16 luglio 2011

Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d'une Fête: summer smell

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Chemin montant
What's the smell of sommer for you? Is it maybe the sea breeze smell? Or is it the one of that cherries that used to ripen in your grandparents yard? Or again the one of aromatic herbs in the mountain's fields? For sure it's a completely subjective topic taking everyone back to our memories. To me the smells of summer are above all related to countryside with the hay, the harvest time, the wild orris along the drain banks, the shade of woods where to shelter from the heat and the late blooms, still green smells but warm, intense, sunsoaked.
All this instantly recalls to me Parfums de Nicolaï's Le Temps d'une Fête, an ambery chypre created in 2007 by owner and co-founder Patricia de Nicolaï that features as the leading character one of my favourite flowers, narcissus, with its green facets, floral yet with animal hints redolent of fermented hay. The composing style of Madame de Nicolaï is unmistakable for the love it reveals for the great classic french perfumery style with particular reference to Guerlain of which Patricia is a descendent.

Le Temps d'une Fête is a cut above and doesn't just sit on nostalgic quotes, it dares affirming its own temper than makes of it a little gem. While giving it five stars, Luca Turin in his famous guide defines it this way:

"Le Temps d’une Fete is irresistibly lovely. Futhermore, it fills a gap in my heart I didn’t know existed. I have always been impressed by the structure of Lancome’s Poême but dismayed by its cheap, angular execution. Conversely, I have always loved Guerlain’s Chamade but deplored a slight lack of bone structure, particularly in the latest version. Le Temps d’une Fête marries the two and achieves something close to perfection, rich, radiant, solid, with the unique complexity of expensive narcissus absolute braced by olfactory bookends of green-floral notes and woods. Very classical, and truly wonderful".
And really Turin's words go to the point: if Chamade about which I recently told you is an April's day with its moist aromas and leaves and delicate flowers, if Annick Goutal's Heure Exquise is a neglected garden with May roses and greedy bees looking for pollen, Le Temps d'une Fête is a trip to the country in sunny June where aromas ger headier and clothes get impalpable to let the body nejoy the pleasure of the naked skin in the sun with its warm and saltish smell.
From Parfums de Nicolaï website where it's possible also to buy even a trial 30ml size, the stated pyramid features green notes of galbanum, lentisc and styrax on top, hyacinth and narcissus in the heart and a base with sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss. The packaging has never driven me crazy but never like in this case is the content that matters.

The unusual opening for a chypre is herbal due to galbanum and lentisc with its fresh tanninic pitches opening the nostrils to taste the flowers. First is hyacinth, still sappy yet teasing with its succulent petals, then the heart of the fragrance warms up and lets the jonquile bloom still moist and later a thousand narcissus seeming so virginal in appearence but with an irresistible pollen growing in green and gold turns, sweet and animalic that conquers me, I'm lost smelling the naked bodies lying in the grass grazing each other.
It's a dense, joyful smell rich of facets dominated by narcissus absolute shining in such glory that rarely many fragrances have dared reaching also honeyed hints. Falls on the flowers the chillness of woods and the shelter of shady branches that floods the composition with oakmoss, sandalwood and opoponax and a hint of earthy patchouli. This solid and armonious base showing slightly rough and roaring edges, is the structure making floral notes even more diffusive and anchoring them to the skin for an staying power beyond this world that confirms Madame de Nicolaï's ability to create truly pleasant contemporary classics.

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