Le Printemps de la Beauté is a treasure trove of wonderful designer and niche perfumes. Located on the Boulevard Hausmann near the Opèa, this perfume department in one of Paris’ grand old department stores is a must-visit for perfume fanatics such as myself.
One of these niche brands is from the designer Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan. Her 2007 collection features seven unique eaux de toilette, each with its own story. She likens her yearly collection of perfumes to the annual collections of new dresses or jewelry made by designers.
Here they are:
- Amande Honorable (feminine) Floral/woodsy musk; linden blossom, sugared almond, and notes of clean linen and musk
- Berbériades (feminine) Spicy/Oriental; Citrus fruit top notes, jasmine, wood, oriental notes and spices
- Embruns d'Ambre (feminine) Floral aquatic; aquatic notes, solar notes, and ambergris
(side note: while my French is passable, I often need help in fine-tuning translations of perfume ingredients. One of my teenaged sons, having worked his way through a few years of high school Spanish, introduced me to the freetranslation.com website. It is very helpful for simple words, but the translation of longer sentences can be confusing, if not downright hilarious. For instance, this is the translation I received for the ingredients in Embruns d'Ambre:
A fragrance mixing the odor océane to the one of the gray amber that floats to the surface of the oceans. This is a low-fat, foamed amber…..!?!!Mmm, low-fat foamy amber... But I digress…
- Le Pot aux Roses (feminine) Floral rose-violet; green top notes, violet and rose middle notes on a white musk and powder base.
- Tobacco Mucho (masculine) Woody/aromatic; notes of frosted lemon; burned wood; and tobacco leaves.
- Un Thé au Sahara (feminine) Citrus/aromatic; mint; tea; spices; precious woods
- Voleur de Ciels (masculine) Woody/chypre; mint, jasmine, gasoline, leather
Of the seven, I chose Voleur de Ciels to purchase. I was in a bit of a hurry, which is never a good thing when buying fragrance. It was also very hot and crowded in the department store at the time of my selection. I was probably hungry, too. And the list of perfume notes was not readily available to me. Which is a roundabout way of admitting that I made a mistake…
When I first applied it, all I could smell were the mint and jasmine notes, which were quite nice. But the dry down awhile later left me surprised and a little stunned. When I finally discovered the notes, I had to laugh. Really, gasoline, on moi? It is described as smelling both of a man and a plane. And here’s the kicker: of all the fragrances I tested in Paris, this one has the longest staying power, hands-down. Truly, it lasts hours and hours, which is all the more devastating because fragrances typically last about 15 minutes on me.
In retrospect, I should have bought the Le Pot aux Roses. It was light and flowery with just the right amount of powder. These fragrances are available in Paris at Printemps de la Beauté. Cost: 60 euros for 30 ml eau de toilette; 80 euros for 50 ml. For more information, please go to the Printemps website.
UPDATE: The new Parisian perfume boutique, Evody, also carries Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan. The address is 63 rue Saint-André des Arts 75006 Paris. Telephone is: 01 55 42 06 54