Patricia wraps herself in iris, sandalwood and amber and talks about some of her favorite fragrances from Parfum d’Empire.
Even if Equistrius, a fragrance from the French niche line Parfum d’Empire, hadn’t been named for an outstanding competition horse, I would have been intrigued by the well-balanced combination of some of my favorite notes in perfume. Although Equistrius can easily be worn year round, I find it especially suited to early fall, when the days begin to shorten noticeably, the southward-heading robins congregate in my backyard Kousa dogwood to devour its ripening berries, and the breeze carries a premonition of the chill to come.
Equistrius opens with refreshing green notes and violet, but eases quickly into a warm and buttery iris that is mouthwateringly delicious and demands frequent wrist to nose enjoyment. This is a soft, rather than a demanding iris, and perfume notes have included rice powder to convey this softness. What I get is more a feeling of rice paper: white, translucent, and richly grained, allowing the warm amber and milky sandalwood to show through, especially as the perfume continues to soften and develop on skin.
Chocolate, although often mentioned in the perfume notes for this fragrance, is nonexistent on my skin, but it isn’t missed as the rich iris, amber, and sandalwood more than compensate for its absence. The sharpness of vetiver in the dry down, though not over-emphasized, serves to ground the perfume and keep it from floating off into the stratosphere in a cloudy haze.
Those who are expecting a high degree of horsepower in this fragrance, after all it is perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s tribute to the glory of the Roman Empire, will be disappointed. Equistrius, though quite long-lasting, plays it close to the vest. This makes it an outstanding choice when you don’t want your perfume to precede you into a room and stay long after you have left. It is wearable with a capital “W” and will always occupy a prominent place on my dresser top.
Overall, I find much to enjoy in Parfum d’Empire collection, and my two other favorites are Azemour Les Orangers and Eau Suave. Azemour is a memory tribute to Morocco, the country of Corticchiato’s birth, and the orange groves his parents once owned. It is a transportive blend of hay, oak moss, and orange, all enveloped in sunshine and would also be a perfect early fall fragrance. Eau Suave, one of my favorite rose perfumes, combines rose infused with delectable peach, apricot, and raspberry and is inspired by the rose-loving Empress Josephine and the Napoleonic Empire. I wear this one year-round.
The only thing I don’t like is Parfum d’Empire’s decision to eliminate the 50 ml bottles in its line and only offer the 100 ml option. It seems puzzling, as many who might purchase a 50 ml bottle will balk at the price and quantity of the larger bottle. Additionally, the bottle redesign (a photo below) does not serve to brand the line as well as the previous design. The ultramodern bottle with pared down label graphics and simple cap does not adequately represent the celebration of the great Empires of the past.
Parfum d’Empire Equistrius Eau de Parfum includes notes of orris, violet, rice powder, chocolate, ambrette, sandalwood, vetiver, grey amber. Available at Aedes, Place Vendome Haute Parfumerie, Luckyscent, among others. 100ml/$145.