One of the pleasures of taking a stroll in Paris or simply going from point A to point B is picking up on sillages of perfume on the streets. When a repetition pattern appears, it becomes a bit intriguing.
Paris ca. 1925, from art.com
In early September when the weather was still summery and sunny, I started smelling Hypnotic Poison a few times. What I found anomalous was the fact that it felt as if several women had decided to anticipate the colder days and pulled out their fur perfumes, the same one for some reason, seemingly showing the same concerted impatience to get done and over with summer. I couldn't help but think several things: that Parisian women indeed like their oriental perfumes and are all too ready to stop pretending summery scents can be satisfying; it was interesting that these women were young (with one exception) and finally that maybe they could have held on a bit longer to envelop themselves with the rich, sensual volutes of this boudoir oriental. I felt pleasure at smelling the heliotrope and rich tonka but at the same time felt there was a discrepancy with the pace of the season. I somehow liked the idea that in the near future when the gray of autumn would cover the sky and mesh with the zinc roofs and coldness would be inescapable, that it would make the scent be even more irresistible. But now? Wasn't it a bit early?...
I also thought that those sillages of Hypnotic Poison smelled very much like my memory of the perfume, but as if more spruce, more contained, less red lights and more white. Perhaps an effect of natural freshness, or an influence of the age of the wearer on the perception of the scent. It felt like an Hypnotic Poison that might have received a skin lift.
After a few days, the keys to the mystery were handed to me when I stepped into a perfumery and saw a glowing edition of Hypnotic Poison partially decorated with a spray of (glass) rubies. The bottle looked lovely, I had to pick it, smell it, admire it. It wafted like the sillages from the street, like its old self, but with this feeling of a youth lift, of a new hidden secret tuck. It was the latest flanker from Dior. The bait had worked, women were buying the new rutilating red peacock-like flacon which probably attracted younger women thanks to its whimsy bottle necklace that Belle in Gone with the Wind could have worn and thanks also to Monica Bellucci's enticing gesture on the advertising.
Then later, I started smelling a divine version of Angel on two people on two different days, then three. That sillage of Angel was the best I had smelled so far and I even mentioned it in a post earlier on. I initially just thought that these people knew how to find the right perfume for themselves.
Angel has the reputation of being loud, but in these cases, it was a very present yet nuanced sillage.
Again, mystery solved a few days later when I happened on the latest Angel flanker on the shiny shelves of Sephora, the liqueur edition aged following a technique adapted from the know-how of Cognac makers. If initially the bottle of the Alien liqueur is what caught my eye with its rich citrine juice behind the gem-like walls of the bottle, Angel Liqueur is really the scent that is the mos exciting of the two, to my nose.
Angel has become deeper, more liquorishy, and as if sprinkled with dry cacao powder. The patchouli in it is quite chocolatey. The honeyed facet is also there to contribute to a dry fruit effect. It feels warm, enveloping. the only regret you have is that it does not unfold on an even deeper note. Somehow, you would like the scent to spiral down even more and you remain a bit frustrated that richness here has a limit. But besides this critique, it is a very alluring version of Angel.
And yes, I do think that rich orientals become Parisians and Paris. It brings out their literary, existential side, that inner layer of untold mysterious stories that make up Paris, only half-evoked by a perfume that has even more to say but prefers to retain a tension, a non-dit, rather than spell out everything. The art of suggestion.