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Frapin 1697 – Straight, no chaser (May 23, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Brandy in a snifter - by Szalony Kucharz

Bertrand Duchaufour. He’s a busy guy. In the last ten years he has created some 45+ fragrances. In 2010 alone there was  L’Artisan Nuit de Tubéreuse, L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore and Penhaligon’s Sartorial. In 2011 he has created Eau d’Italie, Jardin du Poête, The Different Company Oud Shamash, Marc Atlan Petite Mort, Parfums MDCI La Belle Hélène, and Frapin 1697... and it’s only MAY!

With so much juice in the air, you know it’s just a matter of time until he produces a clunker. Well, Frapin 1697 isn’t it.

Many of my fave frags come from design houses (Maison Martin Margiela) for example) and from jewelers (Mauboussin). P. Frapin & Cie is not a design house or a jeweller – it’s a distiller.

The Frapin family, one of the oldest families in Europe, has been making award-winning cognac from their Fontpinot Castle in the Grand Champagne region of France, since 1270. In 2008, they entered the perfume market. The jump from cognac to perfume might seem a bit odd at first, but really it makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, both wine and perfume transform plants into complex sensory experiences and, of course, cognac and perfume both fall into the ‘luxe’ category.

Currently, there are seven fragrances in the Frapin line, each one designed to represent a different aspect of life around the castle throughout the years. Frapin 1697 represents the year that Louis XIV, the Sun King, granted nobility to the Frapin family. Louis ruled for over 70 years and his reign was noted for his love of women, gambling, dance, drink and other indulgences, like Versailles.  So, what does Louis’s court in 1697 smell like? Exotic, rich and boozy.

Frapin 1697 opens with booze. That’s right – it opens with a shot of mouthwatering whiskey, then rum emerges warmed by pepper with labdanum adding notes of leather and resin so that it becomes deep, dark and delicious. As it moves to the middle, flowers appear adding a feminine aspect to the frag. Jasmine, ylang-ylang and rose and are warmed by spicy clove and cinnamon, and sweetened by dried fruits. At the base, sweet, creamy tonka bean appears, bolsterd by exotic vanilla. Patchouli adds its mustiness blending in beautifully with cedarwood, while musk tames any boldness and smoothes the whole blend out.

I can tell you what the notes are, but it’s the magic that Duchaufour creates with them that makes Frapin 1697 a boozy, rich and intoxicating fragrance from start to finish, that smells great on a man or a woman.

By the way, currently Frapin 1697 is an exclusive with only 1697 special-edition numbered bottles produced. Mine is 0012.

Note to M. Duchaufour: whatever you are doing, keep on doing it!

Today, we're adding Frapin 1697 to our decant sample offering. Decants are $8.00