Most people when they write about the chypres of Guerlain do tend to go on (and on) about Mitsouko. If you knew Mitsouko, like they knew Mitsouko, your whole outlook on life would change. There is a kind of mystic union between the wearer and the perfume, and if you love peaches and bergamots and lilacs, vetiver, amber and oakmoss , not forgetting a bit of cinnamon, you will indeed love Mitsouko.
Still Mitsouko is not the whole story in terms of chypres chez Guerlain. There is always Chant d’Aromes (a sort of back crossing of Mitsouko with Ma Griffe) and Sous le Vent which is a skinny chypre with herbs and lavender in the beginning and less going on its dry down than in Mitsouko,rather like a girl with no behind, and then…there’s Parure. Parure is the naughty one. I’m not saying that the other Guerlain chypres aren’t sexy. They are, but Parure is something else again, Parure is the Parisienne among the Guerlain chypres, the one who flounces in at three a.m. and when asked by her boyfriend where she’s been says,”Out.” Who smokes when she’s in public, wears a Macintosh and nothing else, no bra with t shirts, and has very few girlfriends and those she has are all gay and named Alice. Well you take my point here.
In Sex and the City as I recall it, Samantha wears Parure and buys up every bottle in the known world when the perfume is discontinued. For once the writers have it down cold, or very hot in this case. Parure is indeed the kind of scent Samantha would wear.
You could argue that Samantha would wear Femme, but Parure is more elegant than Femme, and more complicated- just like Samantha. Parure which means finery in French, is a true Guerlain with more twists and turns than a mystery plot by Agatha Christie. The beginning which is full of a rich plum note is very enveloping and very luxurious. That first encounter is also sensual, like shrugging on a mink coat over bare skin. Then perversely, Parure decides to camouflage its animalic motives for an evening, and drop you into a cartload of flowers, mostly lilacs, but also roses and iris, and hello there-narcissus.
The narcissus, always with something like pollination on its mind, is the link to a dry off that is decidely well, um…yes indeedy. I don’t see civet listed in the notes but I sure do smell it. Mals of the Muse in Wooden Shoes has been know to describe this note as “ho panties” when she comes across it in such respectable company as Jean Patou’s Joy. I have absolutely no idea what you can call it here, except that in Parure’s case, as in the Parisienne’s as in Samantha’s there may have been no panties from the get go.
Parure though is not a slut. She has political motives for watching porn, she is a feminist-in her own way. Also although she may sleep around just a bit, she is never ever vulgar , and would rather die than wear clothing that expresses an opinion. Parure carries a handbag, something outrageous, which she throws about but she never drops, and that sums it up for this most overt of all Jean Paul Guerlain’s perfumes, sexuality and luxury living together in harmony and in perfect taste.
Parure ends on amber, patchouli, oakmoss, spice and leather, but that leather is butter soft and so is Parure. Refined, somewhat dated ten years ago, Parure reads well again these days but good luck trying to find a bottle-Samantha bought them all up remember?