Today we’re sniffing two wildly disparate but reputedly dirty scents: Pan, a unisex fragrance from Anya’s Garden natural perfumery, and the reissued Guerlain Voilette de Madame.
First up: Pan, described on Anya’s website as “created in homage to the Pan of Tom Robbins’ novel Jitterbug Perfume. Notes are white lotus, cedar, labdanum/ambreine, lavender, hay, patchouli, and tinctured hair of a rutting billy goat.”
Lee: I thought I’d got this muddled up with Ombre Fauve or Patchouli Empire when I first sniffed it, cos on me, it’s headshop deluxe in its initial blasts. Yeah duude. Pass the chillum. Musical pipes weren’t the only thing Pan was putting in his mouth, maaan (don’t look up when you read this – the words and pic don’t co-exist happily… Gulp indeed). Then it goes a little nutty / savoury or something. Now, shoot me if you need to, but I always get something similar from natural perfumes – at least the ones I’ve tried – that in my gauche way I’ll call an aromatherapeutic edge. I don’t want to insult Anya (who is, from all I’ve read, a truly lovely woman), but it turns up here too. Whether it’s there or just manifesting my apparent prejudices, I dunno. Anyway, it stays a little too much in patchland for me but I like the burnt umber quality it seems to develop 30 minutes in. I don’t get any of the willyness Patty describes below, the frisky frolicker (Matt said: sawdust).
Patty: I’ve found the rutting billy goat hair! Yowsah! Hay and patch dominate the open on this. When I was a kid, we had to go and get bales in from the field, and my silly parents would send us out unsupervised to do that. I didn’t work fast enough for my older brother, so he would be up in the back of the pickup and would start bouncing hay bales off my head. This scent is me being buried in hay, earth and fury. It’s no shrinking Pan, more like an engorged Pan… in heat.
March: I hear Anya is a lovely, lovely person, and I am loath to criticize something with a lovely person attached to it. This is probably the hardest part of blogging for me. Anyway, this sample doesn’t go through a ton of development on me. It’s nice. I get mostly patchouli and a spicy note (which I love) and lavender (which I love less.) I’m not getting anything dirty out of it. It doesn’t really bloom on me. Honestly, it’s a pretty smell, but it doesn’t seem that qualitatively different than, say, layering a couple of essential oils at the co-op, and it causes me pain in my heart to write that. Maybe I’m too used to the bombast of aromachemistry to appreciate natural perfumery.
Bryan: I was pleasantly surprised that this didn’t get all aromatherapyish on me. I am totally stealing that word from Lee, with whom I agree that naturals tend to lean that way…think millefiori (sic) scents. I love this actually. The hay and patch are subdued somewhat by the lavender. Although it is a blast of masculinity in the beginning, it dries to a more unisex/ambiguous earthy delight. By the way, I am using masculine and unisex in a very apolgetic manner here. I hate those terms, but they do come in handy in a conventional sense sometimes. This is elegantly done and by the way, look ma, no tuberose.
Next, here are our impressions of Guerlain Voilette de Madame (madame’s veil), which many of us spent weeks anticipating incorrectly as Violette de Madame (madame’s violet) prior to its re-release as a limited edition. Notes are iris, ylang-ylang, narcissus, violet and sandalwood.
March: We’ve been jokingly referring to this in our emails as madame’s panties, because someone (Legerdenez?) months ago talked about how ripe it was. I had this one vial from Guerlain, which I thought was Voilette, but I wasn’t sure, because it was unlabeled and the juice was soooo tenuous. I’ve now smelled a fresh samp courtesy of Patty and the Frip, and … am I anosmic? I don’t get it. It’s got a little musty perfume smell, like Vol de Nuit if you found an empty flacon and sniffed the stopper after 60 years. I’m smelling mainly the sweetness of the violet and the musty hay-leather of the narcissus, but unlike, say, L’Artisan’s stunningly forceful Narcisse, or Caron’s sublimely hay-skank Narcisse Noir (one of my favorites from a line I esteem rather than covet), the whole thing is very, very faint. Dirty bits? Nah.
Bryan: I fell hard for this dark veil. We of the obsessive perfumers guild (yeah, I’m looking at every single one of you too) every so often forget we have applied until we get a whif of some gorgeous breeze. Suddenly it occurs to us, “OMG That’s Me!…I rock!” Ok, I threw in the I rock for fun, but really that happened to me with voilette. I confess I usually can not stand violet. I rather loathe it. Patty, please don’t kick my ass. I love it here. And yes, this is violets in a below the waist kind of thing…I mean thang. I am so tracking a bottle of this down….or four.
Patty: March, are you out of your mind? I get all dirty bits right out of the chute, and it is a very feminine dirty bits, to be sure, violet dusted genteel bits, not like rutting Pan above. But I don’t smell anything musty other than the normal mustiness associated with hay or narcissus. It’s definitely not a forceful perfume, but it, along with Djedi and Jasmiralda, are my favorites from the anciennes they have redone. Where the L’Artisan’s narcissus is much more earthy, this one is more refined and easier to wear, but I get a lot of violet and iris in the drydown and very little narcissus, just enough to give it some depth. I’m totally smitten by this one, and when I originally read Legerdenez’ description, I expected to hate it.
Lee: You know, I think this is lovely. It’s a supremely elegant floral with a dusting of dirt, like a nineteenth century skirt worn by a early 40something lady (auburn hair, slight dishabille quality to her dress and demeanour, as if she’s rushed from somewhere and her bosom is heaving) visiting Sherlock Holmes. He’d tell from the vague mud splatters and crinkles where she’d travelled from and how. There’d be a frisson of unspoken desire cutting through the smoke filled room, never to be consummated. She’s carrying a spring bouquet, for some reason, but the daffodils are already turning, becoming lifeless in her never still hands. (Matt said: I can hardly smell it).
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! There’s a belly laugh for each of your, and for each satyr. Love the reviews and adore the photo. Why is Old Silenus, with his pot belly and his droop, somehow the most obscene of the four?
I knew a woman, once, who raised championship goats. She also published a newsletter called The Ruminator (that’s farm humor for you, Patty). I could smell the male goats from 30 paces, quite easily. And believe me they were *always* rutting — there is no such thing as a non-rutting billy goat. No females available? No problem! All alone in the pen? Again, no problem! There is a reason they are the archetype of horniness…
I wonder if these lads are getting any?!!?
Guys, your reviews are hilarious but I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel moved to seek out either Pan or VdM. See, I’ve never found goats particularly lovable (plus the body shop patch is a deal-breaker for me) and the only knickers I like sniffing are my own.
Dusan, sweetheart: Does your girlfriend know??? 🙂 Nope, nope, too much info already, never mind… –Ellen
E, the pants sniffing was a joke! Honestly, I don’t get a kick out of any such thing 🙂
It’s just… I felt bad about having nothing worthwhile to contribute on the subject of Pan and VdM so I just scribbled what first came to mind… hoping it’d be funny rather than scary 😀
What is up with that picture?? You guys are hysterical! Who picked it, anyway?
The reviews, like always, are fantastic! Violette de Madame sounds like something I would wear and I hope I get the opportunity to sniff soon.
*points* Her! She did it! Actually, she thought maybe we should find something else, though we were all amused, and I threw my body in front of the Satyrs to save them.
I stuck it in there as an obscene private joke, so that’s what would pop up in WordPress when they went in to write their reviews. I asked someone to find something more appropriate, but … well… there you have it.
Well, I love Voilette! Marina, I maybe it’s like Rien on you, but Rien is just awful on me, so I’ll happily wear this! And March, to refresh your memory: I did send you both a Guerlain vial (which I got from someone else) and (then) a fresh sample from my bottle. You didn’t like it. Thought it smelled like a salad, I believe. 8-| I think you’ve tried it enough. You can stop now! :d
Salad? She got salad? Yoiks. This must just be one of those that’s going to elude her, but I think she should stop trying too. When I smell it, I can see it going either way on a person, and it hits the knife’s edge where I’m unsure, then goes into love for me.
She got salad, heavy emphasis on the celery (which can’t be there or Elle would hate it). Here is her earlier blog comment:
Yes!!! That’s the vial I found on my desk! (Had you noticed that Guerlain labels the little boxes they come in, but not the vials themselves?) So I kept thinking, salad — this can’t be right. I didn’t get salad this time, but it was still a total :-< Okay, FINE. FINE. I am going RIGHT NOW to dump Voilette I (Judith) and II (Patty) into atomizers and spray them on.
UPDATE: 9:35 a.m. I am supposed to be researching art galleries in Siem Reap. Instead I am filling atomizers. Cheese says, what are you doing?! I snarl, what does it LOOK like I’m doing?!?!
Preparing to spray the sh!t out of my right arm. If I get Teint de Neige I will vomit.
And. . . .??? I am not a fan of TdN myself; I’m glad I don’t get that!
I had to wait for him to get back on the phone, he’s such a pill. He’s all: pack, pack, call the credit card company blah blah. I mean, I am WORKING HERE, you know?
So, it’s been a total failure. Did you ever go look at that LOLTrek? I am Kirk, going “OMG THIS SUX”
Voilette de Judith still has a salad note — you’re right, it’s not celery, it’s more bitter — escarole? Watercress? What’s the tart one? And Guerlain powder.
Voilette de Patty is less intense, no escarole, more 50-year-old empty flacon of Vol de Nuit (which is to say, a tiny breath of skank).
They’re both more intense sprayed on, but that’s like saying rosewater smells more intense than tap water.
Oh, that is soooo sad. The vial I sent is actually Voilette de Tina. I never smelled it, b/c I got my bottle soon afterwards, but I sent you a little from my bottle (prolly gone now), and you found it similar. And that’s so strange, b/c–I just sprayed some from my bottle, and it’s divine! No salad–just kinda powdery (but not too powdery) panties and dirty bits. Mostly, what Patty smells–sorta genteel skank.
So strange! We clearly need to smell each other and see what happens. But I know I made AnnE a sample and it was surprisingly tame on her. So I guess at least a certain amount is chemistry.
You naughty posse! I had to jump from my seat and basically fall upon the screen, because my child was in the room. Imagine the questions she’d have? :d
Now…where was I? Oh, yes. Voilette. I am unimpressed. :-w It starts like cloying Teint de Neige, stays like that for a loooooong time and then ends like L’Air de Rien, which I love, but I if I wanted Rien, I’d wear Rien, you know?
You don’t find the guy on the left vaguely attractive…..?:”>:o
Marina – you are so right. I get stuck in the TdN end of things. Of course, comparing anything to TdN morphing into Rien would get me running for the hills:d
Adore Voilette. Initially I didn’t because it wasn’t the skank fest I’d been hoping for, but over months of resampling I’ve definitely learned to love it. Have no really clear idea *why* I work so diligently at falling for a perfume I can in no way afford…except I do keep secretly hoping they will release it in pleb friendly bottles.
Am sure I have a sample of Pan somewhere. I probably didn’t give it enough of a try due to my lavender phobia, but how can I resist the clarion call of hay, patch and billy goat hair? Sounds divine!
But I don’t wannnnt to learn to love it!:(( (whines)
I want it to basically toss its panties at my head and bear-hug me. Seriously, look at those comments. Am I just in some sort of skank-killing zone right now? Is Guerlain on some secret mission to thwart me?
March, if it’s any consolation, I got very limited skank. But then, I’ve been overdosing on Nuit Noire these past few days, so VdM doesn’t stand a look-in (or do you americano/as say shoo-in or somesuch?).
Nuit Noir? Sick puppy. What does Matt think of that one?
Look-in — wth? And they say we speak the same language…:)>-
He likes it – said something like ‘comforting’. Strange boy.
My goodness. Of course, I think I just called CB Musk “comforting,” so who am I to talk?;)
It’s just not that kind of skank. It’s the genteel kind, powdered panties that have seen enough, but would never wind up giving a cooter shot when exiting a car — heck, you probably wouldn’t see any leg above the knee, but it’s a woman with a past that nobody suspects.
“…a woman with a past that nobody suspects.” Patty, that’s great! Sounds like something to aspire to, also. –Ellen
That picture! What the heck is wrong with the 2nd guy from the right-hasn’t he seen and smelled you all? Can’t tell if he’s got labor pains or gas…
This is one of the reviews that makes me wonder if y’all got the same samples. I’m suspecting I’d love Pan, but also have some wonderful head-shop oils (7 bucks a bottle) that may just fill the bill.
Voilette sounds…intriguing. Must try!
Thanks for the fun and enlightenment!
I actually double-checked with Patty — we got the right samples, just the wrong noses:”>
Hey, you speak excellent French, and so does your son! And you’re tres chic! Please do me a favor and stop by Guerlain and tell that SA what a cow she is, okay? Thanks!
OHMYGOD love that photo….had to scroll down verrrry quickly when young offspring wanted to know what made me laugh so loud.
And once again great reviews. I do so enjoy these multi-facetted views of the same fumes. Keep them coming please please please please…I think that covers every one!
I too had to do the rapid scrolldown …. I mean, what ARE those guys doing? And why? And what’s with the weird facial hair braid thing on the less tumescent one? And check out the knob on his walking stick!
I’m pretty sure the girls are too busy chilling with their respective homegirls to drop by the blog…:-“
I think the old guy is Silenus, who is often depicted as old, fat, drunk, and flaccid. And I think he’s carrying a thyrsos, like a good follower of Dionysus (they look like that).
Judith, you kill me. I consider myself reasonably well-educated, and then you (and several other commenters!) just randomly drop that info …. you fill me with ….
Actually those masks remind me of some of the green man carvings. He is often associated with Jack-in-the-green and woods (with the most amazing foliage creeping out of facial orifaces), and therefore with fertility too. I do have a personal soft spot for the green man- the expressions different artists have carved over the centuries beggar description.
Great review, guys, keep it up! Looking forward to the four of you taking apart a few scents again already.
Pan I can’t comment on, but Voilette – sigh. To me, it’s what a refined, not all that young lady would wear. A woman of a certain experience, who can raise an amused eyebrow at all that young folk who think they are soooo daring and rebellious. She’s seen and tried all that. In spades. And more, which they wouldn’t even think about. In spades as well. But she’s refined and discreet and enjoys her spicy memories by herself without feeling the need to recount them to all and sundry. After all, that would be bragging. Not her style at all.
I’d have a bottle of Voilette right now if a) I could afford it and b) the Guerlain SA hadn’t said, when I asked the price: “oh, that’s only for collectors, why don’t you take Vega (which I also like), it’s more affordable!”. Beg pardon? Admittedly, I’m more on the dumpy side, and I hang around with a friend nicknamed The Marquise for her elegance. Which doesn’t help, even though I dress well. But that’s hardly the way to make a sale! All in all, the Guerlain people struck me as hardly helpful and a bit too elitist in their attitude for their own good. But Voilette is gorgeous, and someday I’ll own it, so there!
Well, my angel-
’til I get my paws on that scrawny Guerlain SA snobette…GRRRRR.
Nobody disses MY Dina.
[BTW- a MOST intriguing box is winging its way toward you, going to the PO in an hour..!]
Pan is polarizing.
If it works on you, it’s fantastic; I like to pair it with Riverside, which is both Anya’s, and my favorite.
Then, I die and go to heaven !
I want to smell Voilette.
I’m not afraid of ladies’ undies [ although personally, I eschew wearing them, myself… TMI, I fear, lol];
Bring it on, biatch !
MWAH ! to all you scented sillies…
Always happy to have you on my side, sweetheart! And now you’ve made me curious…. MWAH!
*thinks about the knickerless one. Gets too excited. Takes cold shower*
I loved Riverside, you know. Why did she discontinue that one?
Now THAT’s the skanky one. I double-checked with P to make sure I didn’t mix the vials up. Like Rien. So probably it didn’t sell very well?/:)
Riverside is NOT skanky at all !
It’s a gloriously creative floral, which is why it didn’t sell, ‘niche’…
Fairchild is wilder, as is Pan.
[Sulks…”poor Ida and Anya…”]
We had fairchild and pan, I don’t think I’ve smelled riverside.
LMAO at your story! What a bitch. Service with a sneer! This could only be the mother ship in Paris, right?
Gad, I wish I could smell what all of you are smelling. Maybe I’ll go dump the thing in an atomizer and spray it on.
The mothership indeed. They belong in the same category as the famed Swiss patrician lady who asked a prospective son-in-law: “Are you somebody or do you have to work?”
I feel much the same about MKK as you do about Voilette – what DO you guys get that passes me by? On me the famed beast is shy and retiring and barely squeaks. A tiny mouse at the most instead of the expected sabre-tooth. Maybe we should change our respective diets or something, to see if our skin chemistry will change?
Yeah – but Dina – they’re shop assistants, even if they’re debutantes on the side. Pfah! That Parisian hauteur can get my goat (perhaps that’s where it is, March!).
Fine, if I ever get to the mothership I’m walking in there and asking in French, “where is the goat?” Translation, anyone?
Lee, what do you think they’ll show me?:)
My rusty french doesn’t get beyond Ou est le (I guess it’ll be some cabra style variant…). The door, March.
Hmmm. . .maybe this is another one of those annoying Viagra commercials??? :d
Ooops–I meant for this comment to just be a regular “post” not a reply to someone else’s post. I’m not sure how that happened!! Sorry–I’m not saying anyone (not even that obnoxious SA) is annoying or a viagra commercial 🙂 I was referring to the photo. (which also isn’t annoying but is funny as hell!!)
I had a bad experience there. Entered the store, wait about 10 minutes. Nobody said even hello or bonjour. I went out and I’ll never back.
Well, that was a crappy attitude! Francoise at the Paris shop is just wonderful. I forgot to ask her if they the Voilette will be sold in anything but that gorgeous LE bottle? I had heard of a few people getting a bee bottle at the NY sniffa.
I think Voilette is a stunner, and I hope they add it to the permanent collection. Or maybe they’re going to do a Disney, bring them back one at a time for a year or two, then cycle it back around? That would really suuuuuuuuck.
J, the gall (Gaul)! To put snobbery before commerce is inexcusable. I hope that SA someday pisses off a famous film star who’s just spent twelve hours on a plane.
*Averting eyes from satyr play photos so she can get up the courage to respond–while at the same time showing off her erudition on the subject of ancient Greek drama*
So what about the rutting billy goat hair tincture??? That’s what I’m really curious about. Only Patty got billy goat? Patty, you know about farm things (though maybe your family didn’t keep goats). Would you be able to detect the difference in a tincture of rutting billy goat and one of nonrutting billy goat? I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Someone could sell me nonrutting billy goat tincture for rutting billy goat tincture, and I wouldn’t be able to get right on the phone to Mr. Nader about deception in the natural perfumery world. They could even sell me she-goat tincture. I’m such a city rube.
Thanks for the correction about Voilette vs. Violette. I wouldn’t have known.
Well, P would be able to smell the billy goat vs. the hog or whatever. Also what part of the anatomy the hair came from. I’m still scratching my … head, trying to figure out where the hair is. Maybe they put it in the bigger bottle, like the worm in tequila?:-?
Naw, I have no idea what billy goat rutting smells like, I just found this one to be very… it was so fierce, it felt engorged. Ultimnately, it’s something I’d never wear. and the patch dominated it, but on me it just felt very butchy masculine. Rutting-like. 🙂
Still on the subject of goats: I wonder who they got to go up to a rutting billy goat and yank out some hair. Somebody really drunk?
BTW, March, “goat” in French is “chevre” as in the cheese (not The Cheese, of course).
I keep thinking about the NIGHTMARES some readers’ prepubescent daughters might have if they chanced to look at the photo. “Mom!!! I want to be a nun!” 😮
I kept thinking that the plus side of unemployment is that I was home when I turned to that photo! :d –Ellen
Am LMAO at that picture! Thanks again for another amazing and hilarious review. I’ve put myself on a perfume budget (EGADS!)but I’m drooling to try both. SIGH.
How fabulous is that photo? It’s what I got when I googled “four satyrs.” I have no idea what it means, but I laugh every time I look at it, then quickly scroll down.
Greek comedy innit? He’s the oldun (the one with staff and without, erm, stiffy) I guess.
@-) I usually check this site during my lunch time at work. Yeegads!!! I’m glad no one saw that picture. I wanted to start laughing so badly but that would draw too much attention to me and the hilarious picture on my computer. I had to shut the browser off lightening fast. I’m sure some IT guy who is checking out all the daily cookies on the network server is laughing himself silly.