An Aphrodisiac for the Second Chakra, Swadisthana
Le Premier Parfum (The First Perfume) is the debut launch of duo of photographers Pauline Rochas and Carole Beaupré who have a photography studio in Williamsburg, New York Est. 2000. The former is the grand-daughter of French couturier Marcel Rochas and his wife and muse, Hélène Rochas...
Their idea is to progressively release a collection of 7 fragrances composed in synergy with the specific energies of the 7 chakras and the scents that help open up those loci in the human body.
The composition, billed as a unisex one, is signed by perfumer Patricia Choux who has created fragrances for labels such as Clive Christian, Biehl, Michael Kors, or Bébé. The packaging was designed in collaboration with artistic director Marc Atlan who happens to have himself put out a fragrance resting on the untapped olfactory allure of vaginal secretion. I am not able to say anything more on it because he said I had to go to Los Angeles to smell it in situ which sounds like an odd goal for an exploratory trip, especially for a woman. Atlan is bound to have given his input therefore on the more sexed-up aspects of the joint project too.
Le Premier Parfum could ironically be seen as a more adult take on what Guerlain did with their the Parfum Initial destined to pubescent girls in that it suggests at some level, that first time in a sexual sense.
"Le Premier Parfum is a woodsy floral scent that's distinctive, compelling and seductive. The warm and carnal fragrance is intended to elicit desire in the wearer, and in those he or she encounters, by activating the sacral chakra -- the energy located beneath the naval that unlocks sensuality and eros. Le Premier Parfum is not merely a fragrance, but an aphrodisiac: heady notes of ylang ylang, various species of sandalwood, and other secret ingredients embody an androgynous and polymorphous sensuality, registering desire in the olfactory dimension Scent."
Choux reportedly settled on 7 raw materials which are traditionally associated with the sacral chakra, including sandalwood, patchouli, ylang ylang and labdanum. A veil of secrecy is thrown upon the other ingredients.
How It Smells Like
Le Premier Parfum starts off cool, tenebrious and leathery but also very much aromatic in the style of a dark potion as black as charcoal and thick as resin (labdanum, amplified and thick). It seems that once the scene is set, the fragrance does not evolve much beyond that snapshot-moment. All the elements are like in photography there at the same time within the same frame of reference. This makes sense aesthetically as the founders of the labels are photographers by trade.
The instantaneity of the impression is however partly illusory as the black and black photo does evolve slightly - one is tempted to sense here the slow evolution of a silver photography being revealed in the dark room.
Le Premier Parfum now smells a bit of burnt rubber. The amber is dry and sweet; Swasdisthana means "sweetness." The resins are by now smoldering.
The visual released for the perfume features a naked reclining woman in SM leather gear strapped to her bottom and tattoed thigh. Given the fact that we've encountered issues with American advertisers for showing the naked pink thigh of a French ballerina and because this is a family-oriented blog, I prefer to invite you to look at it on the brand website.
As the scent evolves further, a slightly strident muskiness arises from this darkly leathery perfume which visibly aims to suggest the scent of carnality. It is the smell of perspiration and salty saliva mixed together on a body warmed up by stripes of leather letting nude skin breathe.
Plummy, sweet and smoky nuances become more distinctive reminding you now of the Lithuanian opus Juozas Statkevicius eau de parfum. Until then though, you were mostly pulled in by the materiality of the scent, its thickness and darkness reading as inscrutable. The plummy note makes you think that it might be there for reasons of personal homage paid to Femme by Rochas.
While you muse on those aspects of the fragrance, the composition has further developed to become even stronger and more intense, muskier, more rough-hide-like in nature. But then it softens, relenting its intensity. You realize that this fragrance construction could be mimicking a progression towards orgasm then its calmer aftermath.
In the end, the perfume smells oud-y and sweaty all at once. In a market saturated with oud compositions I find it refreshing to come across a more subtle use of oud - or shall we say oudiness - revealing its ink-y, sooty, black-lamp effects before it becomes clearer that the effects are due to oud.
The longer drydown is earthy, with a bit of a mossy damp-stone effect thanks to patchouli accentuating its Gothic aura. Incidentally, this is most definitely a fragrance fit for Halloween. The sandalwood becomes also more perceptible, reportedly resting on a cocktail of various species of sandalwoods.
Le Premier Parfum is for people who like leather, economical notes - the authors prefer to use the term "minimalism" - and intensity of effect. It is quite animalic and dark. One of its principal virtues is to avoid the trap of launching an easy niche scent replete with stereotypes and filled with ingredients with a composition seemingly coming from hell, so debased they are. This is a thoughtful and qualitative work, inviting you furthermore to test its efficiency on your sacral chakra.