There are woody perfumes, and there are wooden perfumes. Like actors who plod their lines and distance you from any imagined reality, the latter kind of scent – modern, synthetic creations like ‘Living Lalique’, leave you (or me, at least), feeling not only bored and disinterested, but openly irritated.
On paper, from the blurb and on some tissue, this new release from the fabled crystal makers (and whose Jasmine Award statuette lives in pride of place in the glass cabinet of my parents’ living room – I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds) is quite attractive; an iris boisé, contemporary women’s creation with top notes of bergamot and the requisite pepper that cedes into the admittedly pleasant, if overly short-lived powdery, iris butter and tonka bean heart. All well and good, if rather uninspiring (does the ‘living’ of the title mean ‘living the Lalique life’? or is it referring more to a home store; plywood shelfing wrapped tightly in plastic; functional bedposts; because that’s more what I get from this perfume, a dry, generic sawdust).
The problem for me in this perfume, however, is the base. This is probably due to the fact that I loathe, and I mean just loathe, synthetic woody base molecules in perfumes – here the dreaded cashmeran, used by the bucket load as it is in so many current fragrances- harsh, blocking, and, like a voracious pac man, eating everything around it – the iris, the florals, the balsams – and leaving nothing but that flat, lifeless, wooden note that passes for sexy these days.
I might be wrong about this scent. Writers whose nose I respect seem to like it, seeing something warm, sensual, enveloping, so it is possible that I am missing something (or my cashmeran phobia makes it impossible for me to rational). For me, though, the bottle aside (lovely, obviously), from the uninspiring, DIY depot fragrance, through to the advertising campaign, featuring a spiritually dead-looking model staring out over a backdrop of ‘Paris’, ‘London’, or ‘New York’
Lalique glass pieces placed just so, each apartment as individual and lived in as a vast and empty Hilton suite, this simply isn’t living.