I have been circling Parfums MCDI for a while, not approaching for reasons of price as well as the fact that no single scent really spoke to me, from reading about it alone. Until La Belle Hèlène that is.
It is probably mostly the fact that it is a Duchaufour creation, which ups my interest factor at all times, but the review at Bois de Jasmin, likening La Belle Hèlène to Traversée du Bosphore particularly piqued my interest back then. Not because I loved Traversée du Bosphore so much, but because I did not. Another Duchaufour fragrance, this time for L’Artisan Parfumeur, Traversée du Bosphore was lovely in theory and I also rather like the candle (see my review here), but the perfume turned into a loukhoum festival on my skin that I could not stand, although I liked the idea behind the scent.
Created in 2010 by Bertrand Duchaufour, La Belle Hèlène includes notes of pear accord, aldehydes, tangerine, lime blossom, rose essence, osmanthus absolute, ylang-ylang, orris butter, hawthorn, Mirabelle plum, myrrh, vetiver, patchouli, cedar, amber, oak moss absolute, white musks, sandalwood and licorice wood.
La Belle Hèlène starts out smelling like a sweet pear, juicy and just a bit tart. The base clamors from the depths right away, and a sumptuous, sweet and powdery almost-gourmand base it is. In between the pear and the powder, rose and osmanthus are sitting pretty, surrounded by a tiny hint of overripe banana-esque ylang-ylang and juicy plum. The base is a dark mossy-green leather, old and well-used, soft and smooth but durable and hardy.
This is not a happy scent, La Belle Hèlène is rather dark and shadowed. It evokes the idea of being heavy, but isn’t. It evokes the idea of being sweet, but isn’t. La Belle Hèlène is complicated and contradictory, but that makes it interesting and not easy to place.
La Belle Hèlène is an abstract gourmand that treads the exact middle ground between yummy and perfume-y. Just how I like it. It is comforting, but sensual, soft and powdery-smooth. It is sensual and maternal, it is reminiscent of both bedroom and kitchen.
La Belle Hèlène is all woman.
I used this image for its smooth perfection, the face of a mythical woman who inspired a bloody war and meant death for many. Although the cold stone belies the power and the passion of this woman, the perfume breathes her warmth and strength.
La Belle Hèlène has fantastic staying power, it is fairly linear and is with me for the entire day. Were it not for the investment factor, I’d put it on my list, being as it is, I cherish my sample, but use it, not squirrel it away for hard times, it deserves to be worn, it asks to be worn. I won’t cry my eyes out if it is gone, but I’ll sigh deeply and hope for fate to bring another sample to my doorstep at some point in the future.