I certainly was not looking for yet another carnation scent when I left for my recent trip to Paris, nor was I expecting love’s hot, flaming arrows to pierce my heart again so soon after my last find. It took but one whiff of the beautiful Soie Rouge at Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s boutique though, to know that I had found a new carnation darling. With that I do not mean to say that it has dethroned Garofano. Rather, to my surprise, the two are different enough to co-exist happily, sharing first place in my heart, each appropriate for different occasions.
Soie Rouge literally means ‘Red Silk’ and is part of the “Les Accords Mystères” line of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier. The composition starts out like an intense, true carnation, which turns spicier and spicier as it warms on the skin. My senses are surprised as they struggle to process the swift transition from an innocent, single carnation to the advent of a full, extravagant bouquet of them, laced with freshly ground pepper and cloves. I find myself unable to resist bringing my nose close to my skin and inhaling deeply, with eyes closed and a slight smile on lips, much as I would when burying my face in the actual bouquet. The scent is concentrated and strong, to the effect that the wonderful smell lingers in my nose for a while thereafter. Despite its intensity though, this is not a heavy, old-fashioned rendition. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s portrayal of the flower is refined: a youthful, polished and cultivated beauty. Too, unlike any other carnation fragrances I have smelled, this one actually manages to also smell green. It is as though the whole plant is being brought into view, not plucked from the ground – for there is no earthy mustiness there – but freshly cut, making me feel as though I am actually holding the budding, thin and fibrous stems, their pointed leaves slightly piercing my hands. As time goes by, the presence of fruit in the composition becomes apparent, but never as stand-alone notes. Rather than being distracting, they serve a supporting role to the main character, the carnation, anchoring it and lending it depth, complexity. At the center of this harmonious creation, I find a warm heart of musk. To me, it serves to underscore the fact that this is a very intimate fragrance. It might be a fragrance for all seasons, but it most certainly is not a fragrance for all occasions. I would never dream of wearing it in the harsh light of day or pairing it with my jeans. Soie Rouge ideally deserves silk sheets and champagne. At the very least though, Soie Rouge deserves an effort from the wearer: an effort to match its femininity and a setting that allows it to work its magic. The intimacy it proclaims requires it be worn for whom you love most. I hope their heart swells with desire and appreciation, just as mine does when I smell this enchanting creation.
Pictures courtesy of amazoniaflowers.com, www.flowers.org.uk and www.scent-sation.com