As I seem to have recovered from last week's frenzy, I thought I would revisit a fragrance I took along on my journey and sampled, but had no time (or attention) to notice, Frederic Malle's Le Parfum de Therese. When I put this on in the hotel room, I thought it was quite pretty, but A) it's quite light, and my application was poor and B) it was too light to compete with the environment.
As many perfume fans already know, Edmond Roudnitska created this perfume in the early 1950s for his wife, and it was hers exclusively. This scent opens with tangerine and melon at the top, with carnal rose and plum in the heart, and cedar, vetiver, and leather in the base. The tangerine overpowers the melon note for me (which is not a problem), and the leather is prominent and lovely from the open. The vetiver is not sharp but rather herbal in feel, a little watery and salty beneath the tangerine. The leather tempers it and keeps away the celery note so many people dread. It takes a while (about an hour) for the rose and plum to emerge for me, and along with them the cedar. The plum is not juicy or dark, but instead serves to sweeten and warm the rose and cedar just enough to make them more prominent. But make no mistake about it, this is a leather scent: soft yet supple leather, refined and lovely.
Le Parfum de Therese is a very, very light scent. The first time I wore it, Bob couldn't smell it, even in the hotel. Today I applied what was left of the tiny glass vial (about 2/3), and the scent is still quite faint, but definitely there. This fragrance creates an aura, rather than your "typical" sillage, and this is one case where I might recommend applying it to your clothing (or perhaps your hair, if it's not oily or you don't wear products with competing scents).
I find this beautiful, feminine and compelling. Like Serge Lutens Daim Blond, it evokes an idea of mystery and elegance. I suppose what makes me think of Daim Blond is its softness and the smell of suede, compared here to the soft leather combined with this watery citrus rose. Of the two, I prefer Le Parfum de Therese. I find this far more bottle-worthy (or on my budget, eBay decant-worthy), and more suitable to my personality.
You can read Colombina's wonderful review of Le Parfum de Therese at Perfume-Smellin' Things.
*photo from Frederic Malle