How come nobody ever talks about PG anymore?
Pierre Guillaume is still pretty dang good-lookin’. His Huitième Art Collection gets some press these days, and there’s a new house called the Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisiere. Of course Now Smell This is faithful to report a new Parfumerie Generale fragrance release. But people talking about the regular PG scents lately? Nope. (If they are, and I’ve missed it, please let me know.)
In sorting my samples, I ran across a fairly large pile of PG vials, and then I realized that I’ve tried far more of the house’s fragrances than the ones I still have. (Pretty sure I passed a few on to a friend.) And I realized that I had a mental impression of Parfumerie Generale fragrances as a whole: solid, made of nice raw materials, sometimes interesting and sometimes different takes on well-established/well-known scents, but none of them seizing me by the heart.
Shrug. If that happened every time, I’d be living under the bridge and eating out of Dumpsters, the best smelling homeless person ever.
I decided to post a swift rundown of the current Numbered Collection that I’ve tried, as well as some limited editions and some from the Private Collection. The Private Collection cannot be reached through the main website, and is described as “by invitation only,” though you can find some of them through retailers like LuckyScent.PG03 Cuir Venenum – Notes of lemon, orange blossom, coconut, leather, musk, myrrh. A white-floral/leather, with the orange blossom amping grape-flavor methyl anthranilate to the max. A friend of mine describes this as “Grape Slushee on my suede boots.”
PG04 Musc Maori – Notes of cacao pod, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, white musk, woods, coffee, floral notes, green notes. Basically, this smells of milk chocolate, a Hershey bar in a bottle. Interesting, but I really hate cocoa/chocolate in my perfume. And for what it’s worth, I can hardly stand to eat milk chocolate; it’s too sweet.
PG10 Aomassai – Notes of spices, wood resin, hazelnut, caramel, vetiver, incense, licorice, bitter orange, resins, hay, woods. I remember this one as being a strange almost-dessert smell, with something burning keeping it from being edible. Weird and nice, but also not really a scent I would like to wear. In color, it’s a brown so dark it’s almost black.
PG11 Harmatan Noir – Notes of salt, tea, woodsy notes, citruses, green notes, virginia cedar, jasmine, mint. If the idea of salty mint tea drunk while sitting on a big piece of driftwood appeals to you, this scent will too. It is not “noir” in the least.
PG13 Brûlure de Rose – Notes of litchi, Brazilian rosewood, amber, musk, raspberry, vanilla, cacao, raspberry and rose. The name means “Burning Rose,” or something like that, but where one might expect woody notes and incense along with the rose, instead there are fruit and caramel. This is Rose Crème Brûlée, maybe. Nice.
PG14 Iris Oriental (formerly Iris Taïzo) – Notes of fig honey, iris, Mexican vanilla, cardamom, kyara incense (olibanum) and woods, according to Fragrantica. The PG website says, “An ‘Orris Honey’, fruity and woody… Guatemalan cardamom, iris, Jinkoh wood, fig-tree honey and precious unguents infused with the warmth of the sun.” Well, all righty then. I don’t remember this one being honeyed at all – more a dry, lightly spicy woody scent with a bit of orris root, also dry and woody. (Thank heavens, no fig leaves.)
PG15 Ilang Ivohibé – Notes of Madagascar ylang-ylang, vanilla, California orange, Egyptian jasmine, lavender, orris, patchouli. At one time, I had a sample of this one which I cannot find now. I remember it as being very “golden,” except for the topnotes which I did not like (probably the lavender), but a bit too vanilla-sweet in the drydown.
PG16 Jardins de Kerylos – Notes of green fig, white peach, sycomore, herbal notes, and tuberose. I did not like this one at all, but then I really hate fig leaf.
PG17 Tubéreuse Couture – Notes of kalamanzi oil, green jasmine shoots, ylang-ylang, sugar cane, Indian tuberose, Sumatra benzoin and papyrus. Kalamanzi is a small citrus fruit (also known as calamondin, among other names) similar to a kumquat. I like this one a lot; it’s a bit green in the opening, and then candied tuberose later; it’s like a sweet fruit drink made with sugar and tuberose. Yummy. If Fracas is opaque and heavy, this is light and “clear.”
PG21 Felanilla – “Feline vanilla.” Notes of iris, amber, hay, saffron, banana leaf, Tahitian vanilla. Really pleasant, both dry and sweet.
PG23 Drama Nuuï – Notes of absinthe, spices, jasmine, woods, musk. It’s mostly a green jasmine (“virginal jasmine,” according to the PG website), with an unfortunately honking laundry musk that takes over completely. I’m not a big jasmine gal anyway, but even I was disappointed when the musk muscled everything else out of the way.
PG24 Papyrus de Ciane – Notes of galbanum, grass, broom, oakmoss, musk, powdery notes. I should have loved this one. I didn’t. It is musty, earthy, and pale after a sharp green opening. I might like to smell this in a room, or outside, but not on myself.
From the Private Collection:
Bois Blond – Notes of grass, galbanum, wheat, cedar, hay, ambergris, musk, blond tobacco. I should try this again; the first time I tested it, I was looking for The Hay Fragrance For Me, and it was a fail. But the more I look at that notes list, the more I think I might like it if I tried it without expecting anything in particular. I’d have to get another sample, since I gave the first one away.
Bois de Copaïba – Notes of orange, ginger, sandalwood, amaretto, mahogany, myrrh, copahu balm. I barely remember this one, except that it was boozy and I gave my sample away. Did not love it.
L’Oiseau de Nuit – Notes of artemisia, leather, davana, labdanum, benzoin. I gave this one away too (why? maybe someone wanted them?), but I remember it as being rather similar to Shalimar, without that light/dark effect you get between the bright lemon and the shadowy woods. It seemed dark blue to me somehow. I love the name, Night Bird.
Praliné de Santal – Notes of heliotrope, sandalwood, hazelnut, cedar, cashmere. Sandalwood smells almost edible anyway, and adding heliotrope and hazelnut to the mix pushes it even farther to the gourmand side. Cashmeran and cedarwood push it back to the woody side, so it hovers between edible and inedible. Nice stuff.
Querelle – Notes of citrus, cumin, cinnamon, myrrh, caraway, incense, rose, vetiver, oakmoss, ambergris. This one I did not like; it seemed dissonant, with spices that really were not friendly to each other. (Shrug. Maybe it’s me.)
Tonkamande – Notes of aldehydes, almond milk, tonka bean, wheat, sandalwood, vanilla, amber. The difference between this one and Praline de Santal is… um… okay, I forget (I gave this sample away too). Maybe this was less sweet, more milky? They’re variations on a comforting theme, anyway. I can no longer find it on the PG website, but LuckyScent still has it.
Une Crime Exotique – Notes of Chinese osmanthus, gingerbread, tea, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla, maté, sugar, sandalwood. Again, a variation on the almost-edible woody gourmand, except this one is more definitely gourmand. You could almost eat it. Name’s weird, but it’s pleasant. Also no longer available on the PG site or at LuckyScent, so I guess it’s really gone.
What about you? Have you tried any PG or Huitieme Art fragrances? Do you have a favorite, do you get on with the house, do you have any idea what I’m talking about since nobody seems to mention PG anymore?