Pierre Bourdon: 8 posts

Christian Dior Dolce Vita : Perfume Review

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Dolca_vita_1

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

Christian Dior Dolce Vita is what I would call an abstract dessert, a fragrance that has a mouthwatering effect without smelling like a candy bar. It is a cedarwood compostion delicately layered with stewed peaches and dusted with cinnamon and vanilla. Created in 1996 by Pierre Bourdon (with Maurice Roger), the creator of Iris PoudréYves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981), and Shiseido Féminité Du Bois (1992, with Christopher Sheldrake), Dolce Vita opens up with magnolia and watery lily, the transparency of which allows a glimpse of a hot cinnamon note. The presence of cedarwood hints at the connection with Shiseido Féminité Du Bois (1992), but  the heart of Dolce Vita is miles away from the plummy darkness of its predecessor.  Dolce Vita strays into the spiced peach territory. Where Féminité Du Bois is brooding, Dolce Vita is sweet and bubbly.

The composition dries down to an elegant blend of cedarwood and sandalwood layered over balsamic vanilla and oakmoss. Its almond notes give the drydown a delicious sweetness that vacillates between a flaky pie crust and an almond candy. The dark resinous notes temper the sweetness, preventing the composition from becoming overly sugary and gourmand. Although designated as a feminine fragrance, Dolce Vita would be ravishing on a man.

Christian Dior discontinued Dolce Vita in the States, but it can found at various discount stores online. There is also a lighter version, called Eau de Dolce Vita (1998), with the emphasis on jasmine and orange blossom.

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros : Fragrance Review

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Kouros

As I have learned, Yves Saint Laurent Kouros, created by Pierre Bourdon in 1981, is a controversial fragrance, with opinions ranging from absolute devotion to utter repulsion. A few encounters revealed why it might be the case. The opening notes tingle with camphorous eucalyptus and tart bergamot, spreading out in cool waves on the skin. The rich fougère composition is ornamented by mace, bay leaf and sage, which lend a spicy edge. Soapy quality becomes more pronounced the longer the fragrance remains on the skin, calling to mind Blue Irish Spring soap. Between the top and the base, the composition is sustained as fresh and almost marine, layered with soapy notes.

When you are completely lulled into thinking that it is a gentle, unoffensive fragrance that might work on both men and women, then curious and disconcerting transformations begin to take place. First, it is just a whiff of something sweet and plastic redolent. Sweet and soapy note later, the composition evolves slowly, but after about an hour, the smell of civet starts to emerge. Have you ever smelled civet full strength? Without using more colorful terminology, I would describe it as extremely fecal. The same note comprises the base of Kouros, and while it is not exactly dominant, its animalic breath suffuses the composition fully. Combined with the fact that it is extremely sweet on me, the drydown is not exactly appealing.

The end result is odd, which is why I wore Kouros in the privacy of my home on more than one occasion trying to decide whether I am repulsive or amused by it. Even though I cross olfactory gender boundaries often, I decided to sample Kouros on a man to determine whether it might register differently. This little experiment led to the fact that my thus far compliant test subject rebelled and protested against any further fragrance tests on him. In other words, despite its unique and brazen structure, I would rather admire Kouros’ unconventionality from a distance. However, I would love to hear opinions of those who wear and love this fragrance, because as I understand it has quite a following.

Notes: Aldehydes, Artemesia, Bergamot oil, Clary Sage oil, Coriander, Laurel, Carnation, Cinnamon, Geranium, Jasmin, Orris, Patchouli, Vetiver, Amber, Civet, Honey, Leather, Moss, Musk, Tonka, Vanilla.

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre : Perfume Review

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17_photo_by_keith_hamshere

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

My first thought when I tried Frederic Malle Iris Poudre was of Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s description of a lovely black gown she wore for that fateful ball. Rich sumptious velvet, black with a slight purple iridescence is how I envision this fragrance from Frédéric Malle collection. The top notes of soft aldehydes are richly ornamented by ylang ylang, magnolia and jasmine in a classical manner that recalls Chanel No. 5. The sonorous chord of iris slowly unfolds against this shimmery aldehydic backdrop. Iris becomes more pronounced in the heart, where it is sweet and lush, without a metallic overlay that often accompanies iris notes. The warm base of vanilla and sandalwood envelops the silkiness of iris petals dusted with delicate aldehydic powder, lending a gentle and elegant feel to the drydown.

The fragrance was created in 2000 by Pierre Bourdon, whose some other fragrances include Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981), Davidoff Cool Water (1988), Shiseido Féminité Du Bois (1992, with Christopher Sheldrake), and Christian Dior Dolce Vita (1995, with Maurice Roger).

Photo: Sophie Marceau as Anna Karenina in Bernard Rose’s film. Still by Keith Hamshere from http://movies.warnerbros.com/anna/. I cannot say that this is my favourite film version of my beloved novel, but Sophie Marceau is stunningly beautiful in it.

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