Phaedon Paris is another “new to me” brand I found at Bloom perfumery in February. Originally established in 2011, the line was re-launched in 2013 under the helm of Pierre Guillaume of Parfumerie Générale and Huitieme Art fame. The collection has been expanded to 14 perfumes and now includes candles and home fragrances.
The compositions are mostly by guest perfumers although I’ve read that a couple have been done by M. Guillaume himself. The fragrances seek to take you on an olfactory journey through the Mediterranean and are described as smooth, refined, simple and linear. Below are mini reviews of the three I obtained samples of:
Sable Marocain (Moroccan Sand) was inspired by the Moroccan Fantasia which is an exhibition of traditional jousting on horseback performed during cultural festivals.
Notes include amber, labdanum, citruses, ginger, woody notes, cocoa, vetiver, guaiac wood and copahu balm.
The opening to Sable Marocain features a strong kick of sugar-coated amber. Very unusual but I’m not sure if it’s in a good way. Thankfully the ginger is not too strong – just a spicy warmth – and there is a suggestion of citrus peel. The cocoa is also underplayed which is a bit of a shame. A stronger chocolate note could have given this oriental a more distinctive character.
The beginning is nothing if not interesting but its development is less so. Once the sugar has evaporated, we’re left with labdanum laid over a green, murky vetiver and it now feels decidedly masculine. This is in keeping with the macho show of horsemanship that it is supposed to represent, but it’s not my thing at all. Matters improve later in the base which is pleasantly balsamic with a little smokiness.
Lentisque is named after Pistacia Lentiscus, a shrub that grows widely throughout the Mediterranean. It has a very distinctive scent and produces a resin known as mastic.
It features notes of mastic, galbanum, labdanum, woody notes, vetiver and cedar.
Lentisque is chartreuse green, starting off zingy and invigorating. A good galbanum note is always welcomed by me and there’s lots of it in the opening. I’m not familiar with the smell of mastic but apparently it has facets of pine and cedar. I definitely get a pine note from Lentisque and luckily it’s like pine needles rather than air freshener.
The dry down retains the greenness but focuses more on a nicely fuzzy labdanum and woods. All in all, it’s not too sharp the way some greens can be, but it is rather thin and one dimensional. It lacks the sparkle of a green like Atelier Cologne’s Trefle Pur or the simple sophistication of Eau de Campagne by Sisley.
Dzhari is named after a famous wind that blows through the Libyan Desert.
It features notes of Malaga wine, dates, cedar, cashmeran, sandalwood, tonka beans and accord of terracotta.
When I stuck this under the nose of Freddie from Smelly Thoughts, his instant reaction was “prune juice”. I have to say however, that this was the one I admired the the most of the three. To start with it does smell strongly like dates (or prunes) steeped in sweet wine. It’s not an accord that I find personally appealing but it is distinctive and well balanced, being not too heavy or too sweet.
Unfortunately this spicy, fruity, alcoholic stage fades to a whisper within just a couple of hours. It loses its potency and turns into a very light skin scent for the rest of the duration. However, it could be that the cashmeran musk takes over at this point and my nose can’t detect it.
After spending some time with these fragrances, I couldn’t help but compare Phaedon with my recent experience of Arquiste. They are not badly done at all but the quality doesn’t shine through the way it does with the Arquiste perfumes. They also lack the excellent staying power and projection of that brand.
I can see PG is trying to make a virtue of simplicity but I crave complexity and I don’t feel inspired to explore the line further. To be fair, this may be in part because the three fragrances I tried all had a distinctly masculine feel to them and that is a style I don’t much care for.
Have you tried any of these fragrances? Are there other perfumes from Phaedon you would recommend?