One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Warm and Soothing: CSP Vanille Abricot

Comptoir Sud Pacifique has been getting some bad ink among the cognoscenti these days; since they revamped their line, some people are unhappy with the complexity and the staying power of the scents, neither of which is, apparently, what it used to be. I haven't tried any of their really new scents, not since 2000 or so (though I have samples of Vanille Coco and Vanille Cannelle that I'm saving), but I have a bunch of older ones, all vanilla-based, that I love. (I don't love the company's new trend, mixing French and English in the names: why should they have stupidly named two of their most recent releases Vanille Peach and Vanille Pineapple when the French versions, PĂȘche and Ananas, would have served at least as well?)

It's hard to pick a favourite CSP, but if someone forced me into it, I'd have to say Vanille Abricot. It's sweet, no doubt about it, but something about that sweetness agrees with my skin: it isn't cloying or heavy. (It certainly isn't as sweet as, say, the original Lagerfeld.) The first impression is not of fresh apricots, but of dried apricots drizzled with honey and caramelized sugar--no, not just caramelized, but thoroughly cooked, almost burnt; it smells very dark and heady. (It's often referred to as feminine, but it doesn't read that way to my nose at all; either it's my chemistry or people tend to think that anything except citrus can't be masculine. Vanille Abricot is, at the least, unisex to me, though it's almost too assertive for that rather wishy-washy term. CSP's Fruits Sauvages is the same on my skin.) The scent is tenacious and very linear; four, five, six hours later, the cooked-sugar and dried-apricot notes are still there, but now obscured under a veil of warm patisserie vanilla.

I own scents that aren't attractive, exactly, but which I love because they make me think YSL's M7 is a good example): they're like difficult art or music, and M7 is for me the Lulu of men's perfumery. But it's hard not to unrestrainedly love a scent which is comforting and flat-out beautiful, which makes you smile every time you smell it, and Vanille Abricot has just that effect on me.

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