Lovely. Ghastly. Intoxicating. Nauseating. I want a small bottle. I can’t wait to scrub the revolting mess off my body. Two completely antithetical reactions to two supposedly parallel companion fragrances, both created by Cecile Zarokian for David Jourquin. The first is Cuir Altesse. The second is Cuir de R’Eve. Both fragrances are eau de parfums that were released in 2014 and that David Jourquin describes as “women’s fragrances,” but I think Cuir Altesse is completely unisex, thanks to a strong similarity to vintage Lagerfeld Cologne, classic bay rum tobacco colognes, and vintage Shalimar parfum. Let’s start with the dreadful one first, so that I can block it out of my mind immediately thereafter, and then we can talk about Cuir Altesse at greater depth.
Tabacco d’Autore is an homage to the complexity of tobacco from an ancient Italian house known for its rich, intense soliflores. It’s a new fragrance that explores tobacco’s many innate facets through a dark landscape that is embellished with dry woods, spicy patchouli, smoke, amber, and artemisia’s dual sides of bitter herbal greenness and oud-ish woodiness.
Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561 (hereinafter simply called “Farmacia SS Annunziata” or “Farmacia”) is an Italian house whose history goes back centuries. It’s a completely unpretentious, good quality, moderately priced brand whose fragrances are often more like extraits in their concentration, and they typically focus on one main note whose every characteristic or feature is then explored in great depth. I’ve never really understood why the brand gets so little attention; some of its soliflores are impressively hardcore treatments of their subject (like Patchouly Indonesiano), richly beautiful (like the gorgeous Ambra Nera), or just very easy-to-wear, versatile fragrances. The new Tabacco d’Autore very much bears the Farmacia SS Annunziata aesthetic. It may not my personal cup of tea, for reasons I’ll explain shortly, but, like every Farmacia soliflore, it takes the main note and runs with it.
Perfume names carry weight. They bear certain promises, or hint at things to come. “Tabac Tabou” is a name that portends a hedonistic, sensual, or illicit exploration of tobacco. That last part turned out not to be the case for me. In fact, judging by what appeared on my skin, I wouldn’t consider Parfum d’Empire‘s latest fragrance to be any sort of tobacco soliflore whatsoever. Now, hay and narcissus…. that’s a different matter.
Roja Dove is having a sale and, since we were talking just yesterday about super-luxury fragrances and their prices, it seemed like a serendipitous time to mention it, particularly as the news appears to be less widely known than I had thought.