Yves Saint Laurent has introduced "Parisienne à l’Extrême", but despite the name, this is not quite an extreme version of the first perfume featuring that strong fruity blackberry musk note, borrowed from another well known creation. "Parisienne à l’Extrême" seems to be an improved version of the first fragrance, where some inherent defects of the formulation have been corrected, including even the concentration. What seems new is the top note of the perfume where several notes have been reinforced. The violet leaf note is more present and reminds of Paris and this contrasted explosion of crushed berries & pepper has an interesting original power. Unfortunately, like in Parisienne, all the beautiful ideas are crushed down by the musky-fruity shampoo base that eats all the precious notes - the rose disappears, maybe too expensive for Parisienne. The fruity sweet facet combined with the rose evokes Yvresse and its very original champagne note created through the light overripe fruity effect. The new patchouli added to "Parisienne à l’Extrême" suggests the modern chypre (without approaching Yvresse mellow refinement) and sets apart the new creation from Parisienne. But the modern rose-plum patchouli-suede is also quite close to Rose Barbare. Do we have here a modern Parisian girl using the Guerlain perfume and washing herself with a basic fruity shampoo bottled by l'Oréal under YSL label? Parisienne has not a true identity, nor its own aesthetic statement. It's rather a collection of several accords put into a "blackberry fresh musky" ocean that helps the blending of several original notes and diluted expensive materials. It is the "method of creation" of l'Oréal and several other groups that explains the origin of this unhappy situation - perfumers present their ideas and people with poor aesthetic vision combine and decide on perfumes, brutally interfering with the author (and considering themselves part of the creation, as often said in several interviews in CosmetiqueMag last year). This "new" version of marketing did not exist 30 years ago when very few had a basic olfactory training and could ask for a perfume that smells like X and Y, but that was all. Now, every girl with a diploma, a career to pursue and a basic training in scents would consider normal to submit brief to several perfumers and later dictate on what "to take out" what "to put in" a perfume, claiming also their right as creators. It is not the desire to imitate, a very old idea, but how it was done that poisoned this industry. Smell around and you'll see what this "collage technique" is all about - a flood of unrecognizable fragrances, with no character, all smelling that "je ne sais quoi" that floats in front of a perfume shop. This is exactly the case of Parisienne - you can feel it was made through additions and not by a global vision. What those elegant career girls do not know is that a perfume is not "additive" nor "subtractive", usually a great accord is "unpredictable" and cannot be sliced down. It is only the aesthetic pursuit of an ideal combined with the constant work, experiments and above all a vision, that can bring a valuable fragrance. It is certainly not the case for Parisienne but "Parisienne à l’Extrême" is at least an improved version. Yves Saint Laurent became through l'Oréal "scent engineering" just another name in the flood of mass market fragrances and this death sentence is obvious now with Belle d'Opium.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art