Away in a temple
One of the interesting things about fragrances certainly is their ability to mirror us by leaving enough room for interpretation (at least many of them), thus functioning like a Rorschach picture. We project and choose what we prefer to see (apart from the 'wishful-seeing'), and tend to recognise those we know of, not unlike with anything else. As with many other brands, I learnt about AP and its existence through the perfume platform for the first time, and the curiosity of my nose won over any hesitation there might have been, considering the supposed target group. So far, I came to test 5 AP fragrances, and while one was a complete 'let-down', none of them at all conjured any association remotely connected with the images the brand seemed to aim at.
L'Agent, to me, smells like entering a Buddhist temple where a Western tourist just had left a trail of her strong peppery floral perfume in front of the shrine, which is now lingering in the serene and cool darkness, mingling with the scent of the wooden pillars and the smoke of the quietly burning incense. For this perfume, the Japanese expression 'to listen to a fragrance' (as used in Kodo) seems a perfect choice. From the opening till the dry down with the spicy, woodsy rose, the incense dominates which I always associate with meditation and calmness. Therefore, L'Agent does not evoke any sultry nor even sensual images to me. While I find it more of an ambience fragrance in the heat, in winter, L'Agent turns into a surprisingly 'cosy' scent like a comfortable kilt shawl, giving me solace and spreading a festive mood at the same time - I am reminded of the life-sized wooden crib figures I encountered during the childhood holidays in the Italian and Spanish villages, the myrrh and labdanum always wafting around in the cold, midnight air.
Even though it may not be anything revolutionary to those familiar with incense, I find L'Agent a unique amalgamation of a dusty, classic rose bouquet and boudoir imagery with the 'exotic' and solemn silence of the wooden Buddhist temple, with an excellent longevity and strength, accompanied by a beautiful bottle. Of course, it became discontinued. I will cherish this as my Christmas fragrance, while it lasts.