This is no gated community, nor is it sorority row, the Upper East Side, Williamsburg, or Silver Lake. No, I think this neighborhood is in Paris (maybe the Marais?) in the 70s. Chic but relaxed, without trying too hard.
A “parure” is a set of various items of matching jewelry. Sounds stuffy, right? Who wears a matching set of jewelry these days who is under the age of 80? The way I read it is more metaphorical: Parure’s notes, like individual pieces of jewelry, all add up to a well-balanced set. (Although it's a little "harsher" than Givenchy III, a green chypre, they both have that approachable, balanced cheery/formal quality.)
There’s the bracing and interesting green opening, the warm and sexy jasmine-dominated heart, and the dry, mossy and leathery dry down that butches things up. Not only butches things up, but makes them a little more formal.
Think Charlotte Rampling with her unbuttoned button-down, or Bianca Jagger in what might be the coolest wedding outfit ever assembled: a white Yves Saint-Laurent-designed “smoking jacket” dress suit with floppy hat. Not exactly stuffy, but not cut-off jeans, if you catch my drift. Formality undone, or casualness slightly formalized.
Heart notes: Jasmine, rose, lilac, lily of the valley, orris, narcissus, jonquil
Base notes: Leather, styrax, vetiver, moss, Peru Balsam, amber
The citrus and galbanum in Parure is bracing and bitter. If it were a drink, your mouth would surely pucker. It’s accompanied by the herbal notes of thyme and clary sage, which soften this brightness and prepare you for the sweet warmth of a gorgeous jasmine that shines like the sun within Parure's dry, mossy leather-fresh impression.
Soon enough, the “formal” part of the perfume announces itself: leather, moss, styrax and vetiver, with amber and Tolu balsam’s warmth echoing the jasmine. For a moment, there's an interesting caramel note that recalls Azurée and Miss Balmain, an evanescent gourmand quality in an otherwise fresh and moss-dry fragrance. Reminds me of being in the shade when suddenly a spot of sun hits your skin...The styrax and vetiver provide an incensey-woody scratchiness that provides texture to the perfume. Parure's balance of citrus, warmth and mossy-dry-leather is perfection.
Fresh yet interesting, crisp citrusy-leather chypres just make me happy. They’re the perfect warm-weather fragrance. (Empreinte is another one I can’t wait to wear when the whether gets consistently warm. Melon + sueded leather = yum.) Although Parure might seem overly green and austere at first, its crispness hides a warmth and good humor you'll experience if you get to know it. (Did I mention I love this perfume? And thanks to my perfume pal Heather for introducing me to this one last year!)