeds actually, that you can’t even name unless you’re a specialist. Different shapes and sizes of their leaves, varied shades of green stems, thorns or no thorns, a variety of flower types. Meadows are filled with stimuli for the eyes, nose and ears. They offer plenty of colors, sounds and smells. Marc-Antoine Corticchiato pays tribute to these unloved weeds with a perfume that is green inside out. Corsican Stinkwort also known as Inula is a wild plant that grows commonly in Corsica and the perfumer decided to use it as a main thread going through the entire composition.

I don’t know how it smells in its natural habitat but the fragrance offers a broad exploration of green theme. As I smell Mal-Aimé on my skin at different moments throughout the day I can smell aromas reminiscent of mint one time, the other time it was more similar to basil. There were also moments when it was closer to geranium or ivy. There are also more dry and herbaceous aspects to this composition, such as nettle or thistle that are mentioned officially in the press release. Surprisingly despite so many verdant notes the perfume doesn’t smell medicated or astringent, it’s kind of fresh and even energetic when you smell it. Though I have to say the greenness of this new Parfum d’Empire creation is more succulent and not very juicy or sappy. It surely gives off the vibe of wild plants from the Mediterranean basin, scorched by the sun but adapted to the climate and enjoying it.

The brand also mentions blackberry bramble among the notes. I’m not sure if it was only supposed to add a shrubby facet but if you ask me there is something faintly reminiscent of forest fruit among the bounty of other green notes of Mal-Aimé. These smells of meadow dissipate step by step as hours pass & after a while it becomes more difficult to differenciate between them. At some point it’s just a blurry mass of green – just like a painting can be done with streaks of different green shades, this perfume here becomes as such painting. Only much later in the drydown you can smell one odd thing that stands out – an orris root. Among the lush green smells it tops above them and effuses the scent of earthy and dried root with just some small hints of something buttery (maybe even slightly rancid?) and with a memory of violet flower mingling in the hiding. A lone, unique presence.

Mal-Aimé from Parfum d’Empire is a one curious scent from perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. It’s not your typical perfume but sort of like a study of a fragranced subject. Who knew one can source new raw materials for perfumery by distilling unwanted weeds and such ordinary plants? Nonetheless the composition joins Heritage Corse collection and offers something new both for the perfume world and the brand. It would place nicely somewhere between Corsica Furiosa and Eau de Gloire. Mal-Aimé is released in eau de parfum concentration, in 50 ml bottle. I’m curious if this perfume piqued your interest? I think opinions will be on opposite ends of the scale.

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Monday Quick Sniffs, part 60 – Do you yuzu?

As I continue my search for the new perfect citrus that could join my collection I was inspired by Undina’s Search for the Perfect Yuzu and decided to explore this note myself. By a total coincidence it seems that yuzu is a very trendy ingredient right now as a number of brands have recently introduced new fragrances that place this citrus from Japan in central position. This post will be very much like Monday Quick Sniffs but this time it’s themed, hence Do you yuzu? as an alternate title.

Oyedo, released by Diptyque back in 2000 is supposed to surprise you with a zesty yuzu at the beginning. What I get right from the start is a joyous burst of lemon. It has a very pure, slightly oily feel on the skin – just like natural lemon oil. But after a couple of minutes something weird happens and I start to smell something sweet, with a grainy texture like sugar. It becomes slightly syrupy too, making me think of a cocktail glass that has been decorated with a sugar ring on the glass edge. After some time the scent becomes juicier, revealing mandarin notes, and also greener with the accord reminiscent of green tea. Thyme adds a herbaceous feel with a hint of hay.

Heeley Note de Yuzu created in collaboration with Maison Kitsune has an amazing opening. The perfume starts with a mouth-watering smell of yuzu that offers a blend of sweet and sour flavors served in perfect proportions. Shortly grapefruit joins the composition and stirs your olfactive impressions by adding some juicy bitterness. There’s a lot going on as for the citrusy tones but it all feels right and well-though. Sadly all of these molecules are the most volatile ones and Note de Yuzu dissipates quite quickly, leaving behind the marine tones of sea salt and seaweed. Drydown has some grassy, dried vetiver and white musk. If these top notes could last, this would be it!

I’m a fan of Parfum d’Empire but I have to admit that a sample of Yuzu Fou has been sitting in my drawer for a couple of years. When I tried it years ago it felt very sweaty but today my impressions are significantly different. It starts with an aromatic, fragrant facet of yuzu rind – which feels quite acidic but invigorating at the same time. After the first minute or two everything is softened with a delicate orange juice and lightly tainted with a watery fruitiness of kumquat. Lemon verbena adds a green tone to the perfume – lemony, slightly sharp & floral. Mint adds a twist of aromatic refreshment to the composition. After some time these green elements water down, which also extends to the bamboo accord. Soft & soapy neroli blends with musky notes & cedar. It’s a pleasant one.

In the bunch that is on my radar today Yuja by Jo Malone is the youngest, being launched only last month. As most fragrances from this brand, Yuja feels very airy and spacious right from the start. It gently unfolds with a yuzu note – a very pretty one, slightly bittersweet for a few moments but it quickly evolves and becomes way more floral – like a blossoming citrus tree rather than its yellow fruit. I’m not saying it doesn’t smell nice, because it does. It’s just a little confusing if you’re expecting a lively citrus. Yuja has a warm, aromatic aura provided by clary sage but it’s balsam fir that lends it a nicely green character with some mysterious depth. Cedarwood prolongs the life of this new cologne. Anyways after 2-3 hours it’s gone from my skin and needs to be sprayed again.

One yuzu, four perfume and each of them is a completely different interpretation of this Japanese citrus fruit. Lighter, stronger, more or less complex, some are more bitter, some more sweet. I guess this allows more people to find the one that works best for them. On the first impression Note de Yuzu is the most desirable, with that lush juicy yuzu opening. In the long run Yuzu Fou has the best lasting power. Alert! Nicolai released Eau de Yuzu – I want to try it next! The search continues…

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