Perfume Review: Elie Saab Le Parfum

I’ve been a pretty big fan of Francis Kurkdjian for awhile; his fragrance house’s Lumiere Noire pour femme is an absolute favorite of mine, and there are several other fragrances he’s authored that I really enjoy.  So when Vanessa at Bonkers about Perfume praised Elie Saab’s new, eponymous scent, I added it to the “To Investigate” list.  And then when Angela at Now Smell This enjoyed it and called it a “tornado of aldehydes and flowers,” I shifted it over to the “To Test” list, since I am a confirmed card-carrying AldeHo.  I was expectant of joy. And when Ann N, of Perfume Posse, sent me a sample, I was thrilled and put it on right away.

Also, I think that’s a pretty bottle.  People keep saying it looks like the bottle for Guerlain L’Instant, but you know me: I’m not terribly bothered by recycled design elements.  I like a nice heavy squarish thing that feels good in the hand, and this one certainly looks like it would do that.  I don’t know anything about Elie Saab other than that he’s a fashion designer, which of course means that I am completely oblivious to his typical artistic bent and whether or not his fragrance fits his oeuvre.  It’s a good fragrance, though.

Here’s my “short review” version: La Chasse aux Papillons and Coco Mademoiselle made a baby.  I don’t really care much for either of those fragrances – La Chasse veers too toilet-cleanery and Coco Mlle. is far, far too patchouli-heavy – but there are elements of each in Elie Saab, somehow pairing the two in a way such that the best features of each parent are present in the offspring.  Nice.

The thoughtful, serious(ish) version:  Elie Saab Le Parfum starts off with a tender, sweet orange blossom that I’m enjoying more than usual, since OB is almost guaranteed to go soapy on me.  I don’t smell a lot of fruit, just a fleeting sort of… succulence?  Like biting into a plum, with its terrific sweet-sour balance.  It passes quickly.  Elie Saab is only a little soapy at the top, with a youthful, shy quality that is extremely pretty.  Very quickly, the scent shifts into a thing of light and sparkles, with a hint of aldehydes and a lot of jasmine.  There is also a buncha hedione in there, methinks – it’s that aspect of jasmine that seems both green-dewy and light-clean, the farthest thing from indolic that you could imagine.  Angela writes (so charmingly!) that this phase makes her think of the instrumental ascending-pitch crescendo in the Beatles’ A Day in the Life.  I often experience certain scents as being auditory in some sense, but Elie Saab doesn’t sing to me.  Instead, it’s a dazzling white light, diffused gently over an array of blossoms.  I did dab it generously rather than spraying, and I might get more aldehydes if I had the opportunity to spray.  All the same, it was very pretty, with the effect of a sparkly white chiffon veil, just my girly-girl type of thing.

Notes (from Fragrantica): Orange blossom, jasmine grandiflora, jasmine sambac, rose-honey accord, cedar, patchouli.

I do find it a little heavy on the clean patchouli for my taste.  But then, I’m sensitive to patchouli.  It’s a nice base accord, very light and clean with that astringent and almost sour quality that clean patchouli, and sometimes cedar, can have.  I’ll make nice here and call it tangy rather than sour, because it’s not unpleasant at all.  I’d have liked a bit more of the so-called rose honey accord, because that really is up my alley.  However, over two wearings (using up my sample!  which I never do!), I did not detect anything I could have pinpointed as honey, while the rose is there but very much in the background to that scintillating jasmine.

It lasted for a fair amount of time on me, about five hours.  With the “spray until wet” technique, it might last even longer.  I don’t actually smell musk, but I’d bet there’s either some musk or other in there, because of the decent lasting power on my usually scent-eating skin.  With musks, of course, you always run into the possibility of specific anosmiae, and I’d bet I just can’t smell whatever this one is.

I like Elie Saab Le Parfum.  I’m not moved to want a bottle or even a decant, for reasons that longtime readers can probably predict: I wanted more aldehydes than I got, I’m not a big jasmine fan, and there is of course the Dreaded Patchouli, which is not offensive but still too much for my personal taste.  I did really like that cloud-of-light effect.  I’m sure this scent will sell very well, deservedly so.  And I think I might heart Francis Kurkdjian even more, for that glowy effect he’s so capable of producing, in Elie Saab and in Lumiere Noire pf – and probably in other things, as well.  Hmm… Oh, Francis, dahlink? Would you maybe consider making something just for meeeee?  How about you try that effect in a tuberose floral this time?

Image is from Fragrantica.  Also, here’s another review from a blogger I’m sure I’ll be adding to my blogroll, The Unseen Censer (cool name! Poe! Yay!).

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