One Thousand Scents

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Slow Burn: L'Artisan Parfumeur Piment Brûlant

When I first tried the three scents in L'Artisan Parfumeur's Les Epices de la Passion, I was immediately smitten by Piment Brûlant; it smelled intoxicatingly of chocolate and it lasted just about forever on the skin.

It still does both those things, but something's changed. It's nice, but it's not amazing any more. Have I become habituated to chocolate scents (surrounded as I am by such things as CSP's Amour de Cacao, The Body Shop's Amorito, and Yves Rocher's Cocoon)? Has my nose changed? Has my skin?

Piment Brûlant--"burning-hot pepper"--starts out very red, with a rush of red pepper and a surprising floral note that, it turns out, is poppy. The poppy note vanishes in a matter of seconds, certainly less than a minute; the red pepper that remains is much softer and more muted than that in the top note of Givenchy's Xeryus Rouge (which is a startlingly crisp and realistic red pepper).

As is the case with all three Les Epices scents, another note wells up to join and finally subsume the top note, and in this case, it's chocolate, warm and only slightly sweet. This is clearly the scent of the concoctions that Vianne plies her customers with in Chocolat, and it's lovely.

But--and I can't believe I'm saying this--it's too simple. It needs more of something, and, not being a perfumer, I don't know exactly what. Spices? Vanilla? Something inedible such as ambergris? Whatever it is, isn't not there, and the complete lack of development after the chocolate note rises up makes the scent less than it ought to have been. (Poivre Piquant is equally simple, but the sharpness of the pepper and the complexity of the milky note make it work much better.) Piment Brûlant is still a pleasure to wear, but it could have been so much more.



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