Agent Provocateur Maitresse : Perfume Review

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

Agent Provocateur Maîtresse, the latest release from the saucy British lingerie brand, brought to mind the stereotypical images of the 1980s—teased hair, electric blue eyeshadow and big perfume. In a sense, it is not very surprising. The original Agent Provocateur Eau de Parfum was a take on the lush floral chypres of the 1980s à la Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum and Estée Lauder Knowing. However, while Agent Provocateur EDP tapped into something indeed provocative, Maîtresse merely reminded me why some aspects of the 1980s will never bring out a bittersweet nostalgic sigh from me. …

The first impression of Maîtresse is a loud mélange of aldehydic*, fruity and floral notes. The white floral accord is one of the dominating traits; however, the drydown becomes woody and musky, with a touch of ambery warmth. While some facets of Maîtresse are appealing, the reason it does not strike me as a successful blend has to do with its lack of direction. Its form remains blurry and undefined. I want to peel off some of the layers and to tone down its volume in order to get a fuller glimpse of its pretty soft floral core. As it is, however, Maîtresse feels like a caricature on soft floral fragrances like Chanel No 5 and Love’s Baby Soft.

For me, the term ‘old-fashioned’ in reference to perfume can often be a compliment—I much prefer the distinctive feel of retro fragrances to the modern ubiquity of sheer and crisp fruity-florals. However, when I try to describe Maîtresse with one word, dated comes to mind before anything else. In contrast to old-fashioned, dated is not a compliment at all.

Maîtresse includes notes of white lotus petals, ylang-ylang, osmanthus, jasmin sambac, white suede, and musk. Agent Provocateur fragrances are available online at Abeautifullife, Bloomingdales, Kitson, Nellbutler as well as directly from Agent Provocateur.

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19 Comments

  • Elle: Old-fashioned versus dated – excellent distinction. I really wanted Maitresse to work on me, but, sadly, it didn’t. At all. March 27, 2007 at 7:44am Reply

  • Marina: I love the distinction too, and for me “old-fashioned” is something that would actually make me want to try a scent.

    (in a small voice) I actually liked Maitresse a lot 🙂 I am even thinking of a bottle. March 27, 2007 at 9:08am Reply

    • Umma: my constant choice! (3rd bottle) loving it! it’s a smell of celebration to me 🙂 – it’s not ‘dated’ at all. I would say that it has a royal vintage allure 🙂 April 22, 2014 at 3:47pm Reply

  • Ina: I didn’t mind it as much myself but “blurry and undefined” is exactly right. I kept wanting for more, and, like you, I kept waiting for the floral base to unveil. It has a great potential but it doesn’t perform well. March 27, 2007 at 10:19am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, old-fashioned for me could be a good thing, but dated never is. March 27, 2007 at 11:50am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, same here, old-fashioned could often be a positive inducement to try something. 🙂 March 27, 2007 at 11:53am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, definitely, there were aspects of this composition that I enjoyed, but overall, they were pretty well-hidden. It did have a lot of potential, however. March 27, 2007 at 11:55am Reply

  • Robin: LOL — can you do a caricature of Loves Baby Soft? I would think it already was a caricature. J/k — and still haven’t tried Maitresse on skin and perhaps you’ve saved me the bother 🙂 March 27, 2007 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Linda: How I agree with you – I sniffed this last week as it seems to be permanently promoted in my local department store. Firstly (and call me superficial if you wish!) I don’t like the bottle. I think it’s cheap looking and unattractive: I would not like to display it on my dressing table… My first impression was “quite pretty” but the drydown actually made me recoil: I could almost detect sour milk! I’ll always go for the old fashioned fragrances rather than those which are “dated”. Thank you for your lovely reviews, and especially for your descriptions of fragrances which are widely available! March 27, 2007 at 1:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I like Love’s Baby Soft for its very lighthearted take on the aldehydic florals. That being said, you should try Maitresse and see for yourself. 🙂 March 27, 2007 at 1:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, yes, it held a lot of promise, but did not deliver in the end. Or rather it took on such a loud character that it was overwhelming. I first tried it in December, and I kept revisiting it again and again before I finally decided to review it. I liked Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle.

    Yes, I also did not like the bottle, even though I loved the original AP flacon. March 27, 2007 at 1:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, yes, it held a lot of promise, but did not deliver in the end. Or rather it took on such a loud character that it was overwhelming. I first tried it in December, and I kept revisiting it again and again before I finally decided to review it. I liked Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle as well as the original EDP.

    Yes, I also did not like the bottle, even though I loved the original AP flacon. March 27, 2007 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Judith: I wholly agree with you: this smelled completely generic to me. And that made me sad, b/c I really do like the original AP. Oh, well. March 27, 2007 at 9:33pm Reply

  • nookie von pookie: Actually, I take issue with the “blurry & undefined”…while I was turned off my the intensity of the marketing of the line & also dislike most florals, I found the drydown to be very on point: at first, the florals are typical, it’s almost a generic eau du stripper — but it’s the drydown that’s genius: it smells like the end of the party, the sex and sour milk…why is it genius? because it’s being mass marketed & it’s a sex toy for the 30-50 set, and (just not quite) marketed as one. trying for sophistication and rarity, in the boudoir or elsehwhere, can be over-rated, and the designers are playing a delicious bit of double jokery. September 30, 2007 at 2:05pm Reply

  • karen: i discover agent provocateur maitresse in 2010.I loved this perfume alot and right now i am acutally seaching for another bottle.The scent is awsome on me. People always me what im wearing when i put it on can some one tell me where to get another bottle. February 27, 2011 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: I believe that it is available quite widely. Try a google search for an online store, or check AP website for locations near you. February 27, 2011 at 6:49pm Reply

  • Melissa Pham: Thank you for sharing this amazing article. Hope to hear more from you. August 5, 2015 at 4:35am Reply

  • Kenny: I came across your blog a few days ago and I have to say it’s become my bedtime reading ever since. Love it! Last night I when I saw the post about Maitresse I was very excited to know what you thought of it because I have been very curious a about it for a long time and I was almost determined to blind-buy it, but then you say “dated”, and I’m like, “OK, what does she really mean? What is is she didn’t like about it?”… I was completely disencouraged from buying it. Would you care to describe the scent a little more in depth? I would very much appreciate it! Thanks! March 8, 2016 at 7:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t mean it as a compliment, no, but I now don’t remember what exactly I disliked about Maitresse. It’s been a while since I posted this review, and I haven’t smelled the perfume recently. I think that I found it too heavy and sweet. Dated is also not the best adjective to describe a perfume, as I now see more and more. March 9, 2016 at 1:34pm Reply

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