What We Do In Paris Is Secret by A Lab on Fire

What We Do In Paris Is Secret is a dessert rose compacted with sweet powder; a treatment of a rose moved through exotic landscapes and dreamlike fantasies. It is a rose that has discovered the Bosphorus, yet retains its classical, Western sensibilities.

The lokum scent is not a completely new subject in perfumery. It is a gourmand analysis of a consumable already perfumed in itself. The sticky delights of rose and cooked sugar elevate with tinges of spice, citrus, and nuts – then overdosed generously with a dusting of sugar. As a flavourful creation, it is perfume. An experience that tantalises multiple senses. Flavour moves firmly upward and uniquely into what I can only describe as perfumed taste – where the olfactory sense is prompted further when the flavour sense is engaged. Hence explains my love of these sticky Turkish Delights – they transcend the usual experience of consumption and dining by giving us a blatant olfactory delight.

As a self confessed anti-gourmand individual; a gourmand loving anti-gourmand fan, the gourmet experience of Turkish Delight does not adhere to the usual template of judgement. This is because Turkish Delight quickly becomes, and effortlessly blurs what is considered edible and what is considered something that ought to be solely smelled. To me, Turkish Delight is edible fragrance.

What we do in Paris is Secret © 2016 Liam Sardea

 © 2016 Liam Sardea

Within the continuum of lokum, from abstract to hyperrealistic, What We Do In Paris Is Secret is an abstract work. L’Artisan’s Traversee du Bosphore for instance moves closer to hyperrealistic, with its electrified wholeness and stretched out facets. Skin on Skin (L’Artisan) exaggerates this … it deliberately explodes with a vivacious vibrancy on the skin.What We Do In Paris Is Secret takes a faint idea of lokum; a sort of visibility when your eyes are squinting in a certain way, and surrenders it to a wave of uber-plush musky powder. Certain facets are nuanced and hint at depth. Other facets are meant to be appreciated at face value.

The Turkish rose is swept in this whirl of powder, macerated with the unique addition of lychee. As an ingredient, lychee too is a perfumed taste maintaining a sweet tropical aroma. In this composition, it adds contrasting variation with its unique tropical quality. It is sweet like our focal lokum note travelling on a parallel line, but converges with its more profound, minutely citrusy, and almost-sickly sweet freshness. This combination creates richness, and the duality lifts like lemon to strawberries (or more accurately, lychee to rose), however the musk prevails.

The musk note is the complex agent in this fragrance, with its constant dulcet hum from start to finish. An elegant wave of heliotrope gives us a hovering quality, with just enough spice complimented excellently with tonka bean. With heliotrope’s resemblance to almond, tonka bean’s resemblance to a general idea of baked goods, and vanilla (no explanation required) – the abstract, illusionary gourmand idea is still maintained. Even then, a balsamic addition of tolu balsam – ambery, sticky, warm – pushes further into edible territory, but never seems to reveal totally. Restraint is key to this fragrance, and perfumer Domininque Ropion gives us this time and time again.

A note of honey is integral to the fragrance, giving us an effect of innocuousness. An innocent and radiant effect of fragrant sunshine – like capturing rays of sunlight over vast perspectives, highlighting myriads of natural colour palettes. As romantic and waxy as that may seem, perfume to have an emotive effect as such is rather worthwhile. Of course, honey serves a technical purpose too – adding profusion and depth; a shimmering weight on top of already hovering pale florals. Translating the heavy into something impossibly light and still intriguingly textured.

What We Do In Paris Is Secret is singular, and perhaps more of a guilty treat. An ambery powder with a culinary, almond-driven sparkle. Fruity in the most austere and adult way possible. In short, a comfort. Creamy and almost incense like in its trail – the dessert effect is washed, but not purified, it is merely given abstraction, and a warmer disposition. This is what we get, and can expect from a proficient perfumer like Ropion, a modern technical master. It seems that he has achieved olfactory slight-of-hand. When the realistic side is almost uncovered, it flips into a new territory and begs for abstraction. He takes the edible, and makes it something inedible – but more for olfactory reverence. The honey is rendered into an effect. The lokum itself transformed into a fleeting accord detached with flowers. The familiar is cut with the unexpected, but still the perfectly complimentary.

It hints at intimacy, it frolics with innocence, but it seems to continually spiral in a self-indulgent, barely monotoned circle.

A powdered [Turkish] delight.

Subjective rating: 3/5

Objective rating: 3/5


3 thoughts on “What We Do In Paris Is Secret by A Lab on Fire

      • I really really enjoyed it. More than I thought I would actually. Most of the Lab on Fire perfumes were not my style at all, but I knew I bought this one for a good reason. While I was wearing it, I kept thinking how adept Ropion is with restraint. This perfume could have easily been a monster, but he manages to rein the gourmande influences into almost something verging on classical. I’d be curious to smell this next to Ropion’s Kenzo Jungle Elephant. There may be a textural relation between the two.

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