One Thousand Scents

Monday, July 13, 2009

She's So Unusual: Anné Pliska

Anné Pliska is the very essence of a niche scent. First of all, hardly anyone has ever heard of it: it isn't available for purchase at very many places (or "doors", as they call them in the fragrance-marketing biz), so you generally have to order it online, from Anné Pliska herself or from a retailer such as Luckyscent. Second, it isn't quite like anything else you've ever smelled. And third and most interesting, it's the only scent in its line: no flankers, no multi-fragrance lines like the Chanel Exclusifs or the Tom Ford Private Collection, no mad profusion of scents to fill every available category or style currently in fashion. It's just the one thing, just Anné Pliska: take it or leave it.

It's an amber oriental, and at first breath, it calls to mind two other ambers: Calvin Klein Obsession and MPG Ambre Précieux, two fragrances that have amber running throughout from top to bottom. Anné Pliska opens right away with warm, sweet amber, tied to an orange note like that in Obsession. And then when you think you have it pegged, it just gets weird.

After the orange starts to evaporate, in about ten minutes, you begin to notice...wet cardboard? Something damp and pulpy, anyway. It resolves itself into subfuscous jasmine and a bit of dirty patchouli plus dark-green geranium which together provide a herbal quality that keeps the scent from being just warm and cosseting: it smells like something odd and slightly dangerous is going on, something unsettled that you can't quite put your finger on. (It's like the geranium in Old Spice, but without the gasoline.) There are also occasional glimpses of barnyard, not manure but that deep loaminess that's pure barn. There is still amber playing alongside these strange and fascinating elements, mind you: it hasn't gone anywhere, but it stands in contrast to these outdoorsy pieces and parts. All in all it is genuinely odd, and at odds with what the Anné Pliska blog calls "the most beautiful perfume in the world". Not that it isn't beautiful: but it is a rarefied and uncommon definition of beauty.

Eventually, a couple of hours later, the weirdness starts to subside and is slowly replaced by a plush vanilla and quite a lot of powder. Some people don't get the powderiness, but I definitely do, and in concert with the amber it's lovely and cozy. Anné Pliska is occasionally described as "chilly", and for a while I can sort of see it, because that bright, fresh orange at the top leading into the enigmatic middle are not what you'd expect from a warm amber scent; but that ending is pure boudoir.

I am not sure how I feel about the packaging. The perfume, though in a nice pared-down bottle, is a baffling and vivid pinkish hue, and the eau de parfum, while tinted the approved dark-gold colour of other orientals such as Youth Dew and Obsession, is in what can only be called a very cheap-looking bottle. But the price is right. You rarely see perfume any more: most commercial fragrances are only available as an EDP or EDT spray, and scarcely anybody makes perfume except the old houses like Chanel and Caron, and even then only for their older, established brands and not the newer ones. When a niche house like L'Artisan Parfumeur makes a perfume version of their scent (as they did recently with Mûre et Musc Extrait), it's an event, and if Serge Lutens started making perfumes in smart little quarter-ounce bottles, fragrance fanatics everywhere would spontaneously combust along with their credit cards. But Anné Pliska is available as perfume for the 1980s-level price of $68 for a quarter ounce. The EDP is $55 for a two-ounce spray, and if you can ignore the packaging--or hey, if you like the packaging, not everyone is me, not everyone shares my taste--then you're talking about a bargain.

(Over on my other blog I have a posting about the Anné Pliska blog, if you're interested.)


Post a Comment

<< Home