Skip to main content

Promenade en Arabie – From Paris with love….October 22, 2012 New Fragrance Listing

 Photo - perfumeniche - October 2012

I am in Paris as I write this. Wandering around, following my own Paris perfume route, the one I have developed over the years and refine with each visit. I drop in on my old faves, like Palais Shiseido for the latest Serge Lutens, check out the new spots like Nose, the new concept store for perfumes, and I make note of changes - Jovoy has moved from just around the corner off Place Vendôme to rue Castiglione.

Paris is Mecca for any perfume lover because no matter how many online perfume outlets there are, or discount perfume stores, or department stores that carry the brands, the perfumers’ stores in Paris – Heeley, Lutens, Guerlain, Goutal, Kurkdjian, Frédéric Malle, for example - present their perfume the way the want it to be experienced, and are an extension of the their aesthetic. The décor of the shop, from minimalist to over-the-top, methods of testing like blotting paper or feather or string wristband or swatch of cloth, the display, the presentation - these are all extensions of the perfumer’s vision.

The difference between buying a frag at their store and buying it someplace else is like the difference between listening to a Miles Davis album all the way through and hearing the songs the way he wanted them heard and experienced – the order, the flow - and just downloading the two songs you like – with no cover art, information about the artists, liner notes or context. Sure, you get the song or the perfume, but you don’t get the full experience the way the artist intended it, and created it for you.

And then there are the ‘exclusifs’. These are the frags you can only get in Paris – Lutens’ bell jars, Goutal’s Eau du Fier, and the parfum concentration of Cuir de Russie and Christian Louis’ Promenade en Arabie.

Never heard of Christian Louis? I’m not surprised. He flies under the radar. Here’s a bit of a bio: he was born in Versailles, did two years of medical studies before discovering fragrance through his work with the E. Lilli and E. Arden groups, and then he studied perfumery at Gallimard in Grasse.

I discovered Christian Louis perfumes on a visit to Espelette, a village in the Basque province of Labourd, France. I liked the style of his fragrances right away. They are authentic, true to his experiences and interests, well made and well priced. I bought a few that trip, but I always visit his charming Paris shop whenever I'm here to enjoy the ambiance, see what’s new and spritz a few favourites that are on my “To buy” list.

It’s Promenade en Arabie that has brought me to Place des Vosges today. It opens with a note of licorice sweetened with notes of bread and warmed with spices. My nose doesn’t like sweet scents, but the spices calm the sweetness so that I get the best of it. As it blooms smoky incense comes forward, joined by dark, rich, balsamic myrrh. This is the smell of the Arabian Peninsula!

Orange flower adds a floral aspect to the juice. Then, slowly, slowly, a beautiful opulent rose note appears and takes centre stage before the base of vetiver and musk, gently warmed by black pepper opens up. The drydown is refined - a French interpretation of an experience in Arabia – familiar and exotic at the same time.

I think I’ll rest here for a while.

Today we’re adding Promenade en Arabie to our decant listing. Decants are $4.00.

Here are the links to the wonderful Christian Louis fragrances we’ve already listed:

Espelette

Vive ‘Empereur

18 Place des Voges