The 1990's represented a big shift in perfumery where the cloying 'big and brassy' scents of the 80's were retired in favor of androgynous perfumes and aquatics. Two big market leaders of the 90s were Calvin Klein's CK One and Davidoff's Cool Water... they pioneered a new direction that many others followed. Even French couturier and perfume house Jean Patou couldn't resist but bow to trend and public demand and launch their own masculine of the same ilk: namely, Voyageur.
Voyageur is a woody aromatic scent created by Jean Kerleo in 1995 which follows the same trajectory as CK Eternity for Men and Davidoff's Cool Water. It feels aquatic and aromatic in equal measure, with its citrus flight, lavender and sage heart, and woody, mossy base. Whilst Voyageur was Patou's answer to meeting public expectation, two things separated it from the rest – the first was a certain je ne sais quoi that can only be found in French perfumery (Parfums Patou, of course have a 90- year history to draw upon); and the second – an exquisite metallic ship-shaped flacon whose inspiration was drawn from their exceptional “Normandie” perfume bottle launched in 1935 (google it)! Harnessing good looks and good smells, Voyageur was snatched up by the masses, but when the aquatic trend ended in the early 000's, it was permanently retired from Patou's range.
Fortunately for us, Fragrancenet carries the metal ship refill bottles so this perfume is not lost to the world just yet! A wonderful olfactory snapshot of it's time, Patou's Voyageur takes its place amongst the many perfumes created by this highly-revered House.
What a delight and surprise it was to sniff the new feminine offering from Valentino: Valentina Poudre! Just as the flacon and name suggests, its a unique and intriguing powdery scent that will not fail to turn heads! Valentina Poudre is the latest of many in the Valentina line – presented in a gorgeous matte flacon in a nude/blush hue, there is something very tactile and satisfying about holding the bottle in your hands. The scent itself is a tribute to all things feminine – delicate, husky blossoms of iris and tuberose are imbued with an interesting “crushed terracotta' accord, which renders the scent somewhat earthy, powdery and mysterious.
An uncomplicated trail of sandalwood and vanilla anchor the scent to skin for hours. Valentina Poudre was amongst the very first of modern releases to incorporate this curious “terracotta” effect (an accord that has been swiftly picked up on in 2016 with various other 'poudre' releases). For it's uniqueness and prettiness, Valentina Poudre gets a hefty 2 thumbs up from me! Ideal for evening wear, all year round
Gucci have long been revered as fashion royalty, particularly since the brand was resurrected in the 90's by Tom Ford who breathed new life into the luxury Italian house with his 70's inspired palette of browns and beiges. Whilst Ford was at the helm, he authored many fragrances for Gucci which – despite having been discontinued since he stepped down - are still held in very high regard today! Gucci Pour Homme II is a perfect example!
Pour Homme II is the younger sibling to Ford's Gucci Pour Homme – both presented in very heavy, thick glass flacons with dimpled bases. Whilst Pour Homme was a stunningly warm, woody, spiced masculine, Pour Homme II sits in a very different olfactory register... one that is more monochrome and cool. Its flight is infused with bergamot and violet leaf which soar over a considered heart of black tea, pimento berries, with a pinch of cinnamon. The foundation is comprised of olive tree and musk.... the sum of all components make for a scent that is sophisticated and diaphanous. It sits close to the skin, like one of Ford's exceptionally tailored suits.
Gucci Pour Homme II has long since disappeared from the Gucci perfume portfolio, but is not forgotten – and whilst marketed to men, it feels somewhat genderless, making it an excellent light scent for both men and women. Must be tried before its gone forever.