Review: Jacques Fath Vers le Sud — 2.5 points

Lemon, lavender, fig leaf, and oakmoss are notes that create a beautiful rustic impression for me. When I encountered them in Vers le Sud (Jacques Fath, 2015), I was initially excited by the promise of a Mediterranean charm and quite prepared to forgive any unremarkable aspects—after all, what not to like about an eau de cologne with a twist? Even if it is not going to be novel, it must surely be likeable.

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As it turned out, however, I sit on the fence for this one. The beginning is bright, with lemons and herbal lavender. They are accompanied by fruity sweetness and aquatic freshness. Although it feels generic at this point, the fig leaf accord that soon enters lends a twist. Creamy, bitter green, and camphoraceous with hints of civet to soften the herbal edge, it offers a pleasant alternative to the traditional citrus blooms. In the dry down, the bitterness of woody oakmoss completes the rustic experience. But the composition is far from being able to transport me to the advertised Corsican wilderness and Tuscan hills.

I like the fig leaf accord at its core and the bitter woody note of oakmoss in the dry down, but I remain unimpressed. Vers le Sud does not really add anything beyond a twist to the classical eau de cologne. A variation on a theme could be interesting, but in the case of Vers le Sud, it feels rather average.

Source: Jacques  Fath Parfums

Review: Jacques Fath Curaçao Bay — 2.5 points

The idea of sun-warmed frangipanis and beaches is a summer dream, and Curaçao Bay (Jacques Fath, 2015), created by perfumer Cécile Zarokian, is intended to evoke that experience. The eclectic idea of marine notes and white flowers is promising, and I am game for such a twist. The result seems like a novelty at first, but ultimately is unconvincing.

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To be fair, one is offered the tropical flower and the sea tang as promised. It opens with bright citrusy notes and green blackcurrant buds that restrain the growing richness of frangipani. Creamy coconut and narcotic ylang ylang dominate the floral accord. Its white floral sweetness is contrasted with an ambery, marine note. Indeed, I can relate to a scene of frangipani trees lining a beach. And, as it develops, it turns muskier and the marine note becomes more pronounced.  A touch of bitter almond and tonka bean lends extra warmth to the frangipani. I could simply like its quirky character, a twist of frangipani.

But it goes awry after an hour. The marine tang can be somewhat penetrative, and rather than a bay in the tropics, I start to imagine being stuck in a lift with the intense marine note left behind by someone who has oversprayed himself with Invictus (Paco Rabanne, 2013). Not quite like the advertised sun-warmed beaches. However interesting the idea to convey might be, you are out of luck if the fragrance annoys.

I bore with it till the dry down of vetiver and salty woods a few times, as I really wanted to make sure I can overcome the harsh marine tang and partake in the promised fantasy. Still, I remain unmoved. The opaque musk note in tandem with a persistent ambery note eventually make for a nuisance. The frangipani possesses some nuances, but there are plenty of more complex and luxurious frangipani accords out there that do a better job of evoking a summer paradise. Curious though its sketch may be, the resultant juice is literal, plain, and unmemorable.

Source: Jacques Fath Parfums

Review: Jacques Fath Bel Ambre — 4.0 points

Bel Ambre (Jacques Fath, 2015) is literally ‘beautiful amber’. As the name might already suggest, the bulk of the composition rests on a classical blend of vanilla and labdanum, which is called ‘amber’ for its rich, golden brown hue resembling the precious tree resin. One could be forgiven, therefore, for thinking that the name betrays yet another classical sweet amber perfume, but this is not case. This is because Bel Ambre certainly has a few beautiful surprises up its sleeves.

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Of course, the main impression is traditional. The beloved warmth of this perfumery accord indeed already makes itself evident in the top notes. Juniper berry, which is often used to flavour liquor, imparts a boozy note to the bright citrus and savoury herbs. Cumin lends its complementary spicy note. The sum is like the warmth of a strong liquor coursing through your veins.

But the surprise that soon sets in comes as a chill. Buttery iris note creates an interesting cool contrast to the warm amber composition, and along with an animalic overtone of castoreum and smoky leather, they meld into a soft leathery note. It develops in the dry, smoky side, which will suit those who prefer their amber a little less opulent.

The pleasing amber accord reveals itself fully towards the dry down. The powdery sweetness of vanilla, tonka bean, and musk creates a cosy, ever-so comforting cushion. The balsamic note of labdanum imbues the composition with much warmth here. And in the background, a vetiver note offsets the sweetness nicely with a bit of a woody touch.

Bel Ambre is a gentle take on classical amber with a twist. For me, the overall warmth recalls that of Ambre Sultan (Serge Lutens, 2000), but it is quieter in terms of volume and slightly sweeter. Of course, there is also the soft leathery and animalic tinge. Its lasting power is great enough to be enjoyed throughout the day. If you are looking for a taste of classical amber but with a chic twist, this is it. And, I am sure that fans of classical amber will hardly find fault with such a beautiful amber, and that applies to me as well. Even when I constantly look for novelty in compositions, a familiar accord that is well-executed such as this one has already won half of the battle for my affection.

Source: spirale-rp.fr

Review: Jacques Fath Green Water — 4.0 points

Eau de cologne is a family of fragrances which are very widespread and well-known so much so that we know this summer staple by heart. From cool citrus and herbs to warm woody, ambery noteyou know how it unfolds and what to expect. Its seems that nothing more could be done to improve upon this universally beloved harmony.

But when that happens, it offers a pleasant surprise. Such is the case with Green Water (2015), which was re-launched along with the revival of Jacques Fath brand. Reportedly, perfumer Cécile Zarokian set about bringing back the spirit of Green Water by frequently visiting the perfume archive Osmothèque to smell the original 1946 formula of perfumer Vincent Roubert. As she could not bring back a sample for analysis, she worked closely with perfumer and founder of Osmothèque, Jean Kerléo, who also happened to be privy to the formula. Whether the result is close to the original, I cannot say simply because I have not smelled the original. But, I can surely say that the re-launched composition makes me re-think the possibilities eaux de cologne have to offer.

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That Green Water is an eau de cologne is no doubt, but it is in the special accent and restraint that set this eau de cologne apart from its brethren. The first spritz is of fresh citrus and neroli, and these hesperidic notes are accompanied by a lot of sweet mint and its coolness. This gives Green Water a unique refreshing effect. Next is a subdued orange blossom that lends a subtle but persistent floral touch. And, typical of classical eaux de cologne, a sprinkle of herbs and spices, especially a cuminic note, imparts an agrestic accent. Everything is rendered with such softness and balance that it feels elegant.

The cool citrus and herbs are classically paired with the warm woody notes. A grapefruit-like vetiver note reciprocates the citrusy idea of Green Water and remains until the dry down. It is complimented by mossy and musky notes that gives a nostalgic vibe of an old-school eau de cologne.

All of this elegant transformation happens subtly and close to skin. That being said, the only complaint I have against Green Water is its extremely fleeting and quiet nature. I have at most an hour of wear before the show is over. But while it lasts, I revel in its layers and subtleties, from the refined citrus, mint, neroli, and herbs to the warm mossy musk. I imagine old-fashioned glamour rendered with a soft touch. Now, a copious splash from the 200-millilitre flacon might just be the volume one needs.

Source: spirale-rp.fr