Sea Cruise: Patou Voyageur

Well, the heat is back. At least for the next few days. Not as bad as it could be and not as bad as it is in the desert, but enough to make the walk to the grocery store kind of schvitzy. (I know,, the problems I face. There should be a telethon)

Coincidentally, I won an eBay auction for a tester for the titular fragrance that Portia had originally inspired me to buy a teensy manufacturers sample of: Patou’s 1995 Voyageur. As I wrote in my earlier take, I really don’t remember this one when it came out and I should have: at the time I worked right in the heart of Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive and popped in and out of Barney’s, Neiman’s and Saks constantly, if only sometimes to walk through the air conditioning on my way back from my meager lunch rather than braving the heat of the street (my employers required jacket and tie.) That, and my desire to be on the crest of the wave for the newest and best that the department stores had to offer (ScentBar was yet to open) you would think I would have noticed. Which leads me to think that perhaps this was past the point that Patou was a presence in those stores, or perhaps just not a large enough one and without the marketing dollars to make a big push in them. I mean, if they didn’t have giant factices of the boat and bottle combos they used for the little samples they were fools and I would have to have been in a coma not to have noticed them.

It’s always interesting the difference in the method of application has in how a scent plays out. I suppose that spraying aerates things enough that they seem stronger, more immediate, certainly I assume more in the way it was intended to be experienced. It certainly made Voyageur bloom: that fruity, sagey opening that’s rather meek dabbed when sprayed has the streamers, waving crowds, and horns of an Atlantic crossing on the Normandie. All it needs is Cary Grant and Irene Dunne quaffing champagne while her pet money slips the sacred emerald of banjaboo the little imp stole from baddie Ivor Novello into her evening bag. Or at least it would have seemed that way compared to the wan eau-de-eau’s of the time or the overly powerhouse leftovers from the earlier part of the decade. It is bright and fesh and bracing, with a lovely yin and yang of salty, almost minty freshmess and warm, woody herbaceousness. It’s a shame it didn’t get a wider audience- I suppose to take the ship metaphor further it was more an Andrea Doria than a Normandie: lovely, pared down, sleek, and gone too soon.

Like all Patou fragrances this is only available in memory and on online discounters/auctions. Which is very, very sad. Surrender to Chance has samples of Joy and 1000 available and if you haven’t, you really should. My bottle was purchased by me.

Images: my iPhone, Pexels, Wikimedia Commons

  • March says:

    Great review, Tom! And I agree with Dina, you paint a wonderful picture. Racking my brain, I don’t think I have ever tried this. I hope your weather cools off soon (we’ve also warmed up for the next few days, but hey, it’s not a hurricane so I’ll try not to complain too much.)

    • Tom says:

      Actually, I wrote this last week so today it’s a little hotter: in the 90’s. But there’s supposed to be about a 15 degee drop by Sunday, so that will be nice.

  • Dina C. says:

    Love the picture you paint, Tom. I want to live in that movie for a day. Thanks for an entertaining review!

  • cinnamon says:

    Fruity sage-y? Not sure on that. It is a shame though that these classic sort of things went out of style (I remember when casual Fridays turned into casual all-the-time at the offices in which I worked — definitely wasn’t against that). I hope your weather remains reasonably pleasant and no more storms.

    • Tom says:

      I know! Fruity-sagey should not work at all, but it does here.

      I liked that things went a little casual at work but at one point we were reined in: We were told we were going to work, not the beach, and while men didn’t have to wear a tie, they should wear a shirt that you would wear a tie with. on Friday you could wear a polo shirt, but the graphic tees and flip-flops were not for the office..

  • Portia says:

    Tom, it makes me so happy to have inspired your purchase and now love. So cool.
    What LVMH did to Patou is a travesty but it makes me think that maybe they need a reinvention to become profitable again. HOPEFULLY we will see some of the fragrances returned one day. There was talk of reviving the fashion, fingers crossed.
    Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    I also love Normandie. I have never tried Voyageur, a situation that I will remedy. Patou was one of the great perfume houses of the 20th century and created a lot of perfume loves and likes for me.

  • Musette says:

    I loved Normandie! Alas, I didn’t buy a bottle because (insert shrug) – but it is such an elegant scent (like all Patous, imo)