There are three main reasons why you may want to write a perfume review. One is to cover an upcoming or recent fragrance release, the good and the bad...
A second reason is to call a dud a dud even if you have to go several years back to find it and bring it back to the surface. A third reason, the most pleasant one, is to say how much you think a perfume smells good even if, likewise, you have to go back in time in the calendar of releases.
Eau Suave by French niche house Parfum d'Empire was released in 2005. Today, it retains qualities that make it a rose chypre to adopt if you're looking for quality and tastefulness. There are a good number of those you can pick from but Eau Suave has a naturalness, genuine elegance and qualitative aspect that enable it to stand out.
The fragrance was composed by house founder and perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato who usually gets inspiration from the great winds of history blowing through world empires, hence the name of his house. Of Corsican stock, Napoleon Bonaparte's destiny is at the forefront of his view of history. Eau Suave is linked to this epic vision as an interpretation of Bonaparte's "one true love" Joséphine de Beauharnais' own passion for roses which she collected like a curator in her house on the outskirts of Paris, at Malmaison. Her collecting led to a movement of rose mania at the times. You can still see them today if you wish to.
What strikes you with this chypré rose is how adorable the rose in its midst is. Usually chypre perfumes can be a bit haughty and the rose can be a bit cold, but in Eau Suave the tonality of the rose makes you think of a famous French verse by Ronsard "Mignonne, allons voir si la rose..." as the rose feels dainty and even quite readily cute. This is due to the delicacy of the rose accord itself - and the vanilla which never feels overdosed or pedestrian.
According to the background story by the house, the rose is a Souvenir de la Malmaison rose also called "Flagrance" as it were. And it is, as its name indicates, fragrantly rosey. It is also known for its antiquity as one of the 10 "Old Rose Hall of Fame" members, which is a list of 10 ancient roses recognized for their historical importance by the World Federation of Rose Societies.
Wearing the composition, you get repeated out-of-the-blue remarks such as "It smells of perfume," as if it needed any stressing. Indeed, Eau Suave offers the quality of coming across as iconically perfumey. Apart from being a fruity rose chypre, it is quite quintessentially what a perfume is supposed to smell like if you needed to nail down the concept.
A third level of interest is the fact that it is undeniably an elegant perfume. While not being self-effaced, at the same time it is superbly balanced so as to become versatile - an easy fragrance for all occasions. It is just right-smelling. In fact it is so round and well-balanced that after a while you cannot smell it anymore. It's blended without clashing with your environment.
I see it as a softer, more tender - and in a way more sophisticated - vision of a rose chypré perfume. At times, it reminds you of its harder sisters but stops short of becoming close-hearted. Knowing by Estée Lauder with which it has affinities seems hard standing next to it, its honey barely disguising the sharp mosses. Not so with Eau Suave which prefers to play with her pashmina shawl rather than be ruthless. Joséphine was an island girl transplanted to France from Martinique and perhaps it is those tropical mores which have seeped inside this langorous yet elegant composition.
Notes are: Bergamot, peppery rose, coriander, lavender, rosemary, saffron, Rose de Malmaison, apricot, raspberry, peach, fruity rose, vanilla, Evernyl, woods, white musks.