Here’s something you probably already knew about me: I get excited about pretty things, particularly when I’m trying them out for the first time. I mean, who doesn’t? While I have my likes and dislikes just like everyone else, new products hold a special kind of promise for me. I’m always hopeful when I test whatever last landed on my desk or in my shopping cart, hopeful that it will surpass my expectations and gain a place in my daily rotation. I don’t pick up a product and think hello, I am not going to like you (except maybe this, which I’m not even going to bother picking up). That said, I couldn’t help but approach this fragrance with some trepidation, even with the charms of its delightfully quirky packaging.
Gourmands have never been my thing. I still cringe to think of the coughing fit following that first spritz of Thierry Mugler Angel on my wrist, which I’m sure wouldn’t have been quite so traumatic had my friend not proceeded to grab the bottle and spray me from head to toe. And then there the unfortunate fact that gourmands usually come with vanilla, and vanilla is frightfully easy to do wrong. I still remember that one time I sprayed some cheap fruity-vanilla EDT on myself and spent the rest of the day suppressing the urge to vomit. Which is why, when I first beheld Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDT ($69), I held it like someone deathly afraid of children might hold a screaming baby.
But—wouldn’t you know it?—I ended up discovering a surprise favorite in Classique’s sweetly warm tones. It starts off floral and a little fruity, with a fizzy finish reminiscent of (very expensive) fruit soda. That ‘ticklish’ sensation is one I’m familiar with now, as it’s the same one I first experienced in the opening of Elie Saab Le Parfum. The orange blossom is much more subdued here, however, more playful than overwhelming. There’s something a little citrusy and sharp there too, which I assume is the Sicilian clementine.
Question: Do Sicilian clementines smell any different from regular clementines?
After some time, the various florals start to assert themselves. There’s jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, and iris in there, although I smell only jasmine and a hint of rose from earlier on. There’s also something powdery about the heart and drydown of the fragrance, although I will happily admit that I have absolutely no idea where it’s coming from. Classique never veers into floral territory though, strictly gourmand through and through. As the perfume dries down, it begins warming up. The musk, amber, and vanilla (well. it is a gourmand after all!) settle in, clinging firmly to the skin. In my experience, there are usually two types of musky vanilla drydowns: those that bludgeon my over the head with their heaviness and those that have been scrubbed so clinically clean that they morph into a pale, pointless imitation of their original ingredients.
Classique is neither one of these. There is something very golden about its warmth, smooth and soft while losing none of its charm. I’ve heard the EDT is much lighter and cleaner than the more ‘true’ Parfum and EDP, but for me it’s just the right amount of gourmand. It’s a well-balanced fragrance, so comfortable that I can wear it on a summer day, and I imagine it will become even more tempting when the cooler months roll around. It’s the furthest thing from ‘me in a bottle’ I can think of, and yet it works so well with my skin chemistry.
There’s also the matter of packaging, which I mentioned earlier. This is the LE Summer 2013 edition (perfect timing, since it’s my favorite one yet), decked out in a swirl of tattoos inspired by Gaultier’s S/S ’12 RTW collection. It’s a beautiful case for a beautiful fragrance, and whether you like gourmands or not, I urge you to give this a sniff.
When was the last time you were surprised by a fragrance? Are you a gourmand lover?
Full Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided free of charge by PR for consideration and review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclaimer.