Helpful Review 7
Polish hall of mirrors
Gentilhommes's anthropological Frapin excursions in the TEE Rheingold and here in the Cologne of the 70s are excellent framings, I listen to Europe Endless and see a perfume in the kaleidoscopic hall of mirrors that immediately starts highly atmospheric. Pressed sugar cane, not further defined or already identifiable as a concrete spirit, but certainly stored as a precaution in wood that has also seen other things. Amarena cherries, morello cherry, ginjinha, plus citrus. An orange from Azemour? A shrub of mint with yuzu zest, with tobacco leaves and helichrysium from Bengal? Admittedly, I came across Speakeasy through the perfumer in charge, and the further he delves into specialized miniature studies of mastic, ambrette, Corsican spirits and weeds, the more clearly the commissions outside his own brand seem like near-classic perfumes (cf. chez La Parfumerie Moderne). Speakeasy plays in yet another category and opens in impressionistic atmospheres. A component of this climate is the wood polish note also mentioned above. Luxurious wood polish, of course, aged in cognac barrels for at least 15 years, a thing that, when arranged so consistently, can be quite beguilingly befuddling. Floor wax and wood polish haven't yet established themselves as a category of their own, but a handful of names come to mind off the top of my head: Chêne, Bois D'Ombrie, 1740, Faune... is it the booze + immortelle connection? Back to Speakeasy. The climate becomes more complex, joined again and again by swathes of classic perfumes - muted, perceived through the wall, tropically filtered. A splash of Opium, a dab of KL, even KL Homme or Chloe? All somehow hallucinatory tangible and instantly atomized back into the molecular. Despite all these pragmatic and partly heavy-weight references, the perfume remains light and refreshingly tipsy thanks to the mint-citrus and marginal geranium combo. After about three hours, the corticchiato twist: tobacco and immortelle, which has kept a very low profile until now, introduce a drydown that leaves almost nothing of the associative prelude and turns out balsamic-waxy, tonka-touched and discreetly quiet. The mix of initially delicious eccentricity, spherical reference smorgasbord and clever shift to discretion in the finish make Speakeasy stand out. I don't know any other perfumes from the series, but I like to speculate that this could be one of Frapins' best drops.