Rochas Mademoiselle Rochas (2017) // Invitation to Smell the Amazing French Touch {Perfume Review & Musings}

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Mademoiselle Rochas, the latest pillar for Millenials by a designer brand, is on the face of it, a diaphanous gourmand, evocative both of crystalline and pillowy sweetness. It smells like the improbable marriage of a Versailles fountain with a macaron. And yet, the composition offers a perfect sense of balance between a priori difficult elements to conjugate. Perfumery - and we shall underline, Made-in-France perfumery at its most inspired - is here however to make your wildest dreams come true, thanks to its constant engagement with both the natural world and abstraction, or more generally speaking, with both the senses and the intellect. In the end, what makes the composition worthy, is its capacity to elicit a moral feeling in you...

Thanks also to the historical dynamics of refinement, when a particular thematic is mastered, perfumer Anne Flipo is not just content with producing yet another cherry- or almond- or pastry-inflected perfume in the line of Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire or Dior Poison Girl. A "red toffee apple" accord is mentioned, but it smells much more abstract than that; it calls to mind however an earlier gourmand for young women and an enduring bestseller, Nina.

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Flipo goes far beyond slavish copy to propose an ethereal gourmand perfume having reached a pinnacle of sophistication; one of the goals for the new composition to attain was to convey the portmanteau feeling of "Frenchic". Because style freezes the passingf of time and despite its market positioning, the perfume obviously need not be reserved for new millenium youngest, but can be advertized to women of all ages, as it is versatile and elegant enough to warrant borrowing it from the principal target demographic group. The medallion-shaped bottle, we think, emphasize this point, blending classicism with youthfullness (the pink juice).

Are you simply craving an elegant, feminine olfactory signature with an incredibly suave sillage? Mademoiselle Rochas can be the embodiment of that simple yet demanding wish.

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Anne Flipo is both giving flesh to and desincarnating the edible motif. You recognize and even imagine biting into an Hermé macaron slowly yielding all resistance to your gourmandise, and yet there are other accents which take your mind away from the immediacy of the edible. You breathe in herbaceous, green nuances identified as "crisp ivy" by the house; you detect a note of cassis reminiscent of the precise inflection it has in Ombre dans l'Eau by Diptyque. The creaminess of the scent, which is officially ascribable to "white Chantilly musks" is always counterbalanced by sappy green notes of ivy and violet leaves. Even when the perfume turns more violet powder and cream, it is never as tangible as in Flipo's under-the-radar gem Sonia Rykiel Woman: Not for Man! A trail of sandalwood bordering on ambergris warms up the scent while reminding you of the initial woody, dry, pencil-shavings nuances escaping the bottle.

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But more than anything else, Mademoiselle Rochas simply smells amazing. It succeeds in delivering a qualitative leap to the plane where you can speak of the creation and sensation of a real, authentic perfume. The fragrance wafts; it fills the air around you, it delights, it almost sings, so full it is with joie de vivre.

You can give it a whirl if you're interested in French culture in particular. You could thus experience what some of the best French perfumes can offer: a French touch born from the fact that they are cultivated in a special garden, France, in which traditions, history, visual spectacles, an obsession with style and fashion, but also food and more generally, the senses, but also intellect, combine in hard-to-pinpoint ways.

Fragrance Notes

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