Blog post by Gwen
I’ve written about a lot of colognes over the years. Uncomplicated, refreshing and light colognes are the ideal antidote for hot, sticky summer days and nights. But for me, they serve another purpose.
Choosing which fragrance to wear is often determined by how I want to feel. Some scents are empowering; some make me feel a bit, well, frisky, while some others make me feel wistful or exotic. You get the idea. Sometimes, when I feel burdened by a heavy schedule or big decisions that weigh on me, I often turn to colognes. Easy to wear because they are undemanding and restorative, colognes counter whatever heavy weather I’m going through in any season. And, since most niche perfume lines have one or two colognes in their stable, I am spoilt for choice. Still, the one fragrance line I find myself going back to over and over again for colognes is Astier de Villatte; the French luxury homeware brand started in 1996 by designers Benoît Astier de Villatte and Ivan Pericoli.
Their cologne collection offers something for every taste. Want a cologne that’s stylish, elegant and very Parisian? Try Eau Chic. Want to be transported to a Swiss alpine village? Try Grand Chalet. Craving something a little more out of the bottle, then you just found it: Commune de Paris.
Commune de Paris is the result of a collaboration between Astier de Villatte and French fashion house Commune de Paris, named for the popular revolt of 1871. The Commune de Paris website says: ‘As a founding act of French social History, the Commune remains a horizon for the bold and rebellious of the day. Independence, audacity and liberty are essential elements of a simple, well-designed fashion which does not lack meaning.’
This is probably a good time to review the structure of colognes. They follow a very simple formula: alcohol that contains a mixture of citrus oils, herbs and/or flowers, with a light base of woods or musk. It’s how a perfumer plays within this structure that can make a cologne distinctive and nose Françoise Caron has created a stunner with Commune de Paris.
It opens fresh and zesty from Sicilian lemon and bergamot supported by minty, herbaceous rosemary. This refreshing start always hooks me in and never fully disappears. Instead, it moves to the background where it lingers for ages. As it evolves, pink pepper and lavender bloom, their fresh, floral and herbal aspects on full display. Out of nowhere, it gets powdery – gorgeously, tenderly, powdery – before almond faceted Benzaldehyde and vanilla-tinged Coumarin create a powdered almond accord. Benzaldehyde and Coumarin, are chemical molecules created in 1866 and 1870 respectively, and clearly set the cologne in the time of the Paris Commune. Labdanum and benzoin carry their sweetness over the base of patchouli, vetiver, cedarwood.
The drydown is elegant, refined and perfectly suited for men and women to wear.
With Commune de Paris Françoise Caron has boldly taken the cologne formula and enriched it with notes of powder, almond, amber and suave woods to create something unique and original while still being a cologne. I wear it whenever I want to feel rebellious, audacious and free, and that could be in any season.
Check out Commune de Paris in our Shop.