Pineapples were thrust into the public limelight by Japanese comedian Pikotaro with his novelty single ‘Pineapple Pen’ in 2016, In perfume, the fruit was popularised earlier in Creed’s macho superhit Aventus (2010), which took quite an original accord of sharp and sweet, rasping pineapple blended with apple, dry birch and a whole load of other ingredients, creating a whole new modern and athletic trope for masculinity that differs from the classical fougère. Pineapple is definitely in.
Pineapple is my favourite fruit. I am sometimes known as Mr Pineapple at school I am seen eating it so often. I also collect them, buying a silver one recently from a silversmith in the centre of Phnom Penh. Well known as a panacea (a pineapple a day keeps the doctor away, as long it isn’t tinned or canned : I only eat it fresh), the acidic sweetness and tang as the ananas comosus sears through the body, tightening corpuscles and galvanizing the fruit brain – for me this is the best thing to eat in the evening between classes; all of my senses are revitalized : alert.
The problem with pineapple, delectable though it may be, is that it often makes what you eat afterwards taste horrible. Almonds become bitter and twisted; all savoury flavours are distorted. The saliva-changed chemical aftertaste stays: an acridity. This can also happen when pineapple is used in perfumery: although I enjoy it in the weird, green opening of the peculiar, jungle fresh lianas of the indolic floral Fleurs D’Ombre Jasmin Lilas by Jean Charles Brosseau; the plum pineapple lip gloss of Guy Laroche’s rich, discotastic Clandestine; in Rochas’ bizarre hazelnut pineapple Poupée, the note is distasteful and jarring combined with tuberose. Demeter’s Pina Colada is just ludicrous, like drunken amorous teenage vomit after a 15 year old girl’s birthday party, Histoires De Parfum’s 1804 (an unctuously pitch black scent filled with pineapple and patchouli) in the opening impression is suffocating, like being trapped in the hold of a tropical cargo ship in the dark, sweating next to the crates dressed neck to toe in a weighty velvet dress shivering with malaria. L’Artisan’s Ananas Fizz fizzles out too quickly; the same perfume house’s Deliria is a scream but I must be in the right mood for its eerie metallic vanilla (Other Pineapples: well, taking a look I see that Fragrantica has literally about a hundred pineapple-touched fragrances in its database,including Pineapple by D + G; Be Layered Insane Pineapple; Fruttini Pineapple Prosecco; Ganache Parfums’ Pineapple Daiquiri; Victoria’s Secret Pineapple Blast – which sounds like some kind of cathartic colonic irrigation, or else a horrifying trip to the bathroom after too many pineapple cocktails; Demeter Fragrance’s Hotkiss Girly Girl; Carol’s Daughter Mango Mélange, and Nina Ricci Les Monstres de Nina Ricci Luna; even Ricci have clambered aboard the Pineapple Express: Madame Ricci must be spinning in her tomb like a Hawaiian pizza).
One combination I would have never imagined pineapple working is in a balsamic, very replete, cow-dungy oud context. And yet for some reason, of Spirit Of Dubai’s sumptuous Discovery Set, Oud was the one I found myself setting aside for a future possible evening out. Though almost disgracefully filthy at first – I would never put this on in the environment I was going to, lest someone imagine I was suffering from dysentry, but at home an hour or so beforehand, just to be safe: on me, the crisp top accord of pineapple, lime, saffron and pine forms a good counterbalance to what smells like real, decaying essence of Indian agarwood underneath, smoothed with sandalwood, saffron and patchouli, the whole coalescing into a scent that has a certain noble noteworthiness (this also costs around 850 dollars for a full bottle).
Another very dressy and androgynous perfume, also expensive (but well constructed), is Orion by Tiziana Terenzi, always a full-bodied maker of baroquely ornate Italian, liquorous perfumery like the glinting and well regarded Oud Rose Gold, a house that usually does the proper head note to base chord progression of classical perfumery ( I will be reviewing Casanova on a later date), and lasts for hours on the skin. Orion is a very scintillant, peppery chypric wood patchouli with fresh top notes of pineapple, apple, red currant and birch (after Aventus, one presumes: this goes well on a man’s skin, quite intriguing), the gilded fruit opening effective and bracing with a lingering drydown that is quite stylish, with a curious sillage. In the coming winter months I can imagine reaching for this and seeing where the day takes me.
For a more eye-popping pineapple that would also work well as a flesh-baring evening perfume, if it just happens to work well on you personally (this is a very acquired taste that to me smells like ripe slices of pineapple placed next to a dark chocolate brownie in a clear plastic lunchbox), Pas Encore Nommé (‘not yet named), is a very original and attention grabbing scent with strange interior angles like 80’s architectural geometry, dense and vanillic sweet. If you like your pineapple up front, rather than fritillated on the edges, this is probably the pineapple to pick – although all three of today’s selections should not be oversprayed in the presence of true gagging pineapplephobes (I know at least two personally). Otherwise, I just say – VIVE L’ANANAS !