Tag: fresh florals

Eau de Narcisse Bleu – review


For notes and facts, please, read a perfume dossier on Eau de Narcisse Bleu.

After smelling Eau de Narcisse Bleu for the first time I’ve got an idea to create a picture of a blue narcissus flower. After several attempts I finally came with a satisfying result about a year ago. I use it now to illustrate this text. But it took me another year to find the words to describe the scent.

When trying to find Narcissus in Eau de Narcisse Bleu, it’s important to forget everything you know about the narcissus note in perfumery and switch the reference point to the natural narcissus absolue. A Russian blogger Ekaterina Khmelevskaya in her aromablog.ru has perfectly described that smell, so let me cite her here: “The real narcissus absolue doesn’t smell like tight honeyed yellow and white gramophone shaped flowers. But rather like hay, a little bit of soap and small blue flowers.” Fleur de Narcisse by L’Artisan Parfumeur is good reference for the natural narcissus note.

Another interesting point about Eau de Narcisse Bleu is its translunary character. While smelling it I don’t get a clear visual impression, but rather a sequence of gleaming illusions overflowing into each other. First I percept a simple sketch of white and blue hyacinths painted by the green galbanum note. But in a moment that vision falls apart into thousands white snowflakes of powdery musk. I feel the citrus nuance of the scent touching my skin like a white magnolia petal, but it easily melts under the lukewarm rays of winter sun. Eau de Narcisse Bleu could perfectly express the smell of snowdrops as it’s all about early spring, melting snow, frosted grass and narcissus flowers went blue with cold.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès


Name: Eau de Narcisse Bleu

Brand: Hermes

Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena

Year of creation: 2013

Pyramid according to Osmoz:

Top notes: Orange Blossom, Galbanum
Heart notes: Narcissus
Base notes: Woody Notes, Powdery Notes

Notes mentioned by Parfumo/Fragrantica/Basenotes: Narcissus and Woody Notes (all three), Galbanum and Orange Blossom (Parfumo only).

Impression of the scent by Hermès:
An ode to a raw material endlessly reflected back by playing on its salient features, Eau de narcisse bleu pays an unusual homage to freshness. This exercise in style tackles the sense of touch, given depth with orange blossom and galbanum. A novella with contemporary, very individual writing, creating a muted contrast between the dense textured notes of narcissi and the delicacy of a woody accord.

“A completely free-spirited creation in which I particularly wanted to express the tactile aspect of the raw material.”
Jean-Claude Ellena

Visual impression by Hermès:


Classification by Osmoz: Floral woody musk

Fragrance Wheel (by Michael Edwards) classification: Floral, Fresh/Frais, Citrus Fruity, unisex

This fragrance is compared to: Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès, Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene.

For my personal impression of this scent, please, read my review here.

The season of green florals with Grey Flannel


Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene or Spring is in the Air

IMG_4711v2SWIt’s always the same around this time of the year. The winter feels like it has been gone (even there is a big chance it comes back with snow and frost) and my inner calendar starts to notice the first signs of spring (even the smallest ones). Fortunately it’s easy to find something blossoming any time of the year in Amsterdam. Like different sorts of Viburnum shrubs reminding me of the first blossoming fruit trees. Or the yellow flowers of winter jasmine. And once it’s really cold and rainy outside, there is always place for hyacinths and tulips inside the house. The pungent smell of hyacinths that combines the cool green freshness with white floral elements fits perfectly this season.

At the first glance there seem to be not much hyacinth soliflores. Michael Edward’s guide mentions only Jardin Clos by Diptyque. But the cool green note of hyacinth can be found in many fragrant families – green, green chypre, fresh florals, white florals, fresh woody, etc. Like today I am wearing Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene where I defenitely sense hyacinth impression while is not even mentioned in the pyramid.

Name: Grey Flannel

Brand: Geoffrey Beene

Perfumer: André Fromentin (quite an unknown name for a perfumista)

Year of creation: 1975/76 (re-orchestration in 1996 is mentioned)

Pyramid according to H&R Fragrance Guide:

Top notes: Green
Main: Green note
Supported by: Galbanum, Lemon, Petitgrain, Bergamot

Heart notes: Green
Main: Violet
Supported by: Rose, Clary Sage, Fern, Geranium

Base notes: Powdery
Main: Musk
Supported by: Cedarwood, Moss, Tonka

Other notes mentioned in different pyramids: green lemon, orange, neroli, labdanum, violet leaves, mimosa, orris, cinnamon, amber, vetiver, oakmoss, sandalwood.

Classification according to H&R Genealogy: Chypre, green

Classification according to SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs): B6m, Floral (Fleuri) group, Woody (Boisé) subgroup, masculine

Classifications according to Fragrance Wheel by Michael Edwards: Woods (Boisé), Fresh (Frais) subgroup

Verdict by Luca Turin: 5 stars of 5 called “sweet green

Grey Flannel seems to be a controversial fragrance getting a lot “love it or hate it” response. People call it either a “timeless masterpiece” or “synthetic crap”. Even Luca Turin who gives it 5 stars calls it a “masterpiece”, but at the same time mentions that the fragrance “occasionally feel a little crude”. Sounds like a perfume with a daring character. But there is one more thing i discovered reading the reviews from the experienced perfumista. I understand the scent is affected by reformulations. The version of 80’s seems to be richer and more refined than the current one. Well, both facts can explain the ambivalent feelings about Grey Flannel.

When I put Grey Flannel on, I get the same controversial feelings. I do love the start and I almost hate the base. Love the citrus freshness of the scent made almost non-recognizable behind the green fumes of galbanum and violet leaves. That pungent cool green freshness reminding me of a hyacinth flower. Cold and clean like the snow, but with a floral touch of fragile early blossoms. I smell the slightly bitter sweetness of violet leaves rubbed between the fingers. And that dusty powdery mossy base that gives the scratchy feeling reminding me the sense of raw woolen clothe on the skin. The general mood of Grey Flannel translated into colors feels like muted whitish, greenish and bluish tints turned out just to be the shades of grey.

The base tells me the different story. There seems to be a mixture of musk molecules that I can’t stand. I found them in the base of many other perfumes. And I hear more complains about the certain musk molecules from other perfumista. A lot of people are anosmic to one or several musk molecules and can’t smell them. Others seem to experience some musks as being quite unpleasant. Altogether it makes perfumes to be a lottery. A lot of them are very pleasing at the start, but you never know what is hidden in the end.

There are several possibilities to deal with the unpleasant bases. First it’s good to try different launches. Perfumes are undergoing slight reformulations quite often and there is a chance you find a version that is free from unpleasant side effects. Another possibility is to spray more every hour or two to refresh the top and keep down the base notes. At the end of the day you will probably need a shower, but you can enjoy the favorite parts of the scent the whole day. There is a chance you get used to the unpleasant notes and stop noticing them. And the last remedy is to find an alternative that has a similar smell or character, but is free from the side effects. And Fragrantica gives me some hints about Grey Flannel look alike perfumes: Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermes, Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermes, Green by Byredo, Ombre de Hyacinth by Tom Ford and Background by Jil Sanders. Well, sounds like an exciting adventure of discovering the new fragrances!