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.