Desire – Review: Frapin 1697

After reading and commenting on this review about Frapin 1697 on PST, the generous Marla contacted me and offered to share her sample with me. I gladly accepted of course.

Frapin 1697 is the new launch from the House of Frapin created by none other than the great Bertrand Duchaufour in 2010.

It is distributed in a very limited edition of only 1697 bottles. The number is significant for the history of the house, as it represents the year that the Frapin family was ennobled by the King of France.

In 1697 Louis XIV ennobled the Frapin family. A fitting coat of arms was created to match the glorious reign of the Sun King, a monarch who revered beauty, women and love… It was a time of drunken festivities, magical balls and parties filled with sensual pleasures, colors and smells. Moments filled with memories of lusts and desires.

– excerpt from copy at First in Fragrance.

Notes include woods, davana, rum, rose, jasmine, hawthorn, ylang-ylang, clove, cinnamon, dried fruits, ambergris, tonka bean, patchouli, cedarwood, labdanum, white musk and vanilla.

A bit more about the fragrance’s inception: one of my first thoughts had been “Why release this in spring, this is a fall scent if there ever was one!?”

It was indeed slated to launch in September of 2010, but the brand ran into complications with the envisioned name of the perfume “Les Ailes Du Désir”. A movie by the German director Wim Wenders, written by Peter Handke and starring Bruno Ganz from the year 1987 was called “Der Himmel über Berlin“, but its french title was “Les Ailes du Désir” (Wings of Desire). Frapin ran into legal trouble over the use of the name, so they had to come up with another one. (Information partially borrowed from Grain de Musc, thank you!)

You surely remember the Hollywood adaptation of the movie starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan – “City of Angels”.

I would have waited a whole year to launch in the fall season anyway, since it is a fragrance better suited to the cold season, certainly not ideal for summer. Although after wearing it several time I feel it is so beautiful, it doesn’t matter to me whether it is a warm summer night or a cold winter’s day, I just want to wear it.

1697 starts out boozy alright. The cognac legacy of Frapin is there from the start, its smell re-created through rum, davana (a spice) and leathery notes, that immediately conjure up a dark ambery-golden liquid lazily swirling around in a crystal glass. Initial comparisons to Spiritueuse Double VanilleAmbré Narguilé and Vanille Absolument are only a passing sensation. 1697 goes off in darker, more sensual directions soon.

The presence of oak wood as a backdrop is prominent throughout the development, which – after the initial heady boost of cognac – melds into a spicy floral heart. Cinnamon, clove and slightly sweet dried fruit aspects lace the rose I smell briefly, before the drydown that seems to have two layers – heavy cognac-soaked wood, vanilla and tonka lying sweetly and boozily over a slightly earthy and dirty deeper layer of patchouli, labdanum and musk – takes over and stays for hours.

This perfume makes me feel sumptuous and sensual. One almost would like to lick off the scent where it is applied. I recommend caution – if you want to stay alone, I would not recommend wearing it in public. It acts almost like a fly trap, summoning others with its sweet and disorienting lure.

It is one of the most subtle and effective “come hither” perfumes I have ever tried, intriguing, subtly sensual and so very scrumptious. It must be great on a man, devastating on the right one.

The concept of desire is masterfully translated in this perfume. Duchaufour condenses aspects of tender sensuality, comfortableness, security, raw want and wantonness into one swirling, ambery-golden liquid of desire.


Image source:,,, some rights reserved, thank you!

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54 Responses to Desire – Review: Frapin 1697

  1. lady jane grey says:

    When reading Marla’s review on PST I was so enthusiastic that I went to contact Frapin the very same day. The reason for my enthusiasm were the notes named by Marla – but even more so the fact that Duchaufour is my favourite nose. The answer from Frapin came immedietely, they advized me to go to the only shop in Vienna where Frapin is available. I went there within the same week – the SA was already told by Frapin that I’ll come and want to try the company sample of 1697. NOW HOW GREAT IS THAT ??? It’s an excecptional customer service I haven’t encountered for ages (if ever).
    I liked the first spritz very well, Duchaufour’s signature smokey-leathery concoction mixed here with booz and vanilla notes. I liked the middle stage as well, with its lightly secretive florals . However, the drydown is too plain on me, plus heavy on patch. Sadly, patchouli is an ingredient I have difficulties to handle.

    I have to go into more detailed testing ye – but yes, I agree (again) 1697 is not exactly a spring/summer scent… But it’s one of the most exciting new releases for the last 2 years (for me).

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is indeed great customer service! Good to know! But please tell me, which store in Vienna? I am curious?
      It is great you like it too, the drydown is wonderful on me, although I am no great patchouli lover, but the warmth of the ambery vanilla makes it all good for me.

  2. Ines says:

    I’m a fan of Frapins so I’m eagerly awaiting this one. 🙂 And it’s made by Mr. Duchafour – what better to recommend it?!
    Btw, I do plan on getting one of those bottles as soon as it appears in Zagreb (and it is supposed to).

    Hmmm, I seem to be contemplating purchases today all around…

  3. Tara says:

    Your review is so tempting B! I love boozy notes in perfume and am a fan of Frapin 1270 so I’m very intrigued by this. Knowing that Bertrand D. is the nose behind it makes it even worse 🙂 Is it full bottle worthy for you?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Did that come over clearly? 😉
      It is totally full bottle worthy, yes. It is a great perfume and I am sad it is only in such limited release. Although I have heard rumors that if the demand were high, they may make it permanent.

  4. Marina says:

    OMG, City of Angels, what an abomination that movie was!! 🙂

  5. Suzanne says:

    Yowza, this sounds amazing! (I *heart* davana in perfumes!) 🙂

  6. Tarleisio says:

    Oh, boy. Oh, wow. Oh, dear! Woe is me! Since I’ve recently developed a taste for boozy and complicated perfumes, I have got to try this one! (although I prefer Armagnac, myself!) It goes on the shortlist. Sensual. Rich. Perfect for Fall. What’s not to love? 😉

  7. Victoria says:

    I love these kind of rummy-fruity notes. Sounds wonderful!

  8. Flora says:

    This is a must-try for me regardless of season. Delicious review!

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  10. Jeanne says:

    Ooooooh, I can’t recall when this was first introduced, but I remember eyeing this one on and being very, very tempted! The notes are breathtaking, indeed. Ahh, the history and the romance!

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  17. deeHowe says:

    How have I not commented on this review? Get it together Dee!

    I loved this review the first time I read it, and I loved it when I read it while smelling the sample you sent— today, I posted my tribute to both yourself and the fragrance, and I’ve come back to read your review again. It’s as good as it was the first time around!

    Hugs 🙂

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  26. andrea says:

    B, I have finally made enough money to buy this perfume (from my decant ebaying) I was just worried that this might be very close to the 1270 that I already have, can you give me your opinion please? It was either this one or Serge Lutens Bois de Violette which I have smelt and quite liked though it was only a small solid sample which is not the same as the real thing. Help!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have bottles of both and while they are related, it is only a slight family resemblance like distant cousins. 1697 is darker, more sensual, a creature of the night, while 1270 is happy and content and bright in contrast. The images I used for my reviews -unrequited desire on the one hand and a happy, dancing princess at a ball at the other – still ring very true to me.

      If you are unsure, maybe another sample will help? Now that 1697 is permanent, there is no rush anymore after all.

      Oh, and never go with the Lutens wax samples, they are a lot less true to life than Mme Tussaud’s celebrities are.

  27. andrea says:

    Sorry, I ws just testing my Gravatar.

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