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Cedar Woodpecker/10 – zesty and woody and sublimely elegant – September 30, 2017

Benjamin Almairic of Parle Moi de Parfum

Photo courtesy Benjamin Almairic

It was going to be a lovely lunch in Paris between two good friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. I was scheduled to arrive on Esther’s last day in Paris, and we planned to have lunch together at a little café around the corner from where I was staying.

But a tiny valve malfunctioned and my flight was delayed and our lunch never happened, malheureusement. A day or two later, an email from Esther dropped into my Inbox:

“Hi Gwen--So sorry we weren't able to get together for lunch last week! As I wandered the streets of the Marais that afternoon instead, I ended up stumbling upon Parle Moi de Parfum, Michel Almairac's new shop/line. I spent a lovely hour or so chatting with the young man in the shop, who was incredibly knowledgeable about perfume, and sampling the line. It has some really nice scents--I bought a bottle of Woody Perfecto, and then bought 5ml samples of all of the rest too! Then, at the end on the conversation, it emerged that the lovely young man is actually Benjamin Almairac, Michel's son. If you have time, you should check it out.”

I can always make time for perfumes by legendary nose Michel Almairac, creator of over 200 fragrances and known around here for Bottega Veneta, Fire Island, Casmir, Gucci Rush, Venezia (with Lucas Sieuzac) among others.

So I took Esther’s advice and on a too-hot autumnal day, made my way to Parle Moi de Parfum at 10 rue de Sévigné. It’s a smart little shop with bottle-lined shelves on a sidewall and a counter in front where fragrances are displayed along with fans of paper mouillettes, making sniffing easily accessible. The shop feels like more like a perfume lab than, say, the usual boudoir-type perfume shop.

And there at the door, was Benjamin Almairac, Michel's son, in a lab coat embroidered with ‘Parle Moi de Parfum’. Benjamin is engaging, easy to talk to and happy to talk about the Parle Moi de Parfum line he founded in 2016. He said that growing up in a close-knit family, with a perfumer father, he knew that one day he wanted have a family business: a line of their own fragrances available in a shop in the heart of Paris….et voilà!

The line was launched with eight initial eaux de parfum and each fragrance has a number appended to its name – the number of the final formula. I asked Benjamin what his favourite was, he smiled and said it was Totally White…for now. I took my time with the fragrances, and Esther was right, they are lovely, and the truth is I could have bought them all, but Canada Customs might have something to say about that, so I bought the one I fell in love with…for now: Cedar Woodpecker/10.

Built around three main notes – Virginia cedarwood, cedrat and Italian iris - it is a work of perfect harmony that results in a stand-out fragrance.

It opens with zesty, green cedrat that rushes to heart note of woody, sweet balsamic Virginian cedarwood, bolstered by patchouli, to create one of the most captivating pairings in niche perfumery: citrus and wood. Like most good pairings, they bring the best out of each other. The cedrat brightens the rich, woodiness while the cedarwrood gives the cedrat depth and weight. At the base, a note of creamy iris softens the woodiness and adds a powdery dimension that gives Cedar Woodpecker/10 a sophistication and an elegance.

The drydown is smooth, elegant and ultimately seductive. A marvel really of essentially three notes working in perfect harmony. Cedar Woodpecker/10 is labeled a ‘masculine’ but really, I laugh every time I read that.

Parle Moi de Parfum is what happens when talent, hardwork and family work together. I have a feeling I’m going to get to know Benjamin Almairac quite well.

Cedar Woodpecker/10 is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.