CLOVES ( or, ” One tear is enough” ) …POIVRE by CARON (1954)



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I love cloves. And today I find myself really craving them. Maybe it was writing about Nuit De Noel the other day, maybe it’s the colder weather, or perhaps it’s because my chest feels a bit vulnerable today, but the searing dignity of this most aloof of spices is what I am feeling. So I am wearing some of finest cloves in my possession: Diptyque’s L’Eau de L’Eau; Caron Bellodgia parfum, and Floris’s gorgeously carnationesque Malmaison, the latter two adulterated by me to make them more spicy: two drops of ylang ylang, black pepper and clove essential oil in each, and boo ha we have what we want (I know it sounds heretical, but the Bellodgia is just too musky otherwise, and the Malmaison too polite and trust me, my sharper remix works nicely).

Still, I am not quite satisfied. And just now it suddenly struck me. What I need, in fact, is Caron POIVRE. Yes I know that it means pepper, and there are plenty of fiery, whip-cracked peppercorns lurking in the heart of that scent, along with carnations, and a fascinating, dark, miasma that wraps the wearer like a cloak, but it is cloves, cloves, cloves that this perfume really smells of – cloves regalized and embellished until they become parfum;  the vintage edition of this perfume undulating within itself in a shrouded rhythm of solitude  –  and quiet, drawn-out, heat. Divinely self-conducted and assured, Poivre is a Cruella De Vil, dressed-up excellence of spice and refined taste with a gloomed and obfuscated heart that makes you wonder if it has one, but it is that that I love – this scent is a scoundrel. Just one that is dressed like a duchess.

I have only ever had one parfum of Poivre, one bought for me online by a Japanese friend who got it for my birthday. But grateful though I was, it just didn’t cut it. Yes it was clovy (and I added even more), yes it was peppery and full of oeillet, but it was definitely not like the vintage. Too clean, too angular, too transparent, there was none of the blackness, the incorrigible, spicy contempt. Looking the perfume up online just a few minutes ago I find this











3 .oz (89ml) bottle of vintage perfume extract (ah, how I covet it), priced at $2,800. Wow. It’s not just me, then, who realises how good this scent once was, who knows that it is unique in the world of wintry spice perfumes, that there there has never been a peppercorn, or more particularly a clove bud, quite so profoundly distanced and beautiful.






Filed under Flowers

11 responses to “CLOVES ( or, ” One tear is enough” ) …POIVRE by CARON (1954)

  1. It is such a beautiful bottle…we can dream can’t we

      • Robin

        This one would be centre stage in that dream of a Beverly Hills perfume shop crammed with five and six buck vintage beauties. At $2800? Yes, dream on. I must be crazy, because looking at it and knowing it exists and I can never possess it makes me almost a bit sick to my stomach. The yearning, the yearning.

      • And yet, you know, when I have come across amazing perfumes that I never thought I would possess but then do, you realise an interesting thing about human nature- that you get used to anything and take things for granted. It would be the same with that one. The perfume would reside somewhere in the house, and you would love using it, but quickly get used to its presence. I almost like the unattainability for that reason: it remains mirage-like.

  2. Robin

    P.S. Love the read, thanks, N.!

  3. Zubeyde Erdem

    All dear blog readers and Neal I guess up to now more or less everyone has an ideas how I’m a kind of weird lady. I most talking or commenting about irrevalent this against to specific topics on this blog, sorry for that,,
    I have too many perfume bottles at home (rest of them are in Turkey now)
    I have boxes of tissues at home too. But still looking for a smell swept out my tears with a smell ( which I’m not able to hold them back)
    Looking for a mother chest. Arms you with passion, soft, gentle , unmutally uunderstand your what you need … Hug you and just says you shisss ! I’m here and you forget about rest of the world and enter another space…
    Is there any idea what kind of scent crate a magic at some despair moment?

  4. Robin

    Yes, so true that unattainability maintains the mirage, perpetuates the yearning. I can think of many vintage bottles I’ve coveted over the years, and the several of which I was fortunate enough to eventually possess – not as outrageously valuable as that three ounces of Poivre, but close enough to prove the theory – somehow just became quietly absorbed into my collection after the first flush of ownership. Oh, Neil. I love how you can take all these ideas and keep exploring them/refining them/expanding on them. Keeps things interesting here on The Black Narcissus. xoxo

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