Les Epices de la Passion. The passion of spices.
Take the substantial bite of spice, ranging from its vegetal rawness and spicy rush and taper it into a slim profile. A vertical rendering of spice within very tight borders. Within this substantial olfactory breadth of pepper is pleasing laconic harmony. Spice held in suspension and softening.
A white shirt with coloured paisley cuffs on the inside, Poivre Piquant is a spicy oriental projected into transparency. Alone the pepper is cool and crisp, like bitting into a raw peppercorn with heat building gradually. A tantalising and sultry burn, like passion and excitement. Grounded with a note of woods: sawdust, sandalwood, and an overall crisp aridity. Sublime dry tension. Poivre Piquant draws olfactory contrast on a level of moisture. The pepper oscillates with its transparency, a key mark of the Duchaufour style. Smooth like varnished wood, and in isolation, wet. Wholly it delivers intense dampness layered between a paradox of dryness.
This pepper note melds itself throughout the entire structure of this perfume, and its entire top-down structure progresses with this note remaining a key figure.
Moving beyond this burn; a warming heat, Poivre Piquant becomes saturated with an intensity of aromatics. Liquorice delivers the crisp, distinctive rush of anise with an unmistakable textural feature: a caramelised stickiness with impressions of immortelle, caramel, and a piercing, tanning midday sun. A spice of a distinctively different sort, this pepper and liquorice interplay demonstrate fantastic intersection whilst still remaining distinct from each other. The liquorice is a cool breeze – mimicking a lavender moving onto the intensity of fenugreek. Gentle spikes. Fascinatingly, a note of honey further pushes the sink-in-the-teeth qualities of the middle stage of Poivre Piquant, rounding it out with an unctuous smoothness glossing over and permeating all areas of the fragrance
To then add white noise atop of this sharp aromatic experience, a fatty and smoothing texture of milk adds warmth with a long and lingering creaminess. Rendered with the use of lactones, this abstracts from the directly culinary to the indirectly culinary; from pantry to gourmand fantasy.
Undeniably cozy, an illusion of florals is created through the lactic impressions. The sharp greenery of tuberose for instance, in my experiences features a camphoraceous spice (tuberose and clove mix well) that is often underneath a strong creaminess. Here, it’s the bracing spice of pepper and the cooling spice of bitterly saccharine liquorice with the note of milk that replicate similar floral notes.
Again, it’s a work of telescoping action: at close it’s something between bone dry and mildly damp, and from most afar it’s an amazing olfactory illusion working with impressions of florals and alternative structures. Honey and indole notes, to me, are similarly impressionable and aid in the illusion of grandiose floral frameworks … Running perpetually throughout: pleasing milky smoothness moving inwards and outwards.
On consideration of a structural whole, Poivre Piquant extends a minimalism mantra just a touch too much, losing its effective gravity that makes scent a pleasingly cogent work. Everything is shifted into the heart – and whilst this glimmers and floats in transparent purgatory, at times this presents itself as more of an intelligent olfactory exercise than something universally intelligible. That being said, I still enjoy the passionate spice of Poivre Piquant for its two-staged elucidation as it moves between Giacobetti’s Dzing! and Ellena’s archetypical minimal Brin de Reglisse. As something existing in the in-between, this scent is unsure if it’s is an oil painting of dry browns and reds (Dzing!) or purple hued watercolour with black flecks (Brin de Reglisse) – regardless, the brushstrokes within this portrait are refined, well-skilled, and above all else, careful utilised.
Alternatives: Brin de Reglisse by Hermes, Santal Massoia by Hermes, and Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur, and Poivre Samarcande by Hermes.
Pepper held in milky suspension.
Subjective rating : 4/5
Objective rating: 3.5/5