MONSIEUR PETRIZ WINTER HOLIDAY ~ Green by Byredo

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Even a gigolo needs a vacation. For Rene Michel Petriz it was time for an escape from Paris and the ladies who kept him in Charvet ties, Ferragamo shoes and luxuriously ensconced in his apartments at 56 Avenue Victor Hugo.

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Madame Pageau had seen him off in the snowy December cold with out a hint of a tear at Gere de Lyon. He knew his housekeeper was putting up a brave front she hated to have him out of her sight. On the night train to Nice he skipped dinner in the dining car where there was sure to be a woman or two and possibly a man who would to catch his eye with an invitation behind a smile. Instead he locked himself in his compartment and was asleep before Melun.  The next morning in Nice he picked up a 1966 Alfa Romeo Spider and hit the back roads rather than the A8 that would lead to his hideaway in the hills above Monte Carlo.

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He was surrounded by sudden Spring. The little red machine purred as he took the hairpin turns a hair to fast. Gravel was kicked into the sage by the back right tire and the wind in his face was liberating. It tore away all the cares of Paris and demands of his body. For two weeks he would luxuriated in being alone, completely and deliciously alone. He took a deep breath and smelled the green of the hills that climbed from the Mediterranean Sea up to the crystalline peaks of the Alps to the north. It smelled of green petitgrain, and almond trees growing on sage covered hills warmed by the unseasonably hot December sun.

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Everyone he knew, his clients, the boys from the Bar du Marche and anyone of consequence would be sprinkled across ski chalets and the slopes of Megève or Montgenèvre being frivolous in furs and trying desperately to have a good time.

“Bonjour Monsieur Petriz. Welcome back to Peillon.” The concierge of Hotel Auberge de la Madone greeted him as he had for the past ten years. He wore a violet boutonnière in his lapel and smelled of a perfume laced with Tonka.

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Peillon France

“Merci Henri, Peillon looks unchanged.”  Rene noticed that there was honeysuckle miraculously blooming in brightly lacquered terracotta pots just outside the windows.

“But of course Monsieur, we are close to the glitter of Monte Carlo but untouched by its extravagance. One might say that we are the simple country rose growing next to the glamorous jasmine.”

“Perfect Henri” He smiled more broadly and openly than he ever did in Paris and signed the ledger.

That afternoon he sat atop the highest hill above Peillon looking out to the south toward the sea beyond the last row of hills that separated him from Monte Carlo. To be left alone was a luxury he could barely afford. But for the next fourteen days isolation would be his.  Solace in solitude. The air was clean and green filled with memories of blessed beds of musk white sheets he shared with no one but those he met in sleepy dreams.  He fell back onto the grass and looked into the all encompassing sky and smiled once more as he never had in Paris. Rene Michel Petriz never looked, more handsome or more alive than now.

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Green by Byredo is my favorite of the line. This green floral is said to be inspired by memories of the father of the creator of Byredo, Ben Gorham. Everyone should have such beautiful memories of their father.

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Ben Gorham

Green is a blend of what you would expect in green notes which meet in the most unexpected and charming way with a classic French perfume vibe. A kind of sensuous green oriental mash up that makes this a very exciting and vibrant olfactory experience. Pure magic if you ask me. Just a few sprays and you are transported to the south of France in early spring.

The top opens with fresh sunny petitgrain and sharp slightly bitter sage. It could be a hillside along the Mediterranean Sea  or a orange grove in Southern California. Where ever it is you want to be there. Super green and inviting these top notes fade off but never leave the perfume.

In the mid notes we get a spring garden with rose blooming in the afternoon and jasmine filling the night with its distinctive lush beauty. The honeysuckle and violet are intertwined into the rose and jasmine creating a cerebral vision of a classic floral perfume. It is glittering but not overly glamorous.

The dry down is clean and slightly woody with the arrival of a warm tonka, white scrubbed musk and hard edged but not too bitter almond. This brings in a bit of the barbershop for me and boosts the perfumes masculine edge making it a floral for men that is easy to wear. And on a woman it is stunningly beautiful a perfect example of what the real essence of perfume should be. Without gender and made to be loved.

The down side for me is the longevity that I find in all the Byredo perfumes. They seem to last only a few hours on my skin. But the good news for Green is that it is at the top of the spectrum in this respect. It last on my skin from four to six hours. And with me reapplication is not a problem but a fun ritual. I only mention this because for some longevity is an important issue when paying for expensive perfumes. The sillage is respectable at about three feet. With the short lifespan it does move toward a skin scent relatively quickly.  Having addressed those issues, for me Green is a winner. It is a green fragrance that an oriental lover can embrace, a perfect meeting of city and nature.

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Green by Byredo Four Gold Stars ****

for the next installment go to: HOW INSENSITIVE

THE COOL BLONDE ~ Prada Infusion D’Iris

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For days she has eluded me, cool  remote and untouchable. I thought at first this woman was that blonde so distantly desirable who radiates a frozen heat that stings the eye and captures the libido then slips away with a hot forty thousand dollars in her purse on the road to oblivion.  I thought I had lost her only to find she turned up next as a haunted somnambulist wandering aimlessly with  deceitful purpose over the hills though the city to a graveyard, to the bay,  to a tower and again to oblivion.

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   She confused me in her teasing enticing nearness that always turned into escape. I must understand her, I must possess her. This woman who the whole evening watches me across the dinning table as her mother loaded with diamonds goes on about how over finished her reserved daughter is.  All the while the blonde studies me daring to expose my secrets. Later I cautiously watch her unlock her door, with a seductive turn sheathed in chilled blue chiffon she drapes one bare arm around my neck and pulls me into the shock of her lips meeting mine.  Before I can speak she steps back and swings the door shut between us. The only sound is the beating of my heart and the click of the dead bolt. Again she is gone.

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   My brain is scrambled as I try and grasp at clues to her identity. She keeps changing. Every time I met her over the next few days she stole something of me and then vanished when I was about to surrender my soul. On a train, into the arms of a spy or simply into a deadly dark apocalyptic aviary leaving only an impression of her image on the rear window of my soul, who is this woman?

When I finally gave up and turned to walk away from this ambiguity, a woman brushed past me carrying a suit case. I turned at the recognition of her insinuating scent. The woman who was walking away from me on the train platform couldn’t be her. Her long loose black hair fooled me at fist but then as she boarded the train at the very moment it pulled away, I caught a glimpse of her profile.  I stood frozen on the spot as I watched the train for Baltimore disappear.

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Standing alone on that platform I finally I had the clue. She was a master of disguise and deception. The combination of the dyed black hair and that distinctive perfume held the key. She wasn’t Marion Crane on the run, or doomed Madeline Elster, she had even fooled me into believing in Monte Carlo that she was Frances Stevens. At one point the thought fluttered its wings in my mind that she was evil and the whole mystery stared when she came to town. But no, she wasn’t Melanie Daniels. She was none of the women she pretended to be. I had to follow her to Baltimore.

A blood red sky opened above me in that field where I finally found her a week later. She rode up wild and fast on a black stallion. The horse reared at the sound of thunder in the distance.  She shivered and her eyes shifted as she tried to cover the terror that approaching storm brought upon her. She looked down at me from astride that hard panting dark animal and I saw that she understood that the chase was over.

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“I’ve come to take you home Marnie.”

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Like the character of Marnie in the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock, Infusion D’Iris by Prada is elusive, mystifying and duplicitous. It is cool and blonde and mysterious and to understand it takes a while. For me it took two weeks of chasing to capture it and come to love it.  It is ever changing in its complex almost psychologically challenging nature. Just when you think you have pinned it down to a pure floral, it shifts into dry woods and then again into a light oriental powdery musk perfume. Created by the “Nose” Daniela Roche Andrier who also brought to us many other perfumes for Prada this one is a softly dazzling incense iris perfume that is purely wonderful.

The perfume is smooth and soft in its opening notes of Mandarin orange, soothing galbanum and African orange blossom. Those notes waft over you in a whisper like butterflies brushing your ear and are quickly gone. The central notes are dominated by a cool earthy iris that is elegant and refined. This iris blends with a pine like mastic and cedar with a layer of grassy green vetiver that come up from the base notes. The dry down is pure incense and benzoin that powder the end of the scent ever so lightly. Not heavy powder but rather more of a soft dusting of modern clean lined elegance.

The longevity of Prada Infusion D’Iris is very good but not spectacular. It lays somewhat close to the skin in its projection and when caught in passing it is subtle in its invitation to come closer to its mystery just as one would expect from a Hitchcock blonde. This perfume is for a lady or a man who embodies a modern sophistication and wears as well in company as it does outdoors.  But be warned not to fall in love with Prada Infusion D’Iris, for once you surrender to her cool seduction you may find you can never let her go.

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FIVE PLATINUM STARS *****

(Marnie Prelude and Theme by Bernard Herrmann)

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