Nino Rota’s music filled the theater in rolling swells of Italian grandeur. The camera followed a young man though the ornate room of Sicilian palace as he made his way and his goodbyes to the family who lived there. With a final farewell to the dour Concetta he hopped into a buggy and road off as the camera rose high over the gardens of the palace of Prince Don Fabrizio Salina. That was the first time I ever saw him and I knew at thirteen that I had just seen the most beautiful man in the world. The film was Visconti’s masterpiece, “The Leopard” and the young man was Alain Delon.
(Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo 1963)
My parents were bored with the epic film and somewhere in the middle of the film we committed movie sacrilege and left the theater, very much against my will because the film and Alain Delon had captured my imagination. I would see him again and very soon.
I found him again in the dark of the Fox movie palace in Riverside. He was a gigolo boy toy in the delightful “The Yellow Rolls Royce”, And the following year there he was in the epic war film “Is Paris Burning?” He even did a western, “Texas Across The River”. He was magic in French and Italian but the Americans didn’t know how to use his unique abilities when they turned their CinemaScope lenses on him. He was more or less just required to be beautiful as the camera dollied to a heart stopping close-up.
So to really enjoy his acting gifts I had to go to the little “Foreign” movie house behind the old Fox Theater. There He was in Antonioni’s haunting “L’eclisse”, He stunned us as the deadly American who stole a rich boy’s identity in “Purple Noon” the first version of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” Then the brilliant and tragic “Rocco and His Brothers” sealed his fate as a talent to be reckoned with.
(Rocco E I Suoi Fratelli 1960)
“Borsolano” a gangster film set in 1930’s Marselles followed and the dangerous and beautifully stylized “Un Flic.” But perhaps his most famous role was as the Parisian hit man Jef Costello in the gorgeous film “Le Samourai” It is no surprise then that in later years when Delon began is foray into fashion and perfume he should create Samourai as his most famous signature scent.
The opening of Samourai is so sharp and crisp is seems almost to make the sound of a steel samurai sword as it is pulled in one swift motion from its scabbard. This Oriental perfume has a spare elegance in its notes, almost like a beautiful Japanese flower arrangement. The opening of pink pepper and cedar on paper is soft but on the skin it is sharp wood and a hint of the medicinal. This is almost like a preparation for the skin, a cleansing for what is to follow.
Slowly the flowers are arranged and it is indeed a masterful Japanese design of the florals and citrus. A sumptuous rose is the center around which is placed spray of sensuous jasmine and buds of lemon and bergamot. The base of the arrangement is rooted firmly in a bed of dry aromatic vetiver. The entire arrangement is set on a raw unvarnished sandalwood table for solid support. Elegant and pure, not a clean or fresh scent but rather something of a mystery to be explored as it unfolds.
This perfume was created in 1995 and holds its age well, there are flankers that followed which I have not tried, and two “women’s” flankers as well. Not a silage bomb in the least. It is too elegant and smart to be so obvious. It casts its net at about a foot or so and trails in subtle tendrils of scent. On my skin it lasts about 6 hours and most definitely can be worn by both men and women. The bottle is really beautiful. A square which on its sides twists from left to right as it moves up from the base. This design makes it fit into the hand very securely. The aqua marine juice contrasts to the silver lettering on the bottle and the stunning silver cap. All together it is a beautiful presentation.
Alain Delon was and still is a beautiful man who at 78 is still acting and making magic for us on the screen and in the perfume lab. His allure is so enduring that Dior now uses his face as the face of Eau Savage.
SAMOURAI BY ALAIN DELON: FIVE GOLD STARS