Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Robert Piguet - Fracas
House: Robert Piguet
Nose: Germaine Cellier
Notes: Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Hyacinth, Green notes Middle: Tuberose, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Lily of the valley, White iris, Violet, Jonquil, Carnation, Coriander, Peach, Osmanthus, Pink geranium Base: Musk, Cedar, Moss, Sandalwood, Orris, Vetiver, Tolu balsam (from Basenotes)
I'm very definitely a woman and I enjoy it.1
As a baby, beginning perfumista, I don't have the chops to review this perfume. Fracas is a classic, the ur-tuberose, the famous big sexy white floral. For a great review, see Chandler Burr in the New York times. But I am going to explore a couple of tuberose fragrances from my collection in this journal (I already talked about Vamp à NY) and I can't do that without mentioning Fracas.
Fracas was first released in 1948. It was developed by Germaine Cellier, one of the first prominent female perfumers. In her career, Cellier created perfumes for Robert Piguet, Pierre Balmain, Nina Ricci, Balenciaga, Hermés, and Elizabeth Arden.
Most of my perfumes I would classify as unisex but Fracas is definitely a woman - she is the Marilyn Monroe of perfumes. Although Marilyn famously wore Chanel No. 5, I would have put her in Fracas.
Fracas starts with a bright orange blossom note but the darker diva, tuberose, joins in quickly and she doesn't go away for a long time. Tuberose is a thick, heady floral - both sweet and a little skanky. It's literally carnal smelling with aspects of sex and meat. It sometimes has a whiff of rubber to it, or menthol/camphor. Tuberose, for me, also sometimes smells like bubble gum (which was very powerfully present for me in Vamp à NY.) The tuberose in Fracas is joined by jasmine and gardenia. Like tuberose, both these white florals have a similar indolic/fleshy side to their sweetness.
Fracas has a little of that camphor smell in the first few minutes but keeps the bubblegum to a minimum. Still, it's a very sweet perfume. In some ways, it's a candy-like floral yet it's also more complicated than you think at first. There are depths to this dame. As I mentioned before, it has excellent lasting power, eventually fading down to a tuberose and smooth iris.
Fracas was re-released in 1998 and my bottle was purchased just this year. I have no idea how the vintage smells compared to the current. This perfume has big "sillage" so be careful about wearing it on an airplane. It also lasts and lasts - right through a shower sometimes. One spray is enough to channel your inner Marilyn Monroe all day long.