One Thousand Scents

Monday, November 27, 2006

Drink It Up: Boucheron's Trouble

If Chandler Burr's description of Jean-Claude Ellena's meetings with the marketers at Hermes is accurate, then this is what I imagine Jacques Cavallier's final meeting with the nice folks at Boucheron might have gone like:

Cavallier (proffering a touche): This, I think, most closely fits the brief.

Marketer number one: This is root beer and ambergris.

Cavallier: No! It's the scent of conquest, a new weapon in the modern woman's arsenal of seduction!

Marketer number two: No, it's root beer and ambergris.

Marketer number three: Hires root beer.

Cavallier (sullenly): A&W.

What contributes to the delicious root-beery feeling of Trouble is its vibrant, lemony top note (which evokes the sparkle of soda pop) and the waves of vanilla that follow not long afterwards. What contributes to the ambergris feeling is ambergris and lots of it.

There are other things in there, too, of course. There's a little spike of jasmine in the middle, and some warm, soft woody notes in the base, mostly, I think, sandalwood and, as an attempt to cut through the vanilla a little, cedar. But while the marketers might want to call Trouble a floral oriental, the floral notes just aren't that important: they're wallpaper to the narcotic dreaminess of the oriental notes. As is true of so many orientals, it's not particularly marked for gender: there aren't any of the usual aggressive notes of men's oriental perfumery, but you can still easily imagine a man wearing this. I know I do.

The bottle is unexpectedly heavy, and exceptionally well made: it's all little touches. The cap is crowned with a curved puddle of transparent red lacquer which nearly obscures the initial B. The green-eyed snake which coils around the cap is all of a piece: it's molded into the bottom half, but somehow detached from the top half, a tiny triumph of engineering. The bottle does call to mind that of Ralph Lauren's first women's scent, Lauren--same colour, same basic shape--but the elegant facets set it apart and suggest the product of a jeweller. You can't tell this from the photograph above, but it stands on four tiny square feet which are set in from the edges so that it almost appears to hover.

If you've ever looked at Jo Malone's pairings such as Blue Agava and Cacao or Basil and Verbena and wished for a Root Beer and Ambergris, well, here you go.


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