“You were not born in Paris, but Paris adopts you…”
A magical pronouncement that will strike a chord in the heart of every woman that has been warmly welcomed by Paris, and one that will blow the mischievous whisper of wistfulness in the ears of those that dream of visiting this city of cities. Parisienne, Yves Saint Laurent’s newest fragrant offering is not named after the Parisian woman, but after all the women in the world that know “how to love, how to live”, true Parisians in their heart thus and loved by the grand metropolis for their essence, spirit and allure.
Parisienne gives a respectful nod to Paris, YSL’s classic, timeless floral in more ways than one. Created by the same perfumer, Sophia Grojsman (in collaboration with Sophie Labbé), Parisienne reworks Paris’ signature rose and violet blend but at the same time manages to showcase a completely different aspect - one that is crystalline, sheer and effulgent. The facetted flacon too, is mindful of the original Paris flacon, while in this instance the fluid irregularity of the facets represents the complex, maze-like coil of small Parisian streets.
All this is well and good, fabulous even. But now we come to a crossroad of sorts. Understand, I actually love Parisienne and have been craving to douse myself with it every day for the last week (the only thing that has stopped me from doing so every single day was the fact that I did not want to let my nose get used to it too much before I give you a review), but it also has to be said that there is something antagonizing a full embracing of the final product. Parisienne features one of the most delightful and immediately interesting openings I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in a long time. There is no need to pause and consider - no need to wait for some irritating top note to fly off before you can immerse yourself to the real deal. Parisienne’s opening is just perfect as is: gorgeously tart fruit gently enfolded in the rising, magnificent softness of the floral heart. After a minute or two, the youthful, playful tartness subsides, and a most delicious cranberry note emerges. Chewy and sweet, truly edible and most realistically evocative of yummy dried cranberry, the note is so delectable and distinctive that it makes me want to spray the fragrance over and over again to re-experience it. The result is very feminine and tastefully done, so please do not let the mention of fruit scare you off. I get no trace of the promised “patent leather” accord in terms of scent, but I do see it well interpreted in the glossy, highlighted feel of the perfume. The floral heart in turn, with its rose-violet combination, smoothly emerges in a cloud of almost powdery softness, that ‘almost’ being operative, in that it very successfully translates in a palpable sense of yearning. The lightly sugary sweetness that caresses the floral heart notes renders them into a picture of little edible jewels in the imagination, as they smell so familiarly of candied rose and violet petals. The clean patchouli employed in the base - already apparent from the start - picks up in volume to support the floral heart and together with the vanilla and sandalwood, the end result is seamless and round, with just a hint of edginess offered by the patchouli.
But now is the time to return to that point of antagonizing discrepancy I mentioned earlier: despite having fallen in love with such ease with this perfume, I also find myself arguing against its drydown, its only unfortunate weak spot. Even though it doesn’t quite fall apart at the end, in terms of quality, Parisienne is certainly top-heavy. The whole premise of this modern, youthful version of Paris, seems to be its beautifully sheer, effulgent interpretation and I have to make it clear that my quarrel is not with its overall transparency. However, the drydown takes things a bit too far, presenting a slightly too diluted result for me to fully appreciate. I guess what I am trying to say is that the drydown lacks in complexity to keep my interest fully piqued. Having said that, it is beautiful and feminine - most definitely something I’d want others to smell on me. So where does that leave us? Well, Parisienne loses a few points for its drydown, but most definitely wins my heart overall. As I already mentioned, I have become addicted to it! Considering that the drydown does not require or draw my attention, I’d file this under beautiful perfumes to choose for when you need a perfume that is not too demanding - the type of perfume that makes you feel feminine and sexy while not distracting you or others around you.