Many of us who love perfume would have liked to lodge this complaint with the perfume companies for at least a decade now. The trouble is that the vast majority of the public (or their duly unelected representatives in focus groups) enjoy fruit notes. Pleasant, light, sweet and oh yeah, fruity are the adjectives most readily associated with positive sales figures.
It tends to mean that everything smells alike, but after a while fashions can become so entrenched as to be clichés that date their adherents with startling accuracy. This explains helmet hair into the eighties, or girdles into the sixties, and now I come to think of it, low rider jeans into the twenty first century. Trust me, twenty years from now there will still be females who believe that all hair should approach the platonic ideal of Jennifer Aniston’s even though she, by then, will be flogging Depends.
Our grandchildren will complain that Granny always smells of old canned fruit. Eew! Why can’t she wear Eau de Topical like Mom?
Why, indeed? We are, after all, the products of our times, denizens of Facebook, and by the fruitiness of our perfumes shall our descendents know us, and our descendents may uncharitably call them Granny’s Air Pollution. Oh well, many people feel that way about chypre perfumes now.
From this you might now suppose that I am a hater of all that is fruity. Not at all. As a matter of fact, I have always been a closet admirer of the dreaded Fruity Floral. Why? Well, they’re pleasant, outgoing, cheerful, bouncy as Jennifer Aniston’s hair. Who doesn’t like this? Oh well, actually I know a lot of perfume connoisseurs don’t, but there are good ones.
You may ask where exactly are these good ones? Well, one place to look for the wearable fruity floral is the line at Parfums de Nicolai. She has a number of perfumes that really do meet expectations. Some are discontinued but are still worth hunting down. Balkis, one of her eau de toilettes, is a combination of roses and the liqueur Chambord, meaning a fusion of roses and raspberries. It is very sweet and very femme but, on the right woman, delightful.
L’Eau Mixte is her version of a grapefruit floral and is largely grapefruit, rose and black currant bud. It is very tart, slightly green, and can smell of sulfur on the wrong skin. There is also Juste Un Rêve, a matter of pineapple, monoi, rum and possible leather. It is tropical and it has been reformulated so is more fruity and less powdery than it used to be.
For reasons of nostalgia my favorite of her fruity florals is Eau Turquoise. This one reminds me of Annick Goutal’s Folavril. These days Folavril is different, and the closest thing that I can find to the old version is this de Nicolai. It is itself probably discontinued and I ought to get around to ordering a bottle, but the charm of it, as it was of Folavril originally, is the combination of jasmine and mango. There was just something so optimistic in the scent that it puts me in mind of the 1990’s a decade in which everyone was going to get rich and bought houses…and you know the rest.
Finally, and if you want to go up market, it is possible to wear fruity florals and be lady like at the same time. Parfums MDCI is your answer. Most of their feminines contain a pronounced fruit note, usually peach. Pêche Cardinal is peaches over a lavish tuberose. So many peaches, in fact, that the tuberose never gets a word in edgewise until you’ve been wearing the stuff for a couple of hours. Then garrulous tuberose dominates the conversation, but you can opt for pears instead in the new Belle Helene.
So you can hang out in the fruit bowl without smelling like punch.
Or like the oughts either, for that matter.