Caron Poivre and Coup de Fouet : Perfume Review

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Caron_poivre

Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

“Crack of the Whip” is a name befitting this outstanding Caron creation. After the sharp burst of pepper, the chill of floral notes ornamented by spicy iridescence begins to unravel. Carnation blossoms out of the spicy tulle and grows more and more voluptuous and sweet, before suddenly bursting into a layers and layers of sweet and translucent petals. As quickly as carnation appears, the next wave brings an additional layer of spicy warmth. It fuses the elements of the composition together, adding sweetness where it was lacking and smoothing the spicy edges before they start to burn. After the carnation petals are swept away by the warm breath, the sweet smoky notes of incense start to swirl in delicate patterns. Opoponax (sweet myrrh) is what lends a subtly sweet, balsamic quality to the dry down, forcing flowers to lose their demure quality and peppers to freeze into an intricate spicy balance.

Those who are afraid of Caron’s darkness and now-unfashionable mossiness should explore Coup de Fouet, which is a wonderful example of why classical compositions can withstand the ever changeable fashion. It is refined without being aloof and timeless without being dated. A true Caron gem! However, please give the top notes a chance to perform their transformations before making a verdict.

Poivre is the extrait de parfum version of Coup De Fouet, and as expected, it is richer and more cerebral. It takes longer to make its acquaintance, with the sweet incense notes I liked being darker and more vibrant contrast with the rest of the composition. Both were created by Michel Morsetti in 1954.

Notes: red pepper, black pepper, giroflore, carnation, ylang ylang, opoponax, sandalwood, vetiver, oakmoss.

On Reformulation (March 2011):

Wearing the original Poivre is an exhilarating experience that can only be compared to biting into a black peppercorn crust atop steak au poivre. The spicy rose underscoring the fiery pepper and woods lent the composition a certain dark vision of glamor. The current version is more pink than crimson, and as such, its beauty has been lost. The cinnamon, clove and pepper notes are quite attenuated, with the final result verging on bland. Coup de Fouet is the Eau de Toilette version of Poivre and it is even thinner.

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17 Comments

  • Octavian: Poivre is a wonderfull fragrance & very explosive. I would say a carnation fragrance feeded with TNT. There are some very spicy plates in Romania and Hungary, full of spices like pepper, pimento, paprika and other very strong ingredients. I’am talking about regional cuisine with names lake goulash or a very spicy type of “saucisse”. That was my first impression when I sampled years ago Poivre. A bursting fragrance like a chinese firework with lot of “gunpowder”. In fact Coup de Fouet is a lighter and more wearable version of the extrait. June 24, 2005 at 8:49am Reply

  • Victoria: It is amazing, capturing perfectly the sensation of heat hitting the palate. I wear both, although currently I only have Coup de Fouet. Very fitting as I love hot-spicy food. I remember visiting my Hungarian aunt and tasting her wonderful goulash for the first time. It was perfect! June 24, 2005 at 10:09am Reply

  • Robin: Yes, I admit to being afraid of the dark Caron undercurrent. Violette Precieuse almost put me off Caron entirely. I should try Coup de Fouet.

    What a lovely ad! June 24, 2005 at 10:16am Reply

  • Victoria: Violette Precieuse is definitely dark, but Coup de Fouet is incensy. Wait for the drydown, when it appears fully.
    Yes, isn’t the ad (from 1950s) wonderful? June 24, 2005 at 10:25am Reply

  • LaureAnne: ooh, I can’t wait til October in Paris and trying Coup de Fouet! Between you and NST, I’m going nuts wanting to try perfumes! Shame on you both! June 24, 2005 at 11:44am Reply

  • mreenymo: V, I love perfume bottle in the ad! And that tapestry! I don’t think the photo of it quite captures its intricate details.

    I’m not a Caron fan (except for tubereuse), but to be honest, it may be because I have not tested many of their fragrances. One of these days, I am going to pick up that phone and order the sample set.

    Thank you for your beautiful reviews today.

    Hugs! June 24, 2005 at 11:51am Reply

  • Victoria: L, my sincere apologies for torture I am inflicting upon you! 🙂

    R, the tapestries are amazing! Of course, the photo cannot capture the magnificent detail, which simply took my breath away. Do try the samples, esp. Coup de Fouet, Aimez Moi and Tubereuse, which might be more in line with your tastes. June 24, 2005 at 1:31pm Reply

  • Atreau: Oh I need to try Coup de Fouet, it has my name written all over it! What a beautiful review V! June 27, 2005 at 9:30am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, S! I think that you will find it as enchanting as I do. I also think that Caron needs to be explored more. It is such an amazing line, but not very appreciated these days, it seems. June 27, 2005 at 10:31am Reply

  • Tania: I went this afternoon after work–I’ve got Poivre on one arm, Tabac Blond on the other. They are both absurdly beautiful! You know, you get so used to smelling interesting but indifferently put together things, and then you smell something like these which have perfect balance, and they put most other things to shame. June 28, 2005 at 7:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: It makes me glad to hear this! For some reason, I just felt that these will suit you perfectly, especially given the fact that you tend to like beautiful and yet slightly unconventional fragrances. I think that both Poivre and Tabac Blond raise Caron’s sonorous darkness on a whole another level. June 28, 2005 at 8:03pm Reply

  • Victoria Thomas: Poivre is a beautiful and complex perfume and worth the extra cash to get it. I wear this when I want to feel rich. All of the Carons I own evoke that feeling and I love them all. By far and away better than any modern, inferior, imitation. You can keep your J-Lo and SJP perfumes, making fragrance is an art form and best left to the experts August 14, 2006 at 8:34am Reply

  • Victoria Thomas: Poivre is a beautiful and complex perfume and worth the extra cash to get it. I wear this when I want to feel rich. All of the Carons I own evoke that feeling and I love them all. By far and away better than any modern, inferior, imitation. You can keep your J-Lo and SJP perfumes, making fragrance is an art form and best left to the experts August 14, 2006 at 8:36am Reply

  • Victoria Thomas: Poivre is a beautiful and complex perfume and worth the extra cash to get it. I wear this when I want to feel rich. All of the Carons I own evoke that feeling and I love them all. By far and away better than any modern, inferior, imitation. You can keep your J-Lo and SJP perfumes, making fragrance is an art form and best left to the experts August 14, 2006 at 8:37am Reply

  • millionairess: I find this a lively fragrance, explosive yet gentle, sharp for a moment and then fresh but it is an atypical kind of freshness; not citrus-fresh or cut-grass fresh. While it surprises me with it’s initial vivacity, I find it strangely comforting at the same time. Maybe it’s the pepper-kitchen-grandmother connection? Poivre retains a freshness on me that I love and now and again, I catch some pepperiness, sometimes I get the carnation and then again I get some incense. The spicy mix of resinuous smoke, flowers and sweet pungence of peppers renders this fragrance fascinating and ultimately one of my all time favourite scents. December 4, 2006 at 1:37pm Reply

  • elsie klimmeck: is coup de fouet or Poivre de Caron still available – maybe as antiquite? May 29, 2012 at 8:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, they are available! May 29, 2012 at 8:08am Reply

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