Recharge Your Batteries – Review: Parfumerie Générale Indochine N°25

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.

I thought this photo would be nicer to look at than a cell phone charger...

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

Image source:,

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Parfumerie Generale, Spicy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Recharge Your Batteries – Review: Parfumerie Générale Indochine N°25

  1. Sandra says:

    Lovely review! I fell in love with this perfume when it came out. It is so comforting and I do not get that much honey at all. Thank you for the tip with the code and password, I had no clue. Now I am going to be checking the bottles from other companies as well…you never know. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I think honey gets very much amplified on my skin. I often wish that weren’t the case, but her it is not much of a problem thankfully.
      And we have a perfume love in common again! 🙂

  2. GeM says:

    ok Birgit, so I’m going to read your review right now… I still couldn’t read anything with that photo of the handsome Guillaume….

  3. Undina says:

    “the industries prettiest perfumer” – I knew it! 🙂

    This perfume sounds very nice. I’m glad you’ve got such a thoughtful gift (it wasn’t spontaneous, was it?)

  4. GeM says:

    hmmmm…! so… there’s a Royal Jelly scent out there! veeeeeeeeeeery Interesting!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Royal Jelly – hmmm, yes that is a good comparison. 🙂

      • GeM says:

        *off the record = Package just arrived!!! everything is absolutely right disposed & safe, I’m going to pay all my attention to each them throughout the day… and many many thanks for including such amazing extra bonus samples! -,
        You made my day 😉 I’m totally delighted ….be sure that I’ll comment every one…!!

        • Olfactoria says:

          Oh, that is good to hear! I’m glad it reached you in one piece and that you are happy! 🙂

        • GeM says:

          S.O.S…. I’m totally craaaaaaaaaaaazy for Douce Amère…………………… I desperately need MORE… WTF this was discontinued?? I always knew that I was missing something, my own very central piece of the entire Lutens line….!!!
          And I have the urge for two By Kilians, too… Prelude to Love and Sweet Redemption BOTH…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. lady jane grey says:

    Your crush is completely understandable, dahling !
    The scent sounds tremendously interesting to me (generally, I like perfumes with the benzoin note). When feeling stronger again, plus the temperature outside becomes bearable for humans again I have to go and sniff.

  6. Ines says:

    Oh, good, another PG to love coupled with a nice photo (much better than re-charger, thank you). 🙂

    I did know about the Private collection password – I asked them how can one reach that so they gave me the login info, but I haven’t used mine in a while (would have to locate it first).

  7. civava says:

    My best of what I tested from this PG is Bois de Copaïba. All the others are very sheer. Nice but too sheer for my personality. And I hate Un Crime Exotique because I smell honeyed tea and I’m afraid that would happen with Indochine. I like honey and tea in their prime form but can’t stand them in perfume. Yesterday, when it was -10 degrees outside, I gave a final chance to Back to Black By Killian. It was a bit better but won’t try it again it just doesn’t work with me.

  8. arline says:

    I see, that I am going to have to start a sample collection. I don’t know just what I am getting myself into, but I would love to at least have several scents to draw from. Oh dear, I think I see a rabbit hole!!!!!!

  9. Tara says:

    I was surprised to get mostly honey from this because it’s not what I expected from reading about it beforehand. I’m wondering if I also have honey amplifying skin now.

    I love that phone charger metaphor! It’s nice that it reminds you of that lovely restful week after Christmas when everything is on hold.

    I did hear from Nick that PG is going to be at Les Senteurs soon. I may have to drag myself out of the house for that…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Just like you, I was not expecting the honey at all. But thankfully it works with the honey too. I heard that there is a PG event in London soon, consider me jealous! 🙂

  10. andrea says:

    I was just as excited getting into the private collection, little things please little minds as they say.:-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, I’ve never heard that saying, but I love it. 😀

      • Suzanne says:

        For some reason, your site (or more likely, my computer) won’t let me click on the commeting section today, but it will let me comment under your reply to someone else.

        Just wanted to say that your review and the short but absolutely scrumptious list of notes for Indochine make this sound like my idea of heaven. Honey, wood and cardamom. Could it get any better? Will definitely seek out a sample of this one. I’m glad you reviewed it, because I haven’t examined the PG line in a long time.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Strange, the commenting issue I mean…

          Your idea of heaven – would you please allow me to send you some? I know you wanted to try all you have first, but heaven shouldn’t have to wait! 🙂

          • Suzanne says:

            You’re so sweet, Birgit. I would love some! And in return, I’d like to send you some of that oud oil I mentioned yesterday. I don’t think it will take the place of Mdo Oud for you, but it’s something I think you would really appreciate smelling, as I know you love “educating” your nose.

          • Olfactoria says:

            That is way too precious and expensive, I couldn’t accept that! Really!!! Maybe a little sample of Jubilation 25 instead? I would love that! I think I might be ready for it by now. 🙂

          • Suzane says:

            Oh, I hope you can accept it, as you’ve been so good to me, and to so many other people in our fumie community, so think of it as one of the rewards for your kindness. Also, this might make you feel better: the oud oil is very viscous–similar to an attar–so the sample will actually seem quite small (but one tiny drop is all you need to get many hours of wear). Btw, this particular oud is wonderfully woody and balsamic, not at all animalic. And I’d love to put in a sample of Jubilation 25, too!!

          • Olfactoria says:

            You are wonderful, Suzanne! Thank you. xoxo
            Will prepare your package tomorrow!

  11. KathyT says:

    I need a sample of this one as I love the PG line so far. One of my favorites is L’Ombre Fauve with its wonderful snuggly amber note. I also love how sheer the jasmine is in Drama Nuui, but I also love the spicy Un Crime Exotique. Count me in as a fan girl for this line, but I need to catch up. I have not tried Indochine, Tonkamande, or the Praline one. Thank you for the wonderful review!

  12. dee says:

    Mmmmmmm… This man is a genius, and can do no wrong, so far as I am concerned! There was a time when I was buying everything I smelled (thank goodness for bottle splits!).

    I LOVE honey notes in perfume, in fact, I wish there was just a tad more in Back to Black, so Indochine will probably fit the bill perfectly!

    Lovely review B! 🙂

  13. GeM says:

    I would like to encourage bloggers: Perfume Talks on the topic PERFUME FOR PREGNANCY, please!
    I can’t find any useful information on the Internet. Instead, I find many things like: “Women warned not to wear perfume during pregnancy” and so on… and I’m a bit worried about it. 😦

    Currently the research on this matter is somewhat inconclusive. So, is perfume harmful? Or is it something you can safely enjoy during your pregnancy?
    What do you think about the question, Birgit…?


    • Olfactoria says:

      This is no medically researched response of course, but I don’t think there is any danger in wearing perfume whatsoever. I think you can wear what you feel comfortable with.
      I didn’t want to smell anything in the first few weeks (that included food!), because I felt so nauseous, but later when that phase was over I wore whatever I was in the mood for.
      I did not wear perfume in the first six weeks or so of my boys lives, since I didn’t want to overwhelm and confuse them. “Scent of Mommy” is an important factor of sensory perception in infants.

      • GeM says:

        Thanks Birgit for sharing your own experience!!! 😀
        …and when that phase was over were you in the mood for any particular scents or not? just the same as you liked before?

        I’m just a bit surprised that the internet is covering a wide range of topics, articles and blogs around Perfume… but it is such a virtually non-existent take on the concrete subject. I’m having a natural curiousity just if my day arrives, and I wonder about other perfume lovers who were pregnant or they’d like to be pregnant some day… why aren’t they saying a single word about it? well, to me it’s a mystery. It seems like some ‘Taboo’, haha! I wouldn’t stick my neck out… but I can’t imagine losing my interest in everything about perfume if my day arrives.

        • Olfactoria says:

          My interests shifted towards the baby of course, which is a normal (not least of all hormonally directed) response in pregnancy, but I certainly still wore what I wanted.

  14. Georgy says:

    Dear B! As you maybe already know, I’m totally obsessed with PG. The perfume and the beautiful genius behind. 🙂 If you read this, pg don’t worry please, I’m quite harmless…ask B 🙂 unfortunately I haven’t tried this particular scent yet, which I’m gonna change immediately….

    • Olfactoria says:

      I posted that picture with you in mind, dear G. That is customer service. 😉
      You need to try Indochine, it is lovely! And while you are at it, try Myrriad from his Huitieme Art line, hmmmm. 🙂

  15. Vanessa says:

    I need to retry this one, for though I did have it briefly on skin, I don’t remember much about it, and certainly not the honey. There again, I may have “honey toning down skin” – nothing would surprise me. : – ) And today, coincidentally, I am wearing Ambre Nuit and loving the spices in particular. For some reason I thought Indochine would be more spicy – and more bold generally – but my recall is so wishywashy, whereas you have had time to get properly aquainted. If I try Tonkamande again, I will give this one another shot!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I think it did not get the attention it deserved on that hot day in August from both of us, just too many distractions all around.
      Unbelievable – now you are starting to demand bold and beginning to reject soft and wishy-washy! Where is our Vanessa, self-appointed Queen of Bland??? And who are you? 😉

  16. Marie says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Indochine (and this picture!) with us 🙂 I own a bottle of Bois Blond but so far this is the only one that I love (the others were “only” good). Is the code and password printed on the box or really written on the sticker on the bottom of the bottle? Can’t find the log in data on my bottle… But never mind, I visited the PG homepage nonetheless and found out that they offer 30ml versions of most (all?) of their scents! Didn’t know that, did you? They are offered for only 59 EUR and although it’s still not cheap (for 30ml, that is), most of us will probably agree that 30ml of perfume is plenty. Just thought that some of the PG fans might want to know 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      The code is directly on the bottom of the bottle, in very small print.

      30ml, really that must be new! Very interesting, thank you for pointing that out. I will hop on over there asap.

  17. Warum says:

    I love this one! I think this is the first PG I seriously fell for. I smelled myrrh too, I was pretty sure, and the honey was there but not well, um, honeyed. So I loved it. I was pretty sure that I will adore Myrrhiad and just like this one, but it turned out to be the other way around. This was what I wanted Myrrhiad to be!

    So see, I actually do test some samples some time 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am awaiting my sample of Myrriad and can’t wait to compare the two.
      I can see why PG got priority service on your to try list! 😉

      • Warum says:

        Yes, some get propelled to the first places in the line. I’m sure, it tells about my preferences almost more than anything else — sometimes more than actual sampling!

  18. Warum says:

    And yes — congratulations, what a great gift to receive!

  19. Sabrina says:

    I stumbled on your blog while looking for some perfume review and I love it! Thankfully a number of the perfumes are now available in Singapore and I will take the opportunity to sniff out all you have reviewed!

  20. *Sigh* PG is so dreamy….

    I haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds lovely! I completely agree that everything he does is so smooth. Me likey.

  21. Jules says:

    You know Birgit, I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve written about our gorgeous Pierre (i.e. “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.”) ~ I feel exactly the same way. … So, after much searching, with your luv for all things “amber” and PG, it seems I may have just found my online “scent-twin”, which pleases me no end. :o) … And yes, aren’t the “hidden-in-plain-sight” codes a lovely surprise. ~ ( Thanx for the lovely reviews ! )

  22. Jules says:

    Oh and yes, the 30ml PG bottles were released towards the end of last year, due mostly to “us fumies” protestations for smaller bottles. Real nice of him to have listened methinks.
    And the smaller bottles are just so cute – I luv them. And now I may just afford a few more I’ve been pining for. ~ However what I really wish for is his deluxe set of his entire oeuvre of mini bottles. Now there is something to kill for. 😉 (LOL) … (Although I wonder if it’s still available. (??) As I no longer see it on their site. :()

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is really nice of him to listen! How wonderful!
      I’m so with you an the l’orgue, but it seems to be gone…
      Well, those small bottles are great in any case, so maybe I get Aomassai this year. 🙂

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