L'Ombre Fauve (Tawny Shadow/ The Shadow of the Beast) is one of the latest offerings by Parfumerie Générale. The perfume was created by Pierre Guillaume, founder of, and perfumer for the house.
The beauty of this fragrance to me is striking and moreover magnetic in its aura relying principally on effects of depth and texture rather than search for unusual notes taken in isolation...
The suggestive qualities of amber, musk, woods, vanilla and patchouli mesmerize the perfume-wearer as they combine into a sinuous sensual ribbon made up of the most seductive materials as if it were, additionally, to be found plaited in the thick richly scented long amber-colored hair of a woman who could not but be an object of Baudelairean worship and invocation.
The overall impression is one of unadorned sumptuosity and unmade bed sheets.
The perfume envelops you with its warmth and wraps you in the thick folds of its material while transporting you to an oniric nocturnal world where hair, fur, skin and scent, we are reminded, are common elements shared by both humans and wild animals.
L'Ombre Fauve rises in the air with the heavy density of a slow monotonous chant which would be sung by spelling out brownish almost black tarry smoky syllables. Its nature seems to be half fur, half trail of incense.
The perfume follows the unknown winding paths of a forest, or a jungle, or perhaps crouches in the darkness seemingly humming the praises of a mysterious deity inhabiting the dark recesses of the emerald abode.
As one listens more attentively trying to catch the meaning of the barely audible-legible words, they soon are erased from the air - and all that comes close to your ear is the soft, dangerous rustling of leaves. An animalic presence is felt which is warm, full of contained strength, capable of expressing both softness and power.
The new flacon as of 2015 © Parfumerie Générale
The perfume is blended so as to feel mysterious; one could however describe it as unfolding with softly resinous crackling, balmy amber combined and contrasted with a sleek powdery musk evoking the coolness of marble and ineffable softness of an angel's skin.
A remarkable trait of of the jus seems to be a quiet dynamism in the fragrance that pushes it to unfurl always in the same direction just like the current of a river would push the water.
It creates an impression of strength at the same time that it smells soft and subtle to the nose.
The amber is sweet, one moment lighter, the next moment darker with heavy tar-like tones.
A scene from Jacques Tourneur Cat People (1942)
The feline character of the musk is made to be felt in an astoundingly concrete manner as it seems to be suggesting the sound of the letter "f"; words in French come to mind like "feutré" (felt-like lit., i.e., muffled) "félin" (feline), "feulement" (growl) to describe this impression.
The earthiness of patchouli is palpable but never overpowering. Overtime, the tarry notes evolve into more caramel-like ones but without ever feeling gourmand. I wonder if there are included any vegetal notes in very faint quantitites as the sweetness is sometimes reminiscent of the scent of fresh banana leaves.
L'Ombre Fauve is reminiscent of Royal Secret by Germaine Monteil but it is much more evocative and subtle than its predecessor. In genealogical terms, it also evokes Tabu by Dana, with its deep tar-like notes.
Although L'Ombre Fauve may sound like it is meant to be a winter scent, it feels very versatile in reality. It is a deeply sensual fragrance, which thanks to its lack of elaborate ornamentation and abundance of fundamental qualities could easily become a staple in the fragrance wardrobe of amber, patchouli and oriental aficionados.
You can pre-order the perfume at Luckyscent. It retails for $100 for a 50 ml bottle. It is a limited edition for the moment being, available until the end of March, but certainly deserves to be part of the permanent Parfumerie Générale collection. You can also order directly from Parfumerie Générale.