I was sent a sample of this fragrance as thank you gift from the wonderful ladies at Bloom Perfumery, after we featured them on the bridal blog that I also write for. When I opened the parcel and the contents went tumbling onto the counter, I caught a whiff of something extremely pleasant. Excitedly I opened the little card envelope in which the sample was encased and quickly scanned it for a note listing. There was nothing, just the name. Parfumerie Generale is a brand which I am familiar with, but truth be told had not been bowled over by. Of the few that I had tried, Musc Maori was the only one that I’d particularly enjoyed. My husband had dropped the parcel off to me at work and because I was surrounded by food I held off spraying myself with it immediately. For the remaining hours before home time I felt preoccupied with that fleeting whisper of scent, something about it really seemed to have gotten under my skin.
That evening when I got home, exhausted and hot from a long day, I spritzed a little onto my wrist. My reaction was immediate and a complete revelation; I realised that I have become rather narrow minded over recent months. On the basis of a note listing alone I would have totally dismissed L’Ombre Fauve under the misconception that I don’t like animalic musks and ambers. Well. I stand totally corrected here. I adore this fragrance, I’ve fallen very hard for it’s velveteen charms.
L’Ombre Fauve translates from french as bestial/tawny shadow. It was created in 2007 by Pierre Guillaume and the most coherent list of notes that I can find for it are on Fragrantica. It mentions woods, patchouli, incense, amber and musk. On first spritz the scent is all sweet, resinous myrrh and powdery patchouli. It’s a heady and intense opening, with so many aspects that I have previously said that I don’t enjoy. “Myrrh is too cloying” and “I only like dark sticky patchouli” and “I hate powdery perfumes” are just a few of the phrases that I’ve trotted out in the past. All those qualities are here in L’Ombre Fauve and yet I am already mesmerised…
Developing beneath these opening impressions is a deep and sexy amber, softly wrapped in a fur coat of musk. The perfume becomes rather seamless and slinking, all obvious progression blurred and melding into one feline minx that slowly stretches it’s supple limbs across the skin. There have been several other reviews that mention this cat-like quality. One that I particularly enjoyed being from Tara of Olfactorias Travels. It is a perfect description for L’Ombre Fauve. The scent has the soft power and grace of a gorgeous feline, slipping smoothly through the shadows on velvet paws.
Those musks turn a little naughty once they have really warmed up. The perfume radiates a glow of sensuality like a heat haze. It’s not an intrusive scent by any means but it certainly has quite an intensity when caught up close. I have been walking through a cloud of scent spritzed into the air, with a little applied at the wrists and still I catch traces of it all day long. I find it a very textural scent, all softly flowing fabrics and silky furs, powdered warm skin and hazy pleasures. It is most definitely a sexy perfume but perhaps not a raunchy one. For me it is a suggestion, a private thought, rather than a physical act.
The tawny colours of it’s name suit it perfectly. Visually L’Ombre Fauve is a sensory palette of tertiary colours; umber, taupe, charcoal and peach; dove grey and sooty moleskin. The colours of humans and of animals. There is no green plant life in this scent, only pumping hearts and moving limbs.
Towards the end L’Ombre Fauve sweetens and loses a little of it’s animal magnetism, becoming gentle with a suggestion of vanilla and resins. It is still beautiful but now tamed somewhat. It doesn’t turn to leather and skank, or become overly heavy with incense. I believe this is one of the reasons why I love it so much; it becomes quiet and lulled, without changing it’s essential character. I feel as if I want to climb into the fragrance when it reaches this point, that warm, fur lined sensation just before you fall into a completely relaxed sleep. The patchouli also makes a reappearance, albeit in a much softer, paler form. It has a slightly dry, crispy texture now, like flaked brown tobacco leaves, warmed between fingertips.
If ever there was a scent that could change your mind about musk, it is this one. I feel reawakened from the long period of circular citruses and vanillas that I’ve been trapped in for months. I thought that maybe it might have been all the hot weather, but honestly I think I may have just inadvertently narrowed my horizons in terms of perfume. Sometimes it takes a suggestion from a relative stranger to ignite the flames of passion once again. A valuable lesson had been learned here and a new love has blossomed. I might need to take a look at other areas in my life where I may have been thinking in a rather linear fashion. L’Ombre Fauve shall be my companion on the ever curving road to wisdom…