Friday, December 10, 2010

Jean Desprez - Sheherazade

Secret treasure

I have a secret. It's a store, a wonderful, impossible store. A hidden gem like something right out of  a fairy tale, where treasures you've only read about sit on shelves in glorious disarray, higglety-pigglety, the rare, the mundane, the outright discontinued, vintage and reformulated, all the perfume of my dreams. I'll share the address with you some day, but for now, I'll tell you about one of the samples I found there: the discontinued Sheherazade, by Jean Desprez.

Sheherazade, the woman, was a clever Persian queen and the storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights. Sheherazade, the perfume, is a sweet, powdery oriental with a woody, base. It reminds me a bit of Caron's Bain de Champagne, but darker and more complicated. The opening is like powdered sugar with a dark bitter note that I think might be the rosewood? I could have sworn there was leather in there, but the only notes I could find, at The Perfumed Court, don't mention any.

The powdery opening warms into a spiced fruit in the heart, with some rosy carnation and dry, rooty orris. The base notes continue the sweet, woody theme of the opening with vanilla, sandalwood and resins.  Sheherazade is an interesting contrast of light and dark, sweet and bitter, floral and woods. There's enough here to keep me interested, maybe even for 1,001 nights.

Sheherazade is now on my list of perfumes to buy when I get back to my secret store. It's a bit sweeter than my normal, but I like that it's deep, resiny and woody, complicated, and just different from the modern perfumes I own.  Hopefully my magical store will still be there when I have a chance to return, and won't have vanished like a mirage in the desert.

House: Jean Desprez
Nose: ?
Notes: (From The Perfumed Court) Top notes of Aldehydic, Bergamont, and Rosewood Middle notes of Rose, Carnation, Jasmin, Ylang Ylang, Orris, and Cassia. Base notes of with notes of.... Vanilla, Sandalwood, Benzoin and Opoponax .


  1. Oh, that store sounds perfect. If I ever found something like that I dream of being closed in for the night, to have all the time in the world to explore and sniff my way through secret shelves and hidden alcoves...
    I'm glad to hear such treasure troves still exist, I hope you find everything you are looking for there.
    Sheherezade sounds really interesting, must investigate ;)

  2. It seems apt you would find Sheherazade in such a magical, secret place!

  3. I wore Sheherazade from its launch in 1983 (purchased in Harrods, London) until 1991 and I absolutely loved it. One spray made me feel so special and unique. There was nothing else like it. Not even the legendary Bal a Versailles came close. I wish I could find it again but it appears to have been discontinued. I dream of finding it on sale somewhere.....

    1. Hi Leslie. If you are ever in Kitchener Ontario, try Fritch Fragrances. He may have an old bottle somewhere.


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