Perfumer: Francis Kurkdjian
Release date: 2008
Sample provenance: my own decant of CQ, thanks to a swap last spring with Queen Enabler Daisy.
Notes: Aldehydes, violet, rose, iris, leather, amber, immortelle, labdanum. The violet isn’t official, by the way, but I smell it.
Daisy had sent me a sample of this, saying she’d picked up a partial bottle at the scent-splits wiki page and had a bit to swap, and since I liked rose, what did I think? As was my custom in those days, before I learned better, I dabbed on a bit from the sample vial just before heading into work.
Fifteen minutes into the ride, I’m sitting at my desk amid the brake rotors, hoping nobody has noticed my blushes. This thing is seriously sex-aaay, and not at all the sort of scent one wears to crunch numbers on an adding machine. I couldn’t bring myself to scrub it off, or even to damp it down a little, because it was so pretty. Instead, I just sort of hid from my coworkers for the rest of the morning (doable because generally they keep me in the back, like some sort of backordered inventory item).
When I got home, I went straight to the computer to see if I could find my own bottle, or a decant if a bottle was out of my league. It was. JhaG fragrances are available at luckyscent.com (not affiliated) in the US, and a 100ml bottle runs about $110, which is too rich for my blood, frugal fumehead that I am. Bottle’s ugly, too, IMO – looks like an upscale shower gel, although it comes in a pretty sueded case like a tiny hatbox. So I hunted up a decant, which was good, because at that point I’d probably have sold my soul hair left eye to get some of this stuff if I couldn’t find it any other way.
I was not, at the time, versed in the details surrounding the fragrance company Juliet Has a Gun, and I’m only a bit more familiar with it now. It was formed in 2006 by Romano Ricci, grandson of Nina Ricci (famous for L’Air du Temps, and still producing fragrance to this day, even if some of them are fruitchoulis). The name of the company was a play on Signor Ricci’s first name, a variation of Romeo, as well as a declaration of “edgy, modern style.” Citizen Queen was their third scent, following the straight-up-rose Miss Charming and the rose chypre Lady Vengeance. Since then, JHaG has produced Midnight Oud (a rose-oud scent) and Calamity J. The only other JHaG I’ve smelled is Midnight Oud, which is quite nice if you like that sort of thing, as I do; it’s a sort of Montale Aoud Roses Petals with training wheels, if you will. I’m not sure JHaG is all that “edgy” and “modern,” but their scents are generally regarded as being very attractive and wearable, and not your average Mall Candy.
And the name Citizen Queen? The website doesn’t say, exactly, so I’ll take a stab at what I think it means:
A long time ago, there was this country called “France.” The poor people who lived there were sick of the rich people taking all their food and money and letting them starve in the streets, while the rich people had big parties and fancy clothes and gold out the wazoo. So the poor people had a revolution and everybody came, and the way they got rid of the rich people, who weren’t very happy about the whole thing, was to cut their heads off. Then the poor people of France who had had their Revolution did something new with the Government, and nobody had special titles like “Earl” and “Baron” and “Comtesse” anymore. Everybody was Citoyen Gaspard and Citoyenne Fontanelle: Citizen This and Citizeness That. If there had been a queen at that point, she’d have been renamed Citoyenne Bourbon. But of course there wasn’t a queen, since she’d already had her head cut off.
So the implication of Citizen Queen is that anywoman/everywoman is a queen. Which, although totally corny, is still sort of Empowerment Cool, IMO. Then, too, it sounds to me like JHaG is playing off the name of the classic Orson Welles movie Citizen Kane. To be honest with you, I don’t much care what it’s called, because it’s a wonderful smell.
No, I didn’t take any classes in French history. I don’t even speak French. (Worse, my Spanish is getting really rusty, because there’s no one to practice on in the middle of the freakin’ mountain rural South. End non sequitur.) We can lay the blame for my esoteric knowledge squarely on all those historical novels I’ve read way too many of.
I notice that this is one of those fragrances that smells different wafting through the air than it does sniffed directly next to skin. I love the waft on CQ – although it doesn’t go very far, unlike the Very Frightening Guerlain Insolence, the air is fairly saturated with it within my officially-sanctioned three-foot sillage radius.
So what does Citizen Queen smell like? Well, it does start out with a very light, fizzy dusting of aldehydes; they go by so quickly that if you weren’t paying close attention you might miss them. I frequently overlook them here and wouldn’t call this an aldehydic floral at all. (In fact, fragrantica.com calls this a floral chypre, to which I say, GET. OUT. NO. WAY.) This whiff-of-quinine-water is gone within two minutes, and then I smell a lot of violet. Violet is not in the official list of notes, but it’s there, trust me, a nice sweet, fresh posy of Parma violets followed by one of those winey-woody rose notes that I love so much. I do not actually smell anything that I could identify as leather; instead, I smell warm skin. It’s not sweaty, it’s just a warm, friendly, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed skin smell. Could be a musk, I guess. I do smell quite a bit of iris, and it tends toward the powdery here. However, the creamy depth of labdanum (gosh, I love labdanum) keeps it from turning into Granny’s scented powder. I haven’t a clue what immortelle smells like, and there’s nothing in CQ that makes me think of maple syrup, as immortelle is reputed to smell of, so I don’t think it’s is a large portion of the composition.
Up close I smell more iris and more powdery amber than I smell in the waft, which is more rose-violet-skin musk. It smells rather naughty to me, although I must admit to you that when I refer to this effect on a forum somewhere, most other sniffers offer gentle demurrals. In short, they think I’m nuts and are too polite to say so. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary.
Citizen Queen has become my default Get Some Action scent. (TMI? Sorry. Don’t worry, I’m a respectable middle-aged married lady, and that’s all the detail you’re gonna get.) The CEO seems to like it, but that’s really beside the point. It puts me in the mood. One of these days, I’m gonna be a little old crazy lady chasing my husband around the nursing home in our wheelchairs. One of us will be radiating Citizen Queen, and the other of us will be giggling like mad and pretending to wheel away. Won’t that be fun?
Review Report: I Smell Therefore I Am, Fragrance Bouquet, fragrantica.com, Feminine Things, The Scented Salamander.