You know what’s cool? When you get an unexpected care package from a perfumista in a foreign country, full of great (and strange) chocolate thingies labeled in languages you don’t speak, including a box of what looks like chestnut dessert vermicelli. I’d put up a photo of the contents but then the kids would want some, and I’m a heartless wench and I don’t feel like sharing (except for the better-than-Nutella spread, which I surrendered without revealing its source.)
Also included was a cute mini of fragrance I didn’t recognize from the bottle — Revolution à Versailles from Jean Desprez, the folks behind Bal à Versailles. Some internet research on my part revealed … pretty much nothing, except a possible release date of 1989 and one random list of plausible notes: frangipani, jasmine, plum, rose and sandalwood.
If this scent is actually from the late 1980s, I’d believe it – it’s a heavy hitter even in what I think is an EDT concentration (the bottle’s almost impossible to read.) It’s also slightly reminiscent of another poisonous plum of the era – Dior Poison, of course.
I probably scared 90% of you off right there, and I shouldn’t have – it’s much easier to wear. I love me some Poison, but this doesn’t have the death-by-cherry-cough-syrup assertiveness of Poison. After an initial burst of many-vague-florals sweetness, it settles into a beautiful, dark plum and sandalwood, and on my skin that’s pretty much the entire story. It’s less dense than Poison, and less complex/woody than any of the possibly-corresponding scents in the SL Bois series. It lasts and lasts on my skin without demanding too much attention or sucking up all the breathable air around me – although, granted, I’m dabbing it on from a mini.
The sweetness of a plum cordial cut by dry, slightly raspy sandalwood; what’s not to like? During one of my test-drives a male acquaintance blurted out, “You smell really nice!” and then looked totally embarrassed. He’s not the sort of guy who’d ordinarily comment on a fragrance.
Is Revolution à Versailles all that revolutionary? Is it high concept, or genius? Nope. Instead, it’s the sort of thing that I’ve gained more appreciation for in my perfumista journey. It’s old-school pretty without being retro-vintage. It doesn’t work my last nerve on the wrong day, the way Bal or Mitsouko or Femme or another vintage favorite can (no oakmoss, no detectable musky skank.) It’s easy to wear without being boring, and it’s perfect for this time of year. I have no idea whether it was intended to be a ripoff of Poison or not, but it’s cozy and comforting in a way Poison can’t be, classy like a well-cut cashmere sweater, and just a little sexy.
My gift-mini doesn’t look old, and Revolution à Versailles is available all over the internets – a quick search revealing plenty of 1.7 oz. bottles for about $40.