Furred; reciprocated. Dense with rich, dimensionality.
Subsumed; proffering up sun-dipped, velveted flowers; spices, balsams, and a filthily indecorous lick of costus – Fille D’Eve, in vintage extrait, comes as something of an overtly erotic shock in the usually held back politeness of the Nina Ricci pantheon.
Costus, a rudely animal-smelling note in fact of plant origin, is often compared by perfumists to the smell of unwashed hair (a smell I can’t endure personally but can understand the compassionate human magnetism of). As a perfume ingredient, however, it is a note I have sometimes loved very much when used in the warm, subliminal undertones of such sensual scents as pre-reformulation Kouros, Cabochard, Parfum D’Hermes, and perhaps most effectively, Vol De Nuit.
Without this anchoring, lustfully invisible lower layer, the above perfumes seem to fall apart at the seams when you smell the versions that have been ‘cleaned up’: as though the ingredient, when utilized carefully, is the part of the vital fundament that is holding the scent together.
Here, in Fille d’Eve, it is used in really quite shocking amounts. An absolute overdosage from deep within the scent that just gradually creeps up on you; undercutting, taking the perfume from behind.
On application to the skin, a plethora of other perfumes immediately arise up to me. Femme; Mitsouko, Mystere for a certain dank forestedness, even Chamade for a moment, for its classical, beating heart. We are most definitely in the realm, here, of the Majestically Classical Perfume.
Fille d’Eve surpasses all of them in carnality, though. Once she blooms, and oh how she blooms, this product of ‘original sin’ – the act in her very DNA – we simultaneously realize that while this perfume is undeniably and unabashedly carnal, somehow, just, the usual Ricci decorum is maintained. The perfumer, (Richard Hy, author of such beautiful classic perfumes as Ivoire, Calandre, and Rive Gauche), ingeniously, if quite provocatively, somehow managed to deftly combine, in his gorgeous composition, an exquisitely complex bouquet and arpeggio of notes that while suggestive, and seductive (to say the very least!) still remain dignified, mysterious – and very beautiful.
23 responses to “IN THE GARDEN OF ORIGINAL SIN: : FILLE d’EVE extrait by NINA RICCI (I956)”
So thrilled this had such a glorious effect on you. I am wearing it today also and as I have said many times, to many people, this is definitely in my top 5 fragrances ever; if not my favorite, which it just might be.
I love how you picked up on the cistus note, so fabulously executed in this scent, which is one of my favorite ingredients in fragrances. I guess I really am a dirty girl, at least fragrance-wise these days 😉
This scent truly does manage to be completely subversive, yet thoroughly composed and dignified at the same time. It is the fragrance equivilent of a lady who lunches, but who has a deviant side underneath all her polished WASPy ness.
I wish this scent were more lived, yet at the same time I am so happy it is not too well known.
Oh, almost forgot to mention how glorious the bottle is; a perfectly molded Lalique Crystal apple, with a leaf/stem for a stopper.
Thank god you liked this review. I got total silence from it and thought I had overdone it in some way, even though when I read it back it captured what I wanted.
It is a stunning scent. I would love to smell it on a live woman.
I am very curious why no one else commented on this. I thought it was exceptionally well done and really captured the essence (pun not intended) of this amazing scent.
All I can say about how it smells on me, seeing as I always draw out the naughty bits in a scent, is that it is truly beyond the pale of many other scents. It takes on an aura and surrounds me in this rich, floral, spicy, carnal sillage that is just breathtaking. I wonder how a Japanese woman would feel if she were to wear this? Would she find it to vulgar? Or would the floral notes be enough to make it slightly interesting?
I do tend to wonder these things, especially with my adoration/passion towards Japan; not to mention my curiosity about it also.
I do hope some others will pipe in with a reply or two.
Autocorrect never wants me to type *loved for some reason.
Damned autocorrect * too
Portia is sending me some of this. Excited. xxx
The parfum? It is really quite something. The way it MORPHS….
Sorry I missed this review, Neil. I took some time away from the internet after my parents died, which I wrote about recently in response to another more recent post of yours so enough said (until the next cathartic howl. Sorry not sorry.)
I just want to say that I am a dedicated reader, and I am always in awe of your writing, and what you choose to illustrate it. What you achieve is transcendent and I am so grateful for what you do. You have inspired me and illuminated my life in many ways. I suspect this is the case with other readers, and perhaps like me, they are silent at times as the moment is complete. We are just basking in the glory, astonished and replete.
Wow. I doubt that is the case, but thank you anyway.
I am aware that I do sometimes put these pieces up and some of them get very little response (and the whys and wherefores of how certain things get read or commented on more than others definitely intrigues me).
This one I was pleased with, and it just passed by without notice – probably because the perfume is so obscure – but I am glad it has resurfaced this week.
Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus.
Can’t believe I missed this first time around.
Oh, god, Fille d’Eve sounds magnificent. Just my kinda thing. Never heard of it until now, although can’t imagine why, since you mention it in the context of such illustrious company:
“On application to the skin, a plethora of other perfumes immediately arise up to me. Femme; Mitsouko, Mystere for a certain dank forestedness, even Chamade for a moment, for its classical, beating heart. We are most definitely in the realm, here, of the Majestically Classical Perfume.”
I would love to smell straight-up costus. I can never isolate it in a composition, never seems to factor in when I’m parsing a fragrance: I’ve never thought, Ah, there’s that dirty hair smell again. And yet lots of things I adore have it in their DNA, from what you’re saying. Hmm. I thought I knew Vol de Nuit inside and out, but clearly I’ve got some learnin’ to do!
Love the art you chose.
I will probably never, ever smell Fille d’Eve. Pity. You really make me want to.
On the other hand, when a perfume reminds you of so many others but doesn’t QUITE have its own song to sing, it makes it slightly less desirable.
I would love your take on it though. Raunchy but supreme, if you know what I mean.
As for costus, I have never smelled it in the raw either, but present day Vol De Nuit is so macho and angular without it; the original is a dream, the new one is pixelated, and I think it might be the costus. Kouros has a similarly creamy skin quality ( and is as suggestive and bodily as Fille D’Eve).
You would never do a Perfumed Court sample or anything like that? Your reply has a terrifying finality to it.
Jeez, I think I’d prefer the macho and angular Vol de Nuit you’ve experienced to the sexless, spineless bottle of the modern stuff I’ve tried.
Raunchy but supreme. I do know what you mean. Does sound compelling. And I do know what you mean about those fragrances that don’t quite have their own song to sing. Less desirable is a good thing if one has little hope of getting one’s paws on a bottle. Ah, Perfumed Court, et al. Unfortunately, shipping from the US to Canada is prohibitively pricey. A $6.95 sample (.5ml) of Fille d’Eve from Surrender to Chance (a little speedier than TPC) involves a $19.95 flat rate minimum shipping fee. Gadzooks. Fille d’Eve would have to be another Fly Me to the Moon to get me to move on that one. Although if I bought a few more samples of some other vintage beauties, it might be worth my while. Certainly food for thought, dear N. Thank you.
Meanwhile, I hold out hope that the lovely Marlene from our summer flea market in Gibsons can find a wee bottle for me for her usual $5-15 pittance. I shall make inquiries. Finality? No, my dear N. I NEVER say never.
Oh, and just remembered. Canada Customs prohibits the shipping of “dangerous” goods, including fragrance (alcohol, you know; a half ounce can take a plane down, apparently!?) through the usual mail routes, so it’s got to go FedEx, etc. which costs a fortune. (I’ve taken my chances with the regular mail and my parcels have been confiscated at the border. Ridiculous.) AND then the taxes/duties on top of that, which the decant folks aren’t responsible for, of course, but the consumer is. I’m remembering now because I quite recently got a 30ml bottle of the gorgeous Nostalgie from Sonoma Scent Studios along with some other lovely tidbits from Laurie (she hates the whole situation, too) and it cost me something like $75 in shipping and duties!! I’m going into some detail here in case there are Canadians reading. Darlings, caveat emptor!
Speaking of Laurie, she tells me she’s had to evacuate from her home in Sonoma County because of those terrible wildfires. I do hope she returns to find everything as she left it. Such a scary, heartbreaking situation there.
Terrible news. I hope she is ok, and her excellent perfumery.
Even if one has never experienced these fragrances, the photos on this post are absolutely amazing.
I chose pictures that were erotic, yet somewhat pure. Glad they pleased the eye!
I hunted down a vintage parfum of this after reading Barbara Herman’s book. Perhaps the only fragrance to make me blush just a little.
.. even thy decadent self? I wasn’t lying then!
This sounds absolutely amazing. I love vintage Kouros (was wearing it yesterday, and now, after reading this gorgeous review, will probably wear it again today. I mush search for this one. Beautiful writing. Thank you.❤️
Thankyou. Obviously we are talking Adam and Eve here – this scent is rather womanly, but they do share that sensual splendor
I bought the Bruno Fazzolari discovery set, and I believe I can isolate the costus note in Room 237. I found it overweening tipping into gross, but that scent is an intentionally icky avant garde fragrance based on Kubrick’s The Shining. My husband was repelled (so a successful artistic statement).
I haven’t tried Vol de Nuit, but I have tried Papillon Dryad, which is said to be linked. Herby rabbit fur, very nice. I think you probably have to go indie (or vintage) for animalics these days.
Some of those Fazzolaris are impressive.