A year-round comforter that is both easy and intricate, rich and wearable, Sacrebleu is one of the long-time friends in my perfume closet. It has its place there, but the awful bottle has kept me from getting more than a decant.
(I know, I am shallow to the bone, but wouldn’t you say that Parfums de Nicolai could profit immensely from an image overhaul? Many brands invest too much in presentation and marketing, Nicolai does too little. Those great perfumes deserve fitting surroundings to thrive. Side rant over.)
Sacrebleu was created by the line’s founder Patricia de Nicolai (great-granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, niece of Jean-Paul Guerlain, by the way) in 1993 and includes notes of black currant bud, peach blossom, jasmine, tuberose, vanilla, tonka bean and incense, as Luckyscent informs us. The Parfums de Nicolaï website has a slightly different notes list: mandarin oil and red fruits in the top, carnation, tuberose, jasmine and cinnamon oil in the heart and a base of frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, peru balsam, and tonka bean absolute.
Sacrebleu is an expression of surprise or wonderment in french, something like “Good Lord!” or “Holy Smokes!” (one of my personal favorite American expressions btw).
Sacrebleu starts extremely loud and tuberose-y on me, so much so, that I almost hated it on contact, but then it changes, rapidly. This first unfriendly blast only lasts a minute or two and then Sacrebleu‘s true character comes to the fore. A sweet, softly fruity warm oriental, plushly done with a broad and comfortable base of incense and balsams and tonka bean. It could be mistaken for a Guerlain any day.
As I said the top notes of Sacrebleu are strange on me, I get mostly tuberose (and we know how I “love” that!) and not a lot of the alleged fruit, but as soon as it calms and settles on my skin within minutes, I am smack in the middle of that lovely broad-backed base already, full of yummy tonka, smoky incense and creamy sandalwood. There is a hint of spicy, clove-y carnation and cinnamon to keep things interesting, but Sacrebleu is all about the base.
Sacrebleu is a grand perfume, a rich and satisfying composition, but it is not terribly heavy or overpowering. It reminds me of several Guerlain’s, like Shalimar Ode à la Vanille or L’Heure Bleue, but it is easier to wear than the others. Maybe a bit more relaxed, less dressed up and elegant and well-mannered.
Maybe because the legacy it has to carry is not as heavy.