Esprit du Tigre by Heeley

An elegant medicinal experience; Esprit du Tigre flips the spicy paradigm on its head.

Esprit du Tigre is a bewitching fragrance and is near stupefying. As an intellectual and fragrant study, Esprit du Tigre is an inspection of stylistic effects in perfume; an observable and public reverie regarding how an effect is captured in a scent and what it achieves in both inclusion and omission. Esprit du Tigre is a representation of force and weight, and how singular additions can augment these important factors; as subtle modulations rework these representations.

This fragrance features a cool camphor mentholated breeze overlaid above a fuzzy base. Although the menthol camphor effect is not novel here, the manner it is treated places it in a novel category shared by the likes of Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens.

The effect of camphor creates an emotional reaction placed centre stage in Esprit du Tigre (as menthol does in the Lutens work), whereas in more traditional fragrant portraits and architectures the emotional effects are generated through a more narrative-prominent style.

The ethereal and dramatic crystal shards-like properties of the hovering camphor note, when considered holistically, detracts the sense of weight without jeopardising the focus drawn to the scent. Instead, it is a perfume with a telescoping action. A cool spiciness moving into a new territory. It hovers with a laconic lightness that doesn’t tread into a field resembling the expected transparent mantra or assumed grace. A density hovering in midair.

The camphoraceous effects of wintergreen maintain an aldehydic like function, creating sublime buoyancy that permeates all facets of the scent.

Esprit du Tigre (Heeley) © 2016 Liam Sardea

© 2016 Liam Sardea


The opening features a unusual fruity crunch – somewhere between rotting and fermenting, with an unmistakable green flourish – not so far away from the officious sprightliness of sticky green galbanum. With a torrent of mint, a unique and inimitable coolness is achieved with its bracing pepperiness.

As a note in perfumery, the use of mint floats into a fearful territory of oral hygiene, yet this connotation is played with in this Heeley fragrance. An idea of medicinal positivity and vigorous physical readiness – Tiger Balm of course! For the unprepared, this is an energising shock with a vitalising tonic impression. For the prepared, this is a pleasant juxtaposition of properties moving onto their contrasts. The warming sensation that is Tiger Balm detracts with careful telescopic graduation into cool and refined spice. The unusual sweetness of these notes moves into a bitter, overbrewed style.

Naturally, cardamom and clove are both included in the scent – pushing this cool quality further. Both notes are revered for their cool-giving qualities. As an interesting addition, something smoked comes into play. A light dosage of vetiver for its rootiness seems only appropriate within this herbal ‘tonic’ like creation, giving a sense of body. Black pepper too gives a well needed spike and sense of direction, especially important in carrying the medicinal theme.

The charm with this scent is that it makes the unpleasant to a large degree wearable twirling into a pleasing oriental balsamic facade, surprisingly decreasing in complexity until one is left with a dependable interplay of fresh spice atop of solid woods. It is predictable, wonderfully meditative and calming, and at once novel yet completely expected. For that clash of two ideas alone, the scent is meritorious.

Hovering Wintergreen.

Subjective rating : 3.5/5

Objective rating: 3/5

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