I guess the game in haute perfumery is this: always ratcheting up the exclusivity level. You can do this in a couple of ways: charge a lot, like the Clive Christian in the $215,000 bottle. Or you can do what Indult has done – limit supply, in this case releasing 999 bottles of each fragrance at French Sephora on January 8 for 160 euros per 50ml bottle, with that being the entire production as far as I know.
According to my usual, extensive, blindingly thorough research (Wikipedia), “an indult is a permission, or privilege, granted by the church authority” (I believe this is exclusive to Catholicism.) Indult Catholics have been allowed by the church to continue to attend Mass in Latin rather than the current liturgy. I´m assuming this is also at the root of the concept of Papal indulgences, which I´m pretty sure you can´t buy any more since either the Middle Ages or the French Revolution, or maybe it was Vatican II, but what do I know?
There are three fragrances, each showcasing a particular note:
Tihota – vanilla. It smells like my bottle of good vanilla extract when I pop the top of the vial off. I want to hate it. But I can´t, because on the skin it has a strong note of smoke – not some disgusting barbeque, or even wood… more like burning leaves. It´s not even remotely foody. It lasts all day, wearing fairly close to the skin. That´s pretty much the entire story.
Isvaraya – patchouli. Jekyll or Hyde? Half the time the opening note is an almost mentholated blast of high-end patchouli (good), the alternative being an opening salvo of what smells disconcertingly like paint thinner. The fragrance moderates after five minutes or so into patchouli underpinned with some sort of fruity tart-sweetness, like raspberries, only a little boozier. Then, just when I´ve mentally written the whole thing off as Very Pretty but ultimately not worth the effort, the jasmine shows up, which is lovely — unless it veers wildly back in the direction of Vap-O-Rub with a little urine-y finish.
Manakara – rose. Sometimes when these reviews are taking shape in my head, I play a game where I try mentally to mimic the style of another fragrance blogger (all of them have fairly distinctive styles.) If I were X, my review of Manakara might contain a phrase that sounds something like this: “While the rose is readily apparent upon the first application of the fragrance, ultimately the composition fails to take shape in a well-developed fashion.” Okay, hers would be much better (and would actually make sense) – but my point is, I live for those reviews when she has, with the most delicate precision, eviscerated some fragrance. I’m me, so I´ll just say that this opens with a boozy, vaguely Glade-esque note and eventually takes on a bit of mildew, sort of like the rose bushes in my humid Washington garden, assuming the blooms themselves were made of Play-Doh and scented with the rose potpourri oil I bought at Michaels craft store in 1978.
Anyhow, I’m not feeling the love here. To whatever degree you arrange your must-try list to positively (or negatively) correlate with what I like – maybe the real problem is winter and the full moon, but if I were in Paris I wouldn´t be standing in line the morning of January 8 to buy these. I´d be in my hotel bed, fast asleep. Then I´d be eating one of those amazing baguettes (do French people in the U.S. survey our bread options and want to kill themselves?) and drinking a dark, muddy, delicious coffee before hoofing it to the Louvre – or just a random stroll around Paris in the mist. Wearing … Bois de Iles, maybe.
light-up plastic rose: supercoolstuff.com