Thursday, 24 September 2015

Princesse Pauline - Galimard's New Perfume

When Parfumerie Galimard launched Napoléon in February it was originally intended as a unisex fragrance. It had a wonderfully floral heart but was tempered by the more masculine base. However, it quickly became clear that it was appealing more to men than women, and so a female equivalent was needed. The fragrance had to be something that was new for the company but also one that wouldn't compete with the others already in their range. Interestingly, for a long time Galimard had stayed away from a typical rose scent, and so this seemed the perfect opportunity to create one.

To go alongside Napoléon, Galimard decided to dedicate the new fragrance to his favourite sister, Princess Pauline. By all accounts the most headstrong of his sisters, she had a strong family loyalty towards her brother and was the only Bonaparte to visit him during his exile on Elba. She also spent the winter of 1807 in Grasse, returning many times, and was often to be found in the gardens which now bear her name. A romantic, but with a mind of her own, what has Galimard chosen for Princesse Pauline?

From the first breathe you are hit by a beautifully crisp Rose de Mai, used as a tribute to her stay in Grasse. This is no lush scent, but rather the perfume of a young rose in the fresh air. A fashionable pink pepper provides a bite to the first impression and keeps a fruity undertone firmly in the background. Very quickly a stabilising geranium joins to anchor the flightiness and a touch of chilli, yes chilli, links beautifully with what is to come. Now, chilli usually adds a sensation of heat to fragrances, which this one does, but there is also a sense of the spiciness as well.

The base though is where the final piece of magic happens. Galimard have always liked their Patchouli and White Musk, and have made a point of carefully keeping them in check, but what they have added to the perfume is a marine note. However, there is no sludgy brown aroma here. Instead you have a feeling of space, open air and salty freshness. They succeed in blending this ingredient in a subtle way, which is the direct opposite of Penhaligon's attempts with their two "blasted" fragrances.

So, who is it for? Well, if you want Jo Malone with more staying power or Cath Kidston with more character then this is for you. Whilst Napoléon is still a unisex fragrance to my mind, Princesse Pauline is most definitely feminine. This is not Guerlain Nahema, where the pure power transcends gender, but more a romantically delicate offering. The bottle is a taller version of the Napoléon edition, and again is in a faux velvet bag.

It is available as a 100ml Eau de Parfum from the Galimard website priced at 65€

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