The career of Pierre Bourdon ended just a couple of years ago. It is a shame in a way, because he was the greatest advocate for the use of synthetics in perfumery ever to charm millions of noses out of their prejudices. I’ll write about his work elsewhere and will not be going over the subject in detail here, but it does seem to me that some of his later perfumes are being forgotten by the public and that’s really too bad.
Two, just two, of his that I really think we should revisit, are Courtesan and Romea d’Ameor’s Mistresses of Louis XIV.
Now I’m aware that the second title there is a mouthful. As a matter of fact, that may have been one of the reasons that the line didn’t sell too well in the first place. But the perfumes, trust me, are not at all difficult to wear, even if they are sometimes difficult to pronounce.
The Mistresses is a pure Spring bouquet in a bottle and one of the most gloriously natural smelling floral notes in perfumery. It doesn’t last. You couldn’t expect it to, but for a wonderful fifteen to twenty minutes on me there is the freshest daffodil, hyacinth and lily of the valley accord you could ever want to smell. It really does rival Diorissimo at its best for that window of time. Afterwards it becomes a quiet, slightly powdery green hyacinth floral that reminds me faintly of Chamade.
Oh, come on, now, that’s pretty good, isn’t it? How far wrong can you honestly go with that sort of line-up? No, I’m in no way affiliated, by the way, I bought my samples just like everyone else. But the perfume is lovely.
Secondly, there’s Courtesan for Worth. This one was championed by one of the writers at Perfume Posse, (March, I think,) and she was right. It is not a fruit salad scent, instead it is a sweet but ultra sophisticated floral oriental, with a carefully engineered amount of underlying darkness in the notes.
Don’t bother, by the way, to read the notes, because they will tell you something completely off topic. To call perfume notes misleading is an understatement in this case. The perfume is definitely more than the sum of its parts and it takes a while to get a sense of what it is. It is somewhat oriental in its use of spices, there’s something like cinnamon in the open, and something like a caramel note in the base, and yet it never completely becomes gourmand, it stays in the realm of the floriental.
What it remind me of is one of the more successful Angel rethinks, Hanae Mori’s Magical Moon. Magical had a tendency to become dark and dry in the coda and to walk away from its initial candy notes. Courtesan never does this, but instead, integrates the candy with the florals and the possible amber. The fragrance remains warm, sophisticated but never heavy or heavy handed, definitely a good choice for winter.
So try these again before they disappear completely – because they will, you know.