All Black Narcissus readers know that I have a deep love for the floral aldehydics of the 1970’s. With the mossed introversion of musks and woods born in silver; flowers, citruses and green notes eternalized through aldehydes; preserved, for me these perfumes – Calandre, Rive Gauche, First, Bleu De France, Tamango and many others, have a beautifully yin inscrutability; an ‘underplayed’ energy to them that is cryptic: cool, emotionally. Urbane and distant, with a clear discernment – such perfumes need impeccable clothing and presentation; troubling, they plant seeds of sexual enigma in the mind of the person who follows in their trail. The warmth will come later.
Shiseido’s ‘Rivage’ – lake shore, or river bank in French – is a long discontinued perfume, still available for extortionate prices at rare vintage websites by the millimetre – close to Calandre, as well as Rive Gauche (even in name, this is obviously a Japanese homage – Shiseido has often taken on popular French classics and created domestic equivalents – Concerto = Jean Patou 1000, Murasaki an outtake of No 19), sometimes softening them for local tastes – but not with Rivage. If anything, this is sharper, more potent (in the edp that I am wearing today); the rose oxides, the hyacinth, galbanum and jasmine cassis; the iris, the ambergris and sandalwood a protectant, self-insulating hideaway; a house from another time. The silence of a white bedroom. The pure solitude of material being.