Charriol Imperial Saphir (2012) {Perfume Review & Musings}



Jeweler Charriol have released a new perfume inspired by a precious stone. After red ruby, come smell the blue sapphire. The result is very interesting. Not at all what one would have expected. 

Not expected: a blast of Ethyl Maltol in the opening phase, or so it seems, and in a chypre fragrance at that. If the scent of cotton candy can admittedly be appreciated for its cuteness, playfulness, and allure to our tastebuds, this is not exactly what you expected to find in an haut-de-gamme chypré perfume representing the dark beauty of sapphire. But then, neither did anyone when Angel by Thierry Mugler was launched in 1992 as a pioneer gourmand oriental splashing the sides of a star-shaped baby blue bottle...   

 You have to admit though that it works. Past the initial surprise - and suspiscion that one is dumbing down the scent - this regressive, central note of brown sugar melts harmoniously, and even very elegantly, and last but not least, sexily with a ripe fruity note as well as nuances of somber woods.  

Inspired it seems by the success of perfumes like Pink Sugar by Aquolina, as well as the wave of dumb fruity-florals, Imperial Saphir by Charriol manages to demonstrate that you can look ditzy upon first look, but that you are in fact very smart. So very smart in fact that you have included another bestseller, Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf in the core of the scent, hidden, until almost the last minute. Like a Russian doll, it is the fourth doll tucked away in the recesses of this clever construction. 
Perfumers Michel Almairac and Mylène Alran of Robertet seem to have borrowed from the palette of teenage perfumes and turned the notes into a perfume befitting much more sophisticated personas. It is all in the nuances teased out of opulent ingredients like incense, sandalwood, patchouli, jasmine and rose. The composition seems to wink at you for those who are used to the codes of perfumery, who expected Saphir to flounder from what turns out to be its humor-laden opening. 
Behind the dollop of Ethyl Maltol we find the construction of a dark, complex and moody atmosphere. The cotton candy becomes deep. If you didn’t know that pink fluff could be sculptured into the shape of The Thinker by Rodin, this is your lesson of the day. It is proof on a more general artistic level, that the material you use to convey an idea can itself be a commentary, even in perfumery. 
Saphir is dark, thick and sweet. Fruity it is, and this not surprising knowing that Almairac loves fruity notes. A note of freesia emerges mid-stage bringing a light counterpoint, but mostly the composition is seamless.  
As the dark mood overtakes the fragrance, with that chocolatey and earthy patchouli in the base, perhaps also the recreated scent of a chocolate orchid, you are somewhat reminded of a similar effect as the one found in Chanel Coromandel.
The brand motto for the perfume is « IMPERIAL SAPHIR, for all women seeking that secret alchemy in their perfume that will turn the senses upside down and make life more beautiful... » And really Saphir has indeed this quality of the secret potion and it is indeed very satisfying on a sensual level. 
If you are looking for a sexy, gourmand scent, and accessorily a floral chypre, look no more. This is one of the best designer perfume purchases you can make this 2012 fall to envelop yourself in the warm embrace of perfume. 
Notes : Sicilian bergamot, freesia, incense, Turkish rose, Egyptian jasmine, orchid, Indonesian patchouli, sandalwood and musk.

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