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Carré d’As – Four Aces=Winning Scent, October 2, 2015

Image - - Four Aces

Cool and crisp and sunny today, with a strong breeze. The perfect re-set button for my wardrobes. It always happens around this time of year, and that’s probably one of the main reasons I love fall so much. Clothes and perfumes get switched up. It’s time for the heavyweights. Cashmere and Orientals. Leather and Ambers. Silk and Fougères. Mmm, perfume…….

Gwen opened this week with the newest 2015 Nicolaï release, Amber Cashmere Intense, and I’m going to close it with one of the older scents from the line, launched in 1995, and which is not all that well known outside of Europe. Carré d’As, or Four Aces in English, is a fougère created for men, and for women who like wearing men’s frags, women who are perfume lovers, like me.

Patricia de Nicolaï. How do I love thee, let me count the ways… your talent and creative vision, your commitment to pure ingredients, your entrepreneurial spirit which keeps your little company intact, your environment-friendly low-cost marketing which means most of the money goes into the juice, and especially your perfect small 30 ml. bottles which allow me and all lovers of fine fragrance, to buy more and more of your incredible scents at a reasonable price.

Carré d’As is an aromatic fougère (French for fern), but it’s a fougère with a twist. The traditional men’s fougère recipe* calls for citrus in the top notes, followed by a strong dose of lavender, a classic aromatic note in perfumery, which is then followed by coumarin, which smells somewhat like fresh hay, as well as other notes. Patricia de Nicolaï has interpreted Carré d’As as modern fougère by cleverly opening her scent with a tangy pure lime note, and by replacing lavender with ginger and mint, plus a hint of cool melon.

It feels barber-shoppy right at first but very quickly relaxes into a smooth accord when notes of soft sueded leather and spices, nutmeg and pepper, and herbs, thyme and caraway, are added into the mix.  The middle accord expands, definitely aromatic and intriguing but controlled and balanced, the notes in complete harmony.

Carré d’As is “cool” in the best possible way, becoming more mellow and refined as the dry-down continues into the base, where woods are blended seamlessly with sweet grassy hay and tobacco, deliciously aromatic and masculine, then carefully layered over frankincense, tonka, and musk notes. The end is as hoped for, a sensual leather-tinged muted skin scent, with soft sillage wafting for several hours.

Carré d’As is so subtle and sophisticated that the word fougère just seems wrong and inadequate.  This is a more a leather scent, a very quiet lightly spiced leather, with soft tobacco and wood and hay notes with sweet tonka…well, I digress, but the point is, Carré d’As is a gorgeous grown-up men’s scent by Patricia de Nicolaï, and, as usual, she aced it.

Try Carré d’As and I bet it will make you feel like you’re holding a winning hand. 

Carré d’As is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

**(click here to see our Glossary of perfume terms)