Non-Blonde, Gaia Fischler, who is untiring in her soft-spoken enthusiasm for all things relating to personal beauty culture. I tried about half of the full line there, and received a packet of fluffy feathers scented as samples to try later. As a presentation for sampling, feathers work surprisingly well, since the feather holds the scent for a long time, like skin or hair, and you can waft it before you like a fan. In the interests of full disclosure, I will say they were very generous and gave everyone there our choice of a full bottle of perfume from the line. Since I was on sensory overload at that moment, after I tried a number and was unable to decide, I requested the assistance of those around me (particularly Gaia) and one of the designers of the perfumes (Stephane Humbert Lucas) to help me choose. I came away with Marron Chic, which was the obvious choice since I am thoroughly brunette, and been around long enough to appreciate the pull of opposites in a perfume. The reference to the look and flavor of the variegated warm and dark browns of a polished chestnut have a great appeal for me personally. I associate well brushed, polished brown hair as particularly French in that most French women I have seen have that hair color, and use it to set the palette for what they wear. Then also the traditional street vending of roasted chestnuts in Paris associates them with the typical French seasonal experience of autumn and winter. The opposites joined in the scent are the initial strong icy cool sweetness of iris and violet, against a background of creamy warm cocoa, which becomes softer and more powdery over time and settles down into a slightly spicy nut-powder woodiness, once the iris has burned away. Because of the joining of two such opposites in one scent, it is not an easy one or immediately seductive, but more a conceptual interpretation of autumn and winter embodied by the combination of a brisk, sweetened cold violet and iris with the powdery warmth of a creamy cocoa flavored aromatic wood. Rather like coming into a warm wood-paneled room after being out for a long walk in the winter air and having a hot drink of cocoa while a few snow crystals melt on your clothes and eyelashes. There are citrus elements that impart a tang and unify the impressions into a composition that holds together strongly opposing forces of cold and hot. The perfumes are indeed strong and dense as compared to for example, L'Artisan (which I find typifies the taste for transparent scents). Marron Chic lasts for a full day, so it is a commitment to a certain frame of mind to choose this perfume in the morning, and it is definitely not one for an effect of easy prettiness, but rather of an associative and "interesting" cast. It is a true unisex fragrance, and I can't picture it worn by someone in their twenties, though the stroke of midnight at thirty would be enough to carry this type of perfume if you have a serious side (while understanding that being sérieuse is far more of a compliment in France than it is here)...The notes listed are: top - kumquat, orange blossom, heart - karo karounde, violet, cocoa flower, base - benzoin tears, labdanum, roots of vetiver, cocoa beans.
Above photo, the Havana Brown Cat, elegantly chestnut brown from tip to tail...they sound like great breed.