Skip to main content

Nosing Around with Esther - December 12, 2012

Photo - Wikipedia - Westminster Kennel Club logo

New in niche

Fracas is one of perfume’s legendary heavy hitters, created by Germaine Cellier, one of the few female perfumers of the time (1948). The frag went through its ups and downs over the years, before being, by all accounts, well restored in the mid-1990s by house Robert Piguet. It’s a tuberose sillage monster, but if you can pull it off, it’s also incredibly sexy. (Check out Now Smell This for a great appreciation of the ‘fume.)

Now, Piguet has launched a flanker to Fracas: Petit Fracas. It’s described as a floral with a vintage edge, opening with citrus and pear, with tuberose and white flowers at its heart, and a base of musk, sandalwood and chocolate. Are you tempted to check it out? I know I am!

Vintage appeal
Will someone please write a book about Germaine Cellier? I want to know more about this apparently foul-mouthed perfume genius. Until then, I’ll just have to settle for sniffing her perfumes, among them Balmain’s Jolie Madame, Monsieur Balmain and Vent Vert, Nina Ricci Coeur Joie and Robert Piguet Bandit and Fracas. Vent Vert is also the perfume featured in one of my all-time favourite magazine ads for perfume. See it here.

And if you’d like to try Jolie Madame or Monsieur Balmain, Gwen and Kay have both on offer.

Deals, deals, deals
I know it’s not really the time of year for a sunny citrus hit, but by golly, Monsieur Balmain is a treat any time of year—and generally a deal as well. I’ve seen it at Winners in Canada for under $40, and you can also pick it up online at

Nosing around
Both the 1990s reformulation of Fracas and the new Petit Fracas were created by note Aurelien Guichard. Among his other frags are Bond no. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory, Bond no. 9 Chinatown, Diane von Furstenberg Diane, Nina Ricci Love in Paris, and at least 13 other Robert Piguet fragrances. According to his listing on Now Smell This, he comes by his talent honestly: his grandparents grew roses and perfume for the perfume industry, and his father is perfumer Jean Guichard.

Makes me want to try it
I’ve been enjoying Jane Daly’s  and her recent post on 7 Virtues Middle East Peace and Vetiver of Haiti perfumes has me looking for a chance to sniff both scents. Check out what Jane has to say here.

Just because
Because you won’t believe it unless you see it: Dogs. Driving cars. In New Zealand. Really.