Friday, 31 May 2013

Review – Robert Piguet, Calypso and Parfum D’ Empire, Eau Suave. The rose, creative interpretations.

I have a troublesome relationship with the rose in perfumery. Whilst in nature, scented roses have moved me to the point of becoming tearful, as a dominant note in a little bottle it just doesn’t seem to translate. It’s as if this exquisite fragrance is unable to be captured artificially, it’s just too beautiful.

However, two fragrances have succeeded in creating the perfect ‘Odiferess friendly’ rose. The first of which affected me so greatly that I bought within days of my first sniff (a rarity, I dither about purchases for months). It is Robert Piguet’s Calypso.

Calypso spans genres, at first impressions, it’s a haughty Chypre with it’s nose held superiorly high in the air. Were it possible for it wear a hairstyle, it would wrap it’s brunette tresses in a fearsomely tight bun. The word ‘Calypso’ seems inappropriate, I doubt this initially haughty creation would dance anything other than a formal waltz. The patchouli note is unusually dry and masculine, perhaps because there isn’t a trace of vanilla or other such commercially popular sweetening agent to accompany it. As it journeys on, a softer, increasingly feminine oriental fragrance appears, as the amber warms up the composition and gives the perfume a ‘heart’ or perhaps even a pleasantly sizable bosom. Slightly powdery aspects of orris and a whiff of leather impart a voluptuous creamy base reminiscent of Guerlain’s historical creations. This haughty madam does indeed possess some sensuality, she’s letting her hair down.

So how does the rose work in this composition? In partnership with another flower – geranium. The notes share equal billing at the top of this creation, a phenomenally effective collaboration. The geranium’s slightly sour, pungent, peppery and green facets bring a ‘natural’ feel to the rose, in essence an ‘inside the greenhouse’ effect where we can smell the sap, the leaves and the earthy soil aspects of a flower. With this in mind, I feel that it could easily be worn by a man without the fear of him being overtly feminised by flowers.

The second of my rosy delights comes from Parfum D’ Empire, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s extraordinary line of scents that brim full of eccentricity and quirk, yet are still delightfully wearable. It’s name is Eau Sauve.
Eau Suave is atmospherically opposite to Calypso. Whereas Calypso is opulent and deep, Eau Sauve is effervescent and airy, earthed only by a hefty wodge of bitter oakmoss. Those of you that have smelt Comme De Garcons Sherbet Rhubarb, will be familiar with the concept of fizzy sourness, which is exactly what you get with Eau Suave. Notes of dominant pepper, saffron and coriander impart the somewhat startling fizzy nose effect, which when combined with a sharp and sour hit of (very under ripe!) red berries produces a smell of almost combustible vivacity. I’m guessing that aldehydes must feature quite prominently in order to lift the bubbles skywards.
Eau Suave’s rose makes itself felt as the ‘grown up’ in the composition. It appears in a similar way to Calypso’s haughty rose. In effect, it anchors the uncontrollable (childlike?) fizz with an adult’s stern presence. Indeed it’s presence is felt all the way through changing little over the course of a wearing – the stability against the instability.

The rose traditionally symbolizes romance yet there is nothing romantic about Eau Sauve. It wears with the sensation of a high quality Eau de Cologne (except that it has much greater sillage and longevity). It would be ideal as a refreshing spritz in humid heat, ultimately a ‘waker-upper’ in comparison to Calypso’s late night sensuality.

I usually complete a review with a list of fragrances that share similarities with those featured. However, these are highly original creations. Perhaps they will soon influence others?

To smell: For those outside of London, Parfum D' Empire sell reasonably priced samples on their website, with so many excellent fumes in this range it's worth going for the full collection. Robert Piguet is more easily available in the usual high end stores, who often have samples to give away.

Original photo, Sarah Waite


  1. baby, Calypso is not meant to be a dance here, but the nymph Calypso from the Odiseea of Homer (not homer simpson, homer from Greek mythology). Jesus, what do you learn at school these days?!

  2. baby, Calypso is not meant to be a dance here, but the nymph Calypso from the Odiseea of Homer (not homer simpson, homer from Greek mythology). Jesus, what do you learn at school these days?!

    1. Punctuation, capitalisation and correct forms of address are on our curriculum.