I have lost my sample of this perfume. On the day it arrived, I was anything but in a state of luxe, calme and volupté. So I thought I would save it instead for the weekend, putting it aside in some now forgotten place. Prior to this scurrying away, however (my curiosity getting the better of me, as it always does), I had sprayed semi-voluptuous amounts of the scent vial onto some of the crepe tissue paper that accompanied the package; and secreted those away in a box.
On the dark rainy day in question, getting ready for work, in stark, rational mode of mind, slow, insinuous trails of Francesca Bianchi’s newest scent kept finding their way to me through the room like sweating, erotic tendrils.: I was aroused, distracted. This perfumer really thinks long and hard about her base accords – unusual in these olfactory times of shallow superficiality – which are unusually rich and long-lasting on skin; addictive.
The new Baudelairean episode – a poem taken from the nineteenth century poet’s langoruous anthology Les Fleurs Du Mal, is presumably provoked by a much longed for (and needed) sinking into the self; the pleasures of the senses and interiority, the privacy of sex, after all the haemorrhaging neuroticism and angst of this last year in which we bled out like water into the cold realities of the greater world. A refuge in sensuality and the re-discovery of the body, Luxe is an opoponax-sandalwood kissed through with benzoin and iris, sungolden ylang; vetiver, and tropical fruit; the frank carnality of the blend, in its later stages, taking me back to some of the the 80’s and 90’s amber/resinous white flower divas such as Jean Patou Sublime, or the original Moschino Moschino : : buttery temptresses arranged on white furs.
I was ‘troubled’ the very second I first smelled this blend – even though I was ironing my shirt at the time and thinking about grammar. Something about it goes straight – simplistically – to the pleasure centres – even if the prolonged and dusty bitter hiss of the green tangerine/ galbanum and hyacinth opening accord, which I was less keen on – vines of cold fire reminiscent of the harsh, petrolic ginger notes in some mid-period Goutals such as Un Matin D’Orage, will prove jarring for some. Bianchi seems to really be urging you to settle in with this one; breathe in the full vista; the dawn vapours of a tropical island, steam rising up from the poisonous undergrowth – – she wants us to take our time.
As I said, I haven’t yet tried this on skin – because I can’t find the perfume. But I have my instincts about these things, and I have no doubt that on many people, especially certain women, this rich and dense luscious scent will – due to, or in spite of, the glaring tropes of its sun-tanned, dangling gold/white-open bloused femme fatalisms – prove sexually irresistible.