Pierre Guillaume, handsome creator (he probably hates having his looks commented on everywhere and every time, but, come on, he is exceptionally beautiful, and I say that from a purely aesthetic standpoint ;), also he is not exactly trying to keep himself out of the focus) of Parfumerie Generale, launched two new limited edition fragrances recently: Tonkamande, an aldehydic almond milk mélange, and Praliné de Santal, a scrumptious take on sandalwood in all its creamy glory.
I got samples of the two at Les Senteurs, when I was in London. They have been launched at the same time, so I am going to review them at the same time, although they only share a gourmand theme, other than that they are quite different.
Ultimately there is one I like, one I adore. Let us see what is what.
Tonkamande includes notes of almond milk, aldehydes, tonka bean, wheat, sandalwood, vanilla and amber. It starts – unsurprisingly – very aldehydic. The aldehydes and the milky notes put together give the impression of frothy milk, milk whipped into a frenzy. The equivalent of a Nespresso machine minus the coffee. Breakfast comes to mind.
Later the aldehydes recede and what stays is a powdery, soft baby smell. Tonkamande is deceptively soft, it is actually quite tenacious and has a lot more sillage than one would think at first. I really like the drydown of Tonkamande that is a not overly sweet (especially for PG standards, astoundingly unsweet), cereal-like woody amber, but the first hour of milk froth, hmmm, I was not sure about that in the beginning. I like a milk note, I always do when I encounter one, but the inclusion of aldehydes meant to make the whole thing light and airy, also succeeds in making it somewhat medicinal smelling to me at times. Tonkamande grew on me though. When at first I thought, I could easily dismiss it, I found myself wearing it as often as my sample allowed and craving more. The fizzy milk opening followed by the comforting drydown is really lovely.
Praliné de Santal and I also had a rough start, but not because I didn’t like it, but because at first sniff it is extremely reminiscent of Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. I love Jeux de Peau, I own a bottle, but I did not need a second one with another name. After wearing Praliné de Santal for some time and a side by side comparison with the Lutens there are enough differences though to fully warrant a bottle of Praliné de Santal as well, should one not be under an embargo. :) Praliné de Santal is generally softer, less ostentatious, more refined, less tenacious. In a word, there is exactly the difference between a PG and a Lutens that one would expect, if one is familiar with both lines.
Praliné de Santal includes notes of sandalwood, heliotrope, hazelnut, Virginian cedar and cashmeran. It has me at first spray. Praliné de Santal is incredibly yummy. It smells like roasted hazelnuts, pastry, buttery croissants and hazelnut cookies with a pinch of salt. Sounds familiar? Told you so! But after that inital dessert fest Praliné de Santal wanders into less openly gourmand sandalwood territory, the smoothest, creamiest, loveliest sandalwood imaginable and stays there, comforting, eye-roll-inducing and warm. Did I mention, I really like it?
First in Fragrance gave out the terrifying information that only 120 numbered bottles are available in German, Austria and Switzerland. That kind of Perfumista torture is not nice.
Praliné de Santal is something I am thinking very hard about, especially under that kind of pressure. ;)
And here come a couple of totally unnecessary, but lovely-to-look-at photos of PG in all his glory. Enjoy!