Hey Olfactoria’s Travelers,
Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse here, and because you are all bouncing through spring up in the Northern Hemisphere I wanted to take a moment and remind you of one of my all time favourite fragrances. A queer, kooky, extraordinary fragrance that is GREEN and so much more.
Niki de Saint Phalle was created by Niki de Saint Phalle in 1982.
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Artemisia, mint, green notes, peach, bergamot
Heart: Carnation, patchouli, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cedar, rose
Base: Leather, sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss
So, to the fragrance. Like everything else Niki de Saint Phalle has bequeathed to the world the juice is extraordinary. The opening is a fun green fizz that seems at once super sweet and also mouth puckeringly tart. You know those sour lollies that are all sugary sweetness but with a freaky sour bite? I love them. At the beginning Niki de Saint Phalle has almost that exact feeling/scent. It is joined by a salty bouquet, like picking flowers by the beach, or at the beach house, it’s sensual sweat and perfume. Lovers that are getting messy as soon as they meet, on the entryway floor or against the wall, freshly cleaned and fragranced for the encounter the hot breath and sweatiness is overshadowed but not masked.
The mint, spicy carnation and artemisia (wormwood) seem to make repeated appearances and then hide again and patchouli/leather play side by side creating a very lived in green fragrance and the musk is not so clean, more animal/human. The bouquet gets breathier too through the heart but remains sweet, zingy and lively. Dry down is a slow fade to warmth with an overlay of green; an interesting dichotomy of warm and cool, inviting and abrasive, calm and charged.
2012 was the 30th Anniversary of the launch of this magical fragrance by Niki de Saint Phalle. That is a long time for such an under the radar fragrance to be around. There must be a bunch of people still wearing it; buying and wafting Niki de Saint Phalle.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
My mate Sheila Eggenberger from the Alembicated Genie writes it the best:
Niki de Saint Phalle (the perfume) like its creatrix has a few antecedents and hardly any followers. I don’t know why this doesn’t get the attention it clearly deserves. It has a few cousins – Chanel no. 19, Silences, those glorious green chypres of the 70s – and a definite Big Bad Bold Sister – Cellier & Piguet’s ground-breaking Bandit, which I suspect Niki wore and adored. In fact, when I left Bandit behind, I moved on to… Niki de Saint Phalle! They both have that… unsettling ashtray undertone a few hardcore perfumistas love! But Niki is softer and a tad sweeter, if no less great for that!
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle (29 October 1930 – 21 May 2002), Niki de Saint Phalle was a French painter, sculptor and film maker. She came from a titled French banking family that lost all their money and had to move to the USA to run the American arm of the family bank. It was Gaudi’s work in Spain that really opened de Saint Phalle’s eyes to the wondrous and breathtaking possibilities available for an inspired artist in all sorts of materials. Her inspirations would come to include objects of violence, women’s societal roles, size, architecture and the tarot, plus many more. Her work was ground breaking and inspirational in turn and is still copied, homaged and referenced today.
Thanks for wandering around in my fragrant thoughts,