Thursday, June 28, 2007

Soie Rouge by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier : Perfume Review

There is a wide choice out there for carnation enthusiasts like me. To name but a few, Carnation from the red series by Comme des Garcons, Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi, and the now discontinued (but still available at places) Ouelliet Sauvage by L’Artisan Parfumeur are all wonderful choices. My first, original love was, of course, Bellodgia by Caron, which stole my heart away with its distinctive, rich character. Some months ago, while searching for a spicier, brighter alternative, I discovered Garofano by Santa Maria Novella, which I found to be the truest, spiciest, most beautiful carnation I’d ever encountered. Garofano quickly became a favorite all-round carnation winner for me, finding it easy and wearable anytime, anywhere. I like playing with it, layering it with Annick Goutal’s Vanille Exquise when I require a little something different, a little more ‘oomph’ and even though just a cologne, it lasts and lasts all day long.

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, and


Linda said...

Dear Divina,
How lovely - this sounds so feminine and pretty, and I can't imagine anyone disliking it. A happy read on a cold summer's evening (like March) as I sit here, glass of wine in hand berfore an early night! It is on my Paris list, of course, but in the meantime I am going to search for Nahema this weekend. Thank you a million times for your mail,
Hugs, Linda

Arhianrad said...

You know, I had a sample of this lying around must be almost a year now! I will have to dig it up and give it a sounds beautiful...

dinazad said...

I'm glad this works for you - you make it sound gorgeous! On me, unfortunately, this was unmitigated disaster. So go forth and wallow, and enjoy!

Divina said...

Goodmorning Ladies!

Linda, it was my pleasure! Did you by chance read my Nahema review? She is a difficult mistress and I want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you go into to much trouble! (I love her though...)

Arhianrad sweetie, love to hear what you think if you manage to unearth it!

Dinazad: Sad to hear this didn't work for you :( Admittedly, I am so enamoured with Carnations I am not the least biased reviewer when it comes to fragrances that revolve around this note! Having said that though, even if I wasn't a carnation lover, I'd still find admiration for Soie Rouge for the way it manages to diverge and differentiate itself from other carnation offerings in the market.

helg said...

Thanks you for the lovely review! I admit that like you I love Oeillet sauvage, Bellodgia, and LV Garofano.

As a fellow carnation lover, may I suggest you also try (if you haven't) Terracotta Voile d'ete by Guerlain {for a lighter, slightly sweet, summery scent} and White Carnation by Ava Luxe {for an intensely spicy carnation}.

Jenavira13 said...

Just reminds of as a child constantly smelling my grandmother's carnation bush, it saddens me that so many carnation types have had the scent breed out of them. For awhile I was obsessed with finding a carnation scent but came to the realization that while I love the scent I would rather not wear it (although, I do like it as a supporting cast member in fragrances).

TMH256 said...

::promptly faints:: Divina, what a beautiful description. As you know, I discovered this in Taormina, Sicily and the notes described to me were unfortunately not accurate, although I loved it. NOW, I must, must get my hands on some. Thank you dear!