It is funny when you realize a perfumer's aesthetic just does not work for you. I mean it is rather bizarre to realize you have over the years sampled many of their fragrances and yet you have not fallen for one once, yet that is what has happened between me and the nose Pierre Guillaume aka the absurdly handsome perfumer. The funny thing, is that his perfumes have not done incredible acts of smelling awful on me, but rather none have ever caused me to have a perfume swoon. I have at least admired one but recognized the composition is just not me. I think it does tell you about a perfumer's signature in the scents they create and that it does exist. So the question is have I have tried enough of Guillaume's work to be able to say this? I think so if you take a look at the list.
In the Huitieme Art Parfums collection:
Ambre Ceruleen oh did I want this too work, but alas this was an intense root beer amber on me that just never melded.
Poudre de Riz, seems like a no brainer but sadly ended up smelling similar to What We Do In Paris Is Secret but even lighter, I suspect the problem is the musk used in it. Really wanted that rice note.
From the Parfumerie Generale collection:
Cadjmere, once again a scent that disappeared on my skin. For a moment I get a lovely piney sandalwood coconut scent akin almost to Kheer in a weird way.
Corps et Ames, not sure I can blame this on Guillaume considering I notoriously do not wear chypres well.
PGO5 L'eau de Circe, perfectly nice but it didn't really capture me.
PG13 Brulure de Roses, a delicious rose jam opening but then it sort of goes blah.
PG14 Iris Taizo, mainly a whole lot of intense spiced amber, once again doesn't really meld.
PG21 Felanilla, a modernized furrier Shalimar that once again proves that Shalimar just does not work on me.
L'Ombre Fauve, the closest to almost swoon, this animalic amber is quite good, but I can recognize that as much as I like this scent it is just not me.
So what does this all mean? Mainly that I think I will probably stop spending money on samples of Guillaume's perfumes. He is loved by others and I can see that he does interesting work but whatever his signature is in his fragrances it just does not work well on me.
On the other hand as I was writing this post this morning it occurred to me how it is so hard to apply the "true" critical eye to a perfume. Now some might suggest to be truly critical you can only smell it on paper thus the skin does not interact with the scent, but I think that defeats the purpose of perfume which is meant to be worn on the skin.
Still over time I have wondered now what causes me to praise one thing but not the other? Is there qualities that will make me more lenient towards a composition or not? Frankly here the guidelines I follow in my head when it comes down to review:
1) I'll be the first to admit I'm easier on the little guy, for true indie perfumers if I'm not in love with a scent or fact find myself disliking it, I won't review it. The frank truth is the world is unfair and the bigger piece of the market you have the better you do, for an up and coming indie perfumer I just don't have the heart to write a really negative review. They just aren't playing on level ground.
2) I will not attack the perfumer of the composition in any personal way, in the era of troll and massive negativity when someone does anything I refuse to contribute. I will talk about the composition, discuss why it does not work for me, but beyond that nope.
3) The one caveat, the up-pricing of compositions that obviously come from a cheaper source. I'm looking at you Penhaligon's with Empressa, that is a ridiculous joke being played on consumers. I will discuss marketing and mass market perfumes and how I frequently think it is shooting itself in the foot.
So these are just a bit of my musings.