La fin du Monde - it's not the End of the World
There's a tradition in certain parts of the perfume world to use difficult or even unpleasant notes in a composition.
This is more than just adding a bit of civet to smooth out a profile, it's when a perfume becomes weird or consciously repellant in some way, as well as being attractive.
This tendency goes back at least as far as Roudnitska, with his use of cumin and over ripe melon; you could also include Jicky and Mouchoir de Monsieur in this category. We aren't talking mistakes here; it's an attempt to create dynamic perfumes by contrasting 'nice' and 'nasty' odours, something Mathilde Laurent has written about and you can feel it her work too.
The downside to this, is a certain overthinking which can intrude and spoil the beauty of a composition. Which is not to say that perfume should be 'sugar and spice and all things nice' all of the time; unremitting prettiness would be deadly dull to many, and - just as in life - a bit of conflict makes for drama.
But when it's overdone the intellectual approach leads to awkward accords and sterility; it's all very well provoking a reaction with your curried ice cream, but if it's not well judged the result can just be a turn off.
Such is the case here.
The End of the World is clearly designed to provoke, but my reaction is a mixture of ennuie and irritation. A plastic gourmand floral and gunpowder, it aims for the kind of shock value the name implies. (I'm reviewing it now because - with the US president talking about armageddon provoked by Russia's war on Ukraine, and Putin's nuclear sabre rattling - La fin du Monde seems more relevant than it did in 2013).
But, beside the thin provocation of the opening gambit, there is a standard lily-iris type floral, and powdery ambroxan+, all of which is pretty ordinary and leads to a most tedious drydown.
According to ELdO then, the world doesn't end with a bang but a whimper.
Giving a work like this a neutral rating seems counter intuitive but it's a dynamic response to the perfume - and not a bland compromise.
Even if it's an ordinary - or rather flat - structure, covered with a flashy veneer, La fin du monde is still rather bold, albeit reminiscent of the idea behind Jasmin et Cigarette (2006).
The problem is, while it's the sort of thing I find interesting, and appreciate the daring involved, I don't actually like it and would never wear something like this.