Bringing sexy back…
If you’re seriously into perfume, chances are you’ve visited Barbara Herman’s treasure trove of a blog, Yesterday’s Perfumes. It contains a wealth of information about vintage fragrances and was a great help to me when I was researching an eventual purchase of vintage Vol de Nuit extrait.
In 2013 Barbara released a book “Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume“. Earlier this year she launched Eris Parfums. Working with perfumer Antonie Lie, the intention was to create luxury fragrances that would “celebrate unconventional beauty and subversive glamour”. The first collection of three EdPs, La Belle Et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is a contemporary re-imagining of the striking and seductive floral animalic perfumes of the past.
Neroli, Aldehydes, Nutmeg, Cypriol, Stypras, Jasmin Sambac, Cedarwood, Patchouli and Animalic Accord
As you would expect from a perfume entitled “My Beast”, Ma Bête is an animalic. Although to start with, it’s not that variety of uncomfortably intimate skank. In the opening stage, it consists of a very sexy yet supple musk accented with neroli and a touch of spice. It has the soft texture of a vintage fur stole, wearing close to the body and giving it that second skin feel. There’s nothing invasive or TMI about it for now. It’s sexual in the way an old Hollywood movie star could be sexual, with a certain look accompanied by the arch of an eyebrow.
Ma Bête has one aim and one aim only – to seduce. In the base the beast’s growl turns to a roar and you appreciate the fact that Lie used a 50% overdose of his own animalic cocktail. You could argue that it’s not very complex but I guess when you are in the mood for musk, you want it front and centre (as it were).
Bergamot, Cardamom, Leather, Suede, Indian Tuberose, Birch Tar, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Musk and Tonka
I approached Night Flower with some trepidation because I am not generally a tuberose perfume fan, to put it mildly. However, it actually turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most. The opening is a combination of bergamot, suede, cardamom and incredibly smooth tuberose. Instead of being the man-eater it usually is, here the de-fanged flower adds a layer of pink bubblegum sweetness. There’s nothing overblown or headache inducing about it.
Over time the suede turns to birch tar and Night Flower now resembles a pair of long leather gloves that hold just a trace of Fracas. It’s dark, warm and slightly powdery. I hope Lie and Herman won’t mind me saying this, but there’s an ambery muskiness present in the base that takes me back to the bottle of Obsession I owned and loved in my youth.
Belle de Jour
Orange Flower, Jasmine, Coriander, Pink Peppercorn, Ciste, Jasmine, Pimento Berries, Cedarwood Incense, Musks and Seaweed Absolute.
Compared to her two counterparts, Belle de Jour opens up surprisingly fresh, with orange and jasmine blossom petals twisting in a salty sea breeze. Here the requisite musk is white and buoyant. It stays at this elevated pitch for a couple of hours. Thereafter it smooths out, becoming floral scented, cashmere-like, clean musk. The texture is raw silk on clean skin.
Antoine Lie says “Belle de Jour is a study in contrasts: a very luminous floral that is salty, sexy and dirty.” However, it never becomes dirty, or even naughty, on me which is a shame. I’m sure this is because I’m not picking up the type of musk used in the base, as regularly happens with me.
Do you like this retro style? Have you tried any of these three?
15 responses to “Ma Bête, Night Flower and Belle de Jour By Eris Parfums”
Oh I say, this range was not on my radar at all though I have Barbara’s Scent and Subversion book. I think it is a clever idea to update retro scents for contemporary tastes and I am most intrigued by Night Flower in particular. Tuberose and suede sounds right up my alley. Thank you for these great mini-reviews of all three!
I’m quite curious about her book after reading that she takes fragrance companies to task in it for not preserving their iconic perfumes. Quite right, too.
I also love the idea of updating neglected perfume styles for modern tastes. None of them smell like vintage but Night Flower and Ma Bete have a definite retro vibe.
I do think you’d like Night Flower if you don’t mind when the birch tar kicks in.
I’m a big fan of Antoine Lie’s work. Very happy to try those, and as I’m not usually a tuberrose lover, your verdict on Night Flower is most intriguing and I do like a lot of retrostyle frags. Are they available in London?
Antoine Lie is super talented, for sure and a great choice for this line. Night Flower is great and really achieves what they set out to do. They’re not sold in the UK yet, I’m afraid.
I covered myself in the Ma Bête and loved it. There were about 10 of us around a table passing the three frags around in unmarked bottles. Hahaha. In a restaurant no less. Brilliant fun. I really must try it again. 😊
Wow, what fun you must have had. I’d love to hang out with the NY lot one day. I hope I can go with you next time.
I know Ma Bete is The Non-Blonde’s favourite. It’s a very sexy yet classy musk.
Hi Tara. These sound great and just up my ally. I have not heard of them and now I want to try all three but especially Night Flower. Hmmmm – tuberose – just love it. Sandra xoxo
It’s so nice to have a blogger launch her own fragrance line. I hope it does well and comes to Europe soon.
I haven’t tried these three and vaguely remember reading the names somewhere (NST?) but after reading your review I got interested in the first and the third. I hate tuberose – I just re-confirmed it by smelling real flowers while in Hawaii. So I doubt I’ll like any perfume with prominent tuberose in it. But it won’t stop me from trying all three if I get a chance.
Pichola made me a bit more open-minded about tuberose, but that features the natural oil. Most of the time I can’t tolerate it but in Night Flower it’s soft and smooth at the start and then gets overtaken by the suede/leather. How interesting that you got to smell the actual flowers.
I would say you’d be most likely to get on with Belle de Jour but I hope you do get to try them all at some point.
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I can absolutely imagine what they must smell like from your loving description, and what a surprise that the tuberose one is the one you like the most 🙂 I find tuberose tricky when it’s rubbery but love smooth or leathery ones. I have Barbara’s book and I love her writing style, but often am not quite on the same page with regards to taste. So even if I was very curious about her fragrances, I didn’t order samples as I wasn’t convinced these would be for me especially after reading reviews. I suspect everyone expected something with more of a vintage nerve than they got?
It was a surprise! Like you, I can handle tuberose when it’s smooth and/or matched wih leather, much like the lovely Tuberose ! you sent me.
These don’t smell vintage but that doesn’t appear to have been the intention.
Your site is great. A real treasure trove of information and style!
Thank you so much Akuokuo! I appreciate it.
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