Rice is one of the notes I’m drawn to in perfumery. It’s unusual and I like the way it can be comforting or chic. In Champaca by Ormonde Jayne it has the aroma of basmati rice and in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Safran Troublant it’s saffron scented rice pudding.
When listed as rice powder (poudre de riz), it usually has the evocative powdery aroma of cosmetics. An example of this effect can be found in Blanc Violette by Histoires de Parfums.
Poudre de Riz by Pierre Guillaume’s Huitieme Art was launched in 2012 and features tiare, coconut milk, vanilla, rice powder, maple sap, caramel, sandalwood, iris, cedar, tonka bean, tolu balsam, benzoin and damask rose.
Proceedings begin with very sweet, rose-scented powder which for some reason makes me think of strawberries. It’s very pretty, feminine and youthful, so those with “old lady perfume fear” needn’t worry. This definitely isn’t a dated powder bomb which could bring up negative associations with great aunts.
Poudre de Riz showcases a very finely milled cosmetic powder which feels more retro than truly vintage.
It reminds me of one of those striking young women in super-cool Spitalfields, east London, who walk around perfectly made-up in 1940s-style clothes with their hair in a victory roll.
As the powder settles, it becomes soapy but only for a short time. This is more like the lather from a creamy white bar than those nose tickling aldehydic bubbles. I suspect it is actually the tiare flower (a variety of gardenia) creating this fresh and soapy effect.
Unlike most, my heart drops when I see coconut listed as a note but here the coconut milk stays in the background, adding a pleasant creaminess. The accents of tiare and coconut give it a subtle tropical vibe. You don’t quite feel like you’ve suddenly landed on a beach but it does give you that lovely relaxed, faraway feel.
Three hours in and we’re now resting on a spongy mattress of blow-torched caramel and almond flavoured vanilla. It’s a fabulous drydown which lasts for an outstandingly long time.
The inspiration behind Poudre de Riz was this line in the 1908 novel “L’Enfer” (The Inferno) by Henri Barbusse:
“The air in the disordered shuttered room was heavy with a mixture of odours: Soap, face powder, the sharp tang of cologne…”
In this section of the book a voyeur is spying on a woman having an affair in the next room at a boarding house. He watches her hastily make herself up in an attempt to hide what she’s been getting up to, just prior to a visit from her husband.
I can’t say I detect the disguised sin from the above scene in Poudre de Riz. There’s nothing “intimate” about it that I can tell. If anything, I find it rather coquettish. It’s playing at being the femme fatale but it’s really rather romantic. It does hold onto you closely, a little like being enclosed in a small, steamy room, but that’s all. I’m fine with this but if you’re hoping for the illicit aspect of the backstory you could be disappointed.
There’s something decidedly dreamy and joyful about Poudre de Riz and I can imagine that some heat would bring out the best in it. I love the later stages but the level of candy sweetness earlier on prevents it from being a must-have for me.
If you don’t think this would bother you and you’re also fond of cosmetic perfumes (such as Malle’s Lipstick Rose) and/or paradise island fragrances with a vanilla base (like Annick Goutal’s Songes) then Poudre de Riz is well worth investigating.
Do you like rice notes in fragrance? What are your favourite perfumes featuring this note?
Lipstick Rose AND Songes! Two of my go-to scents, and by Pierre Guilliame? Sign Me Up.
Every word you wrote makes this sound like exactly my cup of tea, even the sweet opening that I have finally come to love after battling the shame.
“battling the shame” LOL
This is so very you Portia and would be perfect for summer in Sydney.
ELdO’s Putain des Palaces has a good rice note. That’s another good ‘cosmetic’ smelling scent.
I really enjoyed this review, Tara. I like how we go from creamy white lather to spongy mattresses. I’ve got a sample of this one somewhere and will have to dig it out!
Dig out your sample Thomas and see what you think. A warm day would help though.
I love Putain des Palaces once that funky opening is over.
Tara, I really liked this perfume when I tried it and you make me want to revisit it soon. I have always enjoyed rice notes in perfume especially Champaca.
Sandra, I love Champaca and it’s perfect for this time of year.
Wonderful review – I especially like the images of the girl in Spitalfields with her hair in a Victory roll, and the blow torched spongy mattress! Excellent stuff.
I have tried this and I am sure I also liked it, but none of this line really grabbed me and think the opaque bottle also puts me off.
Favourite perfumes with a rice note are Amman (Annam?) – a Chinese scent – Kama by Farmacia Annunziata, ELDO Fils du Dieu and Shared Water by Michel Comte. And Ego Facto Poopoopidou (spelling and brand names of all of these are approximate!).
I know what you mean about the line, V. They’re well done but none have won me over enough for a purchase. This might have done it if not for the super sweet strawberries. That bottle definitely does not help.
Thanks for sharing your favourite rice note perfumes. Fils du Dieu is great and I really want to try Poopoo Pidoo by Ego Facto.
I’m so sad you all don’t like the bottle. I love that it’s almost all opaque meaning less light into the frag and it feels amazing in my hand, like heavy, cool, unvarnished porcelain. The bottle is another reason I love the Huitieme Art Series. Thank goodness we all have different tastes, eh?
Absolutely! I see it’s practical and I should probably handle it before making a judgment.
I’m with Portia on liking the bottle. I just need to find a perfume to like enough to buy, which isn’t easy to do since they aren’t represented in the area where I live. I saw them once at a store but was overwhelmed by that time, so I just vaguely remember liking several (the Mango one the most) but I haven’t had a chance to test any of them on skin yet.
Undina – there’s a mango one? Will have to look that up. Hope you get another chance to test them or they come to your area soon.
I also love the bottle. Generally I like clear glass, but the porcelain reminds me of the feel of beach glass. Porcelain softened by water pouring over it for years.
Nancysg, I have a feeling it’s supposed to resemble some kind ancient artefact but I could be making that up. Will Google.
The website calls the bottle “A futuristic, white, ceramic-looking Cyclops” so guess I couldn’t be more wrong!
Definitly the best in the HA line IMO and one of the best cosmetic powderfrags. However I appreciate Putain des Palaces a bit more, I like the intriguing dirty wibe of it.
I haven’t tried anywhere near the whole line but not surprised to hear you think Poudre de Riz is the best.
I wish I could cope with the dirty vibe of Putain des Palaces. I doubt I will ever get there but the rose/violet powder underneath is just gorgeous
You have a knack for finding perfumes that sound great that I haven’t tried yet. As you know, I’m a big fan of lots of PG scents, so I’ll have to give this one a try. Great review!
That’s lucky! This one might suit you well if you can deal with the very sweet opening.
Thanks for the beautiful review, I don’t think I’ve come across too many rice scents, perhaps because I tend to avoid obvious gourmands. The powder in this one really sounds wonderful, even if the candy sweetness that you write is hard for you, probably would be a drawback for me too. I do like Myrrhiad in HA, and would definitely try PdR if I came across it.
I think if you do come across it, it would be worth seeing if you can tolerate the opening sweetness because it is really great after that and I think it could suit your style.
I like Myrrhiad too.
To me – although the notes are different – Poudre de Riz is a bit similar to Joop’s Le Bain. The latter doesn’t list rice but it smells ricy and I prefer it to PdR because it’s more distinctive. PdR to my nose is nice but undecided.
My favorite perfume with rice is ELdO’s Fils de Dieu.
Fils de Dieu is great. I love it in the summer heat. I’ll have to see if I have enough left to write a review.
I haven’t heard of Le Bain but thanks for the tip.
Your descriptions of this perfume are terrific, Tara – all of them so evocative. You make it sound so pretty, and I love the line where you say it’s playing at being the Femme Fatale but is really very romantic.
I do like a rice note in perfume, even if I’ve only ever encountered it a couple times: with the perfume you mention at the start of your post (Blanc Violette, which is very pretty) and, though it’s not a listed note of Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant, I get a whiff of rice amid the other very complex smells of that one.
Thanks for the lovely compliment Suzanne. Poudre de Riz really is very pretty. I wish there were more perfumes with rice/rice powder.
I think Kenzo Amour has rice in it so it may well be in Jungle L’Elephant too. I trust your nose in any case.
Not in perfumeland, but Kenzoki has a whole body and face line perfumed with and composed of rice. Amazing products, plus I just love that it is their sensual line! The body cream is especially good and comforting in winter. For me rice smells like home.
How lovely that rice smells like home for you.
Thanks very much for letting us know about Kenzoki. I’d love bath products with rice.
The rice body scrub is nice, but if you like long hot bath, their best product is a white lotus powder, makes the water completely opaque and leaves your skin soft and it is a very relaxing scent. I am counting the days before i get a bathtub again…
Poor you. I couldn’t cope without a bath. I love long, hot baths and the white lotus powder sounds divine.
I lived in many different places and sadly a lot of them didn’t have a bathtub. At one stage I bought a wooden japanese bathtub, it was huge and great, i needed to warm up 4 kettles and bought huge pans to boil water just for it. Now on a third and my original continent, i am finally getting a bathtub and am soooo excited about it!
The white lotus powder is divine, and many other products of this clever type exist in Japan, maybe a question for Neil from the Black Narcissus!
Congratulations on finally getting your bathtub! I bet the novelty won’t wear off for a while. I can’t believe you had one of those huge wooden Japanese tubs. That’s amazing. What a luxury (apart from all the filling of course).
I remember reading about bathing products like Japanese bath grains etc. Neil would be all over this I’m sure!
I loved your review Tara, beautifully written. I don’t get any ‘sin’ either but still love it for its gorgeous powdery quality and like you, love the rice not too. Saffran Troublant another favourite, glad you love it too.
I’m glad not to get the sin really as I find skank hard to deal with most of the time.
Beautiful review. If you keep testing this perfume, you’ll end up with a bottle ;- )
I don’t have any particular feelings about the rice note but I can tell that I liked both perfumes that you’ve mentioned – Champaca and Blanc Violette.
Thanks, Undina. I wish I could cope with the strawberry sweet opening because then I would buy a bottle (like it or not!) for sure. I just can’t justify the cost if I don’t love a perfume all the way through.
I just adore Champaca. I really need to spend some time with Blanc Violette.