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Minotaure – Thinking of Heroes – January 22, 2016

Image -  David Bowie - cbc.com

I was surprised by how sad I felt when I learned about David Bowie’s death on January 10, 2016. He was a contemporary icon, an indelible part of my life, as well as my childrens’. My daughter is a Labyrinth devotee , “Dance, Magic, Dance”, my son loves his music videos, and I quietly admired both the man, David Jones, and the artist, David Bowie - his personas and eccentricities, his personal style, his warmth and humility, his humour and his wide–ranging intellect, which was so apparent whenever I saw him interviewed or guesting on a late-night show. Always curious, always an optimist with a vision, he was a true artist.

I was pleased to see him honoured on perfume sites, and happy to learn from the January 12 post on perfumeshrine.com that Bowie’s favourite fragrance was Minotaure by Paloma Picasso. I own her famous chypre, Paloma Picasso, but had never smelled her only men’s fragrance. I’m normally not impulsive when it comes to buying new bottles, but the fact that DB liked it and wore it for years was enough to make me immediately flip open the iPad and order it. I’ve been wearing it exclusively since it arrived earlier this week, and when Esther unexpectedly featured it her January 20 post here, I knew it was time to write about it.  

Minotaure is a full, rich, Oriental masculine fragrance which is perfectly suited for women; in a word, it’s androgynous, which makes it truly Bowie-esque. Launched in 1992, it was created by Michel Almairac, the nose behind many wonderful fragrances we have listed in our Decant Store – Bottega Veneta, Casmir, Gucci Rush, Ivoire de Balmain, Voleur de Roses, Venezia, to name a few. 

Popping with aldehydes, Minotaure opens with tart citrus, spices, herbs, and fruit notes layered over bright green galbanum, aromatic and bursting with virile energy. It softens and sweetens into the heart as the aromatics give way to a more feminine accord topped with white florals, but dominated by a young rose over geraniums in full bloom. The heart of Minotaure is radiant, a strong-but-silent-type kind of warmth that stays slightly in the shadows.

The dry-down becomes a Victor/Victoria accord of soft worn leather woven intimately with cedarwood, ambery vanilla and subdued sensuous musk. Minotaure has a warm romantic inner core but comes off the skin feeling almost cool, which I find fascinating. At the end it’s like a walk in the moonlight, held tightly in a lover’s warm embrace.

And the meaning of Minotaure? The creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man from Greek mythology featured significantly in Pablo Picasso’s work in the 1930’s, which may have been the inspiration for his daughter’s fragrance sixty years later. And in my fantasies, the inspiration for David Bowie to wear this gorgeous fragrance could have been the fact that the mythic Minotaure was said to dwell at the centre of…. the Labyrinth. I think Minotaure, the fragrance, dwells outside the mainstream in its own unusual and beautiful world, which could explain its appeal to this musical artist. I also think that’s why I love wearing it.

My favourite Bowie song is “Heroes”, composed when he was performing in West Berlin in 1977 before the fall of the Berlin Wall. You can enjoy it here….

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day

On January 11th, the day after he died, the German Foreign Office paid tribute to David Bowie, and thanked him for his participation in helping to bring down the wall. Whenever I wear Minotaure, I think of David Bowie, and heroes everywhere.

Minotaure is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.