My perfect Christmas scent for 2006 is Gaultier2 (Power 2) by Jean Paul Gaultier. A little surprised? So was I. Francis Kurkdjian the nose who created the unisex perfume in 2005 once described it in no uncertain terms as a perfume supposed to evoke sex in the dark. Then I forgot about this characterization.
Having dug out the quote again, I see that the nose was very explicit about it "The request for a new feminine fragrance came from the market. But Jean Paul Gaultier felt less than inspired by this request: for him there exist only beautiful aromas. He wanted to make a perfume for everyone that would evoke the smell of two bodies in the dark, that of a caramel between two mouths, that of "ass" but clean ass.".....
Where is the sense of Christmas cheer one might expect from a Christmas perfume in that description you will ask me? What do I really mean by "Christmas cheer"?
My definition is actually that of the kind typically found in mainstream family movies. I imagine rooms filled with warm aromas of candles, food, drinks, pine needles, and everything cozy. It is an atmosphere evocative of Christmases past, that is also of childhood. At least this is what I started thinking about when I sniffed Gaultier2, as a warm wave of well-being, security, gourmandise, innocence, and moral proximity to childhood washed over my impressions. I do detect the above-mentioned caramel note but it suggests a bonbonnière on a table, not two mouths flirting around it. The promised sex-in-the-dark aspect to it and adult sensuality are in fact, to me, so innocent that it evokes only fully clothed people.
Gaultier2 at first is a golden amber-y evocation of spicy gingerbread made with honey, exactly the kind you find in France. Then it evokes another treat, almond macaroons. The caramel note is smooth and subtle; it is the best I have smelled so far. The whole scent is extremely mellow. It is a relaxing, comforting perfume, and as I said, like a pot-pourri of sensations one longs to feel at Christmas.
You would not know by just looking at the description of the notes. Gaultier2 has one of the most succint of note-descriptions there is. If you are to blindly believe Francis Kurkdjian, he orchestrated three notes in it: amber, musk, and vanilla. He explained that he loved these notes and wanted to showcase them. There goes the official story. That leitmotiv-description appeared everywhere I looked and so it seems that they are particularly secretive about the composition of the perfume. It does not do justice to the complexity of the fragrance. It also gives a hidden-gem aura to Gaultier2 and I can only warmly recommend that you try it at this time of the year.
On a thematic plane it is interesting to compare it with Angel by Thierry Mugler which is also an attempt to capture, explicitly in that case, the gourmand atmosphere of a "marché de Noël" (Christmas market) in northern Alsace. Gaultier2 is very different from Angel yet it seems to play upon similar memories, and is even more effective at that in my opinion.
I initially did not find the bottle very attractive but I must say that its relative flatness - like that of a whiskey flask - makes it very easy to carry and reach for in one's handbag. The presentation as two magnetic bottles attached to each other as a couple is purely symbolic. The jus is the same. Finally, I don't know if you will be able to resist it, but I felt the urge to slap my bottle on the door of my fridge....great fridge magnet!
My thanks to Dusan for calling my attention to Gaultier2.