Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Colonial Coffeehouse: Eau des Îles


For some time, coffee fragrances have enjoyed a certain vogue among the perfume cognoscenti. Maurice Roucel’s Riverside Drive, Jacques Huclier’s flanker for Thierry Mugler, A*Men Pure Coffee, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe and the coffee granddaddy, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s L’Eau du Navigateur – each has showcased this ultimate comfort note, which, along with chocolate and tobacco, forms a triad of vanillin-packed scents. To smell a cigar humidor, a dark chocolate wrapper or, as is the case here in New York City, to walk past a branch of Porto Rico Importing Co., is to fall under the smell of the bean (coffee, tonka, cocoa or otherwise).

As some of you may know, I recently completed a move to a new space, and in the process many samples and bottles were jostled about ... which is to say that quite a few things, which previously languished in the dark, got their proverbial moment in the sun. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s L’Eau des Îles was among them, and now I am kicking myself for not having recognized (or better appreciated) its strong features years ago. Jean Leporte, who also was responsible for L’Eau du Navigateur, created it in the pre-gourmand days of the mid-Eighties. Taking a spicy, musky coffee note and allying it to the weedy note of galbanum, Laporte created something beautiful in its hardness – for lack of a better analogy, a sort of tropical flanker to Germaine Cellier’s galbanum-bombshell, Bandit (as recreated, of course, by the Guichard duo at Givaudan).

It is an unsung wonder, and if you like Bandit and, albeit for a very different reason, Patou’s Colony, this cup’s for you.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ines said...

Hmm, interesting... :) I love l'Eau de Navigateur so I'd say I have to try this one as well.

May 13, 2009 at 1:05 AM  
Blogger waftbyCarol said...

I too love Eau d'Navagateur , but MPG was dark and sharp...
I think it is spelled Porto Rico Imports , an ex-employee of mine works there...

May 13, 2009 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I continue to smell- and re-smell - This particular MPG.

For some reason, there is a very real rawness in it, with which I have an ongoing approach / avoidance relationship...

Fascinating.
And Leporte was a real innovator; he had a discontinued scent that was composed , primarily- of celery and patchouli...
The ODDEST thing.

I had to mix 1/2 and 1/2, with Eau de L'Artisan.

May 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Flora said...

I have this, I was lucky enough to acquire a full bottle in a giveaway, and I adore it. It's nominally masculine but it smells wonderful on me.

Yes, Jean Laporte created some fabulous perfumes, I wish I could still get some from his original line. I loved his mango & dark vanilla scent L' Eau des Merveilleuses to distraction, and I still miss it. Had I know the company was going to go away I would have bought more than one of those stunning scents of his.

May 13, 2009 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Ines and waftbyCarol- Eau de Navagateur has always struck me as easier, more open and giving, whereas Eau des Îles is more angular, like a piece of gnarled, surf-smoothed driftwood. It's coffee is green with a civet twist (Kopi Luwak anyone?)

May 13, 2009 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Chaya, yes I agree with you on the rawness, the greenness of the thing, smeared with some cat potty. I have a vintage sample, 5 years old. Did this change recently with the new bottles? Or did the change occur much earlier? I would so love to capture a full bottle or at least a healthy decant soon. I think it would RULE in the New York humidity.

May 13, 2009 at 1:34 PM  

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