I received a fragrant Christmas present from my sister-in-law this year, a bottle of Indochine, by my favorite gourmand-wizard Pierre Guillaume.
There is hardly a perfume in this perfumer’s oeuvre that doesn’t appeal to me, even if I wouldn’t wear all of them, I can see the beauty in each and every one of them.
What Pierre Guillaume does best, in my humble opinion, is turning wood into something simply delectable. And Indochine is no exception. Most of my favorite woody scents are by Parfumerie Générale (Cadjmeré, Aomassai, Cedre Sandaraque, Praliné de Santal), so I was keen to smell this newest woody creation featuring a kind of wood I never smelled before, truth be told, never even heard of before - Thanaka. A substance made from tree bark, it is used for cosmetic purposes, especially in Myanmar (Burma).
The latest release of Parfumerie Générale, Indochine was launched in the fall of 2011 and includes notes of Siam benzoin resinoid, Kampot pepper, Ceylonese cardamom, Burmese tanakha and Laotian honey.
Indochine starts as a study in spices on wood. It opens dry, peppery and with a cool blast of cardamom, and since this is one of my favorite spice notes of all time, we are off to a good start.
What becomes very prominent on my skin as the scent develops – and that was somewhat unexpected – is the honey note. Instantly changing the tone of the perfume from dry and spicy to warm, golden and slightly sticky, the honey in Indochine is a major player.
What seeps in then, is the dark, deep hum of benzoin and a powdery, milky, creamy smell that has to be the thanaka, I guess. Both help to push the honey from its self-appointed throne and give a wonderful balance to the perfume, smoothing over the difficulties the spices and the honey might have had with one another.
They create a uniform softness and warm creaminess that is utterly comforting and makes me want to snuggle in and give in to the temptation of doing absolutely nothing but smell this perfume and be content.
Indochine is not loud, not overbearing, I’m not sure Piere Guillaume is capable of making anything crude, everything he does is soft and beautiful. (Having a slight crush? Me? No!!!) It lasts for at least four to five hours on me and although it wears close to the skin, it is not totally without sillage either. I especially love it on clothes, aside from extending wear time, my scarf is not a honey amplifying agent, like my skin seems to be, so the honey does not take on such a prominent role.
In my mind Indochine is linked to our week in the cottage after Christmas, a time to relax and recharge.
Indochine is like a charger for my inner cell phone. Possibly a horrible metaphor for something so lovely and inspired by far-eastern fantasies, but I could do worse than accusing a perfume for being responsible for recharging me with energy.
P.S.: I recently discovered that there is a login and password on the bottom of every PG bottle that get you into the Private Collection part of the website. Maybe you all know that already, but I didn’t and was delighted to find out.
Pssst – here is my code: Login GST11, Password PG7880