With powerful cat aromas circulating the house after a stray tom cat got in the house last night, I wondered what more beautiful feline perfume could possibly counteract it (at least silently, in my mind).
This heartless, but rather beautiful scent might be it.
Jean Louis Scherrer was a former ballet dancer turned Dior-trained couturier who designed fabulously expensive dresses for wives of the super-rich in the late seventies and early eighties, known especially for his lavish fur and animal prints and in the perfume world for his signature, eponymous scent – Scherrer. A dense, no-nonsense green chypre, there is something very wide eyed and cruel about this perfume, something that irks you inwardly like a cake with not quite enough sugar.
My own bottle is a vintage edition of the eau de parfum and it it occupies its own contemptuous, disdainful space. While the base of the scent is nonchalantly carnal – deeply so and quite androgynous (cedar, oakmoss – lots of it – civet, vetiver and musk with just a soupcon of vanilla, creating a powerful, almost muscular, feline sexuality), carnation and cassia purr hypnotically over fresh, indolic gardenia in the astringent, floral centre while up top – so green and conceited as to be almost unapproachable – galbanum, crushed leaves, violet, and a sharp, aldehydic hyacinth leap forth from the perfume with a clawed, unrestrained alacrity.
Unlike other green chypres – think Miss Dior, Alliage, Private Collection and the like – there is no vulnerability in Scherrer. This creature is beautiful and sensual, yes – but also insinuating, disturbing.
All photos of our own cat, Mori – which means ‘forest’ in Japanese – because that’s where we discovered her as a two week old kitten, emerging wet and frightened and with a badly injured leg from the woodland undergrowth….