30 Days of Scent, Day One: Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne

As inspired by Veggiewolf at Eating Monsters, I’m going to work my way through 30 scents in my own wardrobe and review them. I’ve been collecting for quite a while, and between bottles, decants, and samples, I’ve got more than enough fragrances to do it. Several of them don’t get much wear, though, so I’m going to see if I can make it 30 days without any repeats.

parisienne

For day one, I’ve chosen Parisienne by Yves Saint Laurent ($39-65, Sephora), released in 2009. It bears noting that mine is the original eau de parfum, not the eau de toilette that was released in 2010, which has a slightly different composition. The original concept of Parisienne was as an update to Yves Saint Laurent’s 1983 megahit Paris. I don’t want to take anything away from Paris, because it’s widely regarded as a classic, but to me, the rose accord in it is a bit screechy, and the huge projection makes it very much a product of its time.

Parisienne opens with a mix of cranberry, blackberry, and vinyl. On me, though, the fruity top notes are rather fleeting, and the vinyl exists only to give a certain edge to the rose-violet combo underneath. Typically, I’m one on whom the top notes just disappear, but with Parisienne it’s a little more subtle. The vinyl is listed as a top note right alongside the cranberry and blackberry, but while I get a few minutes from the fruity notes, the vinyl sort of hangs out in the background, quietly adding a slight edge to the floral heart.

Underneath that opening, the heart is more rose than anything, but with a distinct violet note and a hint of peony. To be entirely honest, all the peony does is give it that slight sweet lift, much like it does to the dark, ambery rose of Stella by Stella McCartney. The powdery character of the violet gives this scent a distinct “expensive makeup” vibe, like that odd half-scent, half-taste that you get in your mouth when you put on certain brands of lipstick. Parisienne holds on to its heart notes better than most; even hours later, as the woody drydown is starting to kick in, I can still smell traces of rose and powder.

The base is made up of vetiver, musk, sandalwood, and patchouli. Normally I have to be a bit careful with patchouli, but it’s not very prominent here. Instead of being the biggest note in the scent the way it is with fragrances like Chanel Coco or Thierry Mugler Angel, the patchouli almost disappears in Parisienne, there only to give it an extra boost of staying power. The most pronounced components in the drydown of Parisienne, for me, are the musk and sandalwood. By the time it gets to that stage, though, it’s been going for hours, and is pretty close to the skin.

Parisienne is a scent that to me is more contemporary-casual than dressy. It’s a jeans-and-high-heels kind of scent, one that I’d wear on a meeting-for-drinks date, but not out to dinner someplace fancy. Being a denim-and-heels kind of person, I find myself reaching for it on a regular basis, and if I had to name my top 10 out of my current collection, this would most likely be in it. I’d rate it a solid 8/10.

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