Thursday, September 30, 2010

P Frapin & Cie - Caravelle Epicée

Take a voyage on a spice ship

The Frapin family has been creating wines and cognac in France since 1270, through 20 generations. It may seem odd at first, that the company started a line of perfumes, but there are many similarities between Cognac and perfume. Both share a long, proud history in France; both rely on the skill and creativity of great craftsmen; and both represent the ideal of luxury and physical pleasure. Also, the quality of both depends on the quality of their ingredients. In the far history of perfume, those ingredients were often imported from far away by explorers and traders.

Caravelle  Epicée recalls the voyages of the spice trader ships of the 15th and 16th centuries. The caravel was a vessel of great importance at this time, developed in Iberia it was used by Portuguese and Spanish explorers along the west coast of Africa and in numerous voyages around South Africa in attempts to reach India. It was also used to cross the Atlantic - the Nina and the Pinta of Christopher Columbus's famous voyage to the new world were most probably caravels.

The perfume opens with a big blast of spices, like walking in the hold of a ship filled with barrels of precious ingredients from exotic lands. The spices are dry and hot, with a lot of cumin, nutmeg and pepper. I also smell smoky wood, which makes me imaging the barrels themselves and the planks of the ship. After the initial desert wind of spices, a boozy vanilla note can be detected - maybe a barrel of finely distilled spirits is on this voyage as well.

If Caravelle  Epicée stayed with those notes I would be ordering a bottle today, but alas, it does some other strange things on my skin. I want it to be a cozy cashmere blanket, and it insists on being a bracing day on a rough sea. There is a slightly sour, dill pickle note that pops up on me when I'm least expecting it. And it has a very salty quality in the drydown that, while perfectly appropriate for a sea-going vessel, is not so much what I'm looking for in a perfume.

I'd like to smell Caravelle  Epicée on a man, I think it might be amazing in a pirate sort of way. 

House: P Frapin & Cie
Nose: Jeanne-Marie Faugier
Notes: Coriander, nutmeg, hot pepper, pepper, thyme, Gaiac wood, patchouli, amber, tobacco, sandalwood


  1. I am so sorry to hear that it turns on your skin. I own a bottle of this wonder and I absolutely adore it (no dill pickle images for me).
    Btw, I read somewhere that this is termed as a masculine but I don't allow my boyfriend any spritzes, it's all mine. :D

  2. Well, that took a weird turn! I was expecting you to be in spice bliss, but up popped the pickles and brine...

    I have smelled sandalwood perfumes in the past that have a "dill pickle" scent to them. I don't know if it is from synthetic sandalwood or Australian sandalwood etc...perhaps that's what is lurking about the caravel?

  3. Hi Ines: You're not the only one who seems to adore it. I wish it suited me.

    Howdy JoanElaine: Sandalwood, eh? Good to know, I'll watch out for that and see if it happens again.

  4. LOL at "...while perfectly appropriate for a sea-going vessel..."

    I would prefer to skip the dill pickle too - I always say "hold the gherkin" on those rare occasions when I am ordering a McDonald's of last resort.

    I do quite like Esprit by Frapin, which is more of a champagne-y vibe, but cognac and woods and spices - even in a pirate sort of a way - are not calling my name! : - )

  5. Don't know this scent, but my compliments on your blog! :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.