For several years, I’ve been mourning the discontinuation (and disappearance) of a favorite fragrance, and I’ve searched high and low for it. A Perfume Detective is on the case. (I won’t reveal the perfume’s name till I secure every bottle remaining on the planet. Yes, greed!) Last summer, in Padova, Italy, I smelled a fragrance that was the closest I’ll probably ever come to my beloved, but discontinued, perfume — unless it’s reissued — but I could not get the name of the fragrance since the two people I smelled it on got lost in the crowd: a beautifully dressed woman walking her two dachshunds (also nicely appointed) and a man scurrying by my table as I had lunch at an outdoor cafe. I shared the pain of these close encounters with lots of people and one of those people, a Now Smell This reader in Europe, Dusan, said he would keep a nose out for the fragrance after I described it to him. I made one assumption about the mystery fragrance since I smelled it on a man and a woman in the space of a few hours: the scent must be new, circa spring/summer of 2007. About a month or so ago, Dusan recommended I sniff Courvoisier’s L’edition Imperiale; he felt it came close to the descriptions I gave him of the discontinued fragrance and the Padova perfume.
L’edition Imperiale, created by perfumer Alexis Dadier, contains mandarin, coriander, cardamom, tagette, smoked tea, royal calla lily, violet, cedar, vetiver, fir balsam, leather and amber. Though L’edition Imperiale shares certain qualities (and ingredients) with my discontinued/“lost perfume,” it is not the perfume I smelled in Padova; the reincarnation of my old perfume has not been found (yet!), but I’m glad I was introduced to L’edition Imperiale.
L’edition Imperiale opens with vibrant, natural-smelling herbaceous and citrus notes. (I love this opening accord.) Vetiver makes an early appearance and stays around for the duration. L’edition Imperiale’s vetiver goes from spring-like (sharp, green-tinged and clear) to autumnal (creamy and opaque). Into the vetiver ‘fabric’ are woven dustings of spices, tea and violet leaves. For a brief time, I want to drink L’edition Imperiale — it smells like a fabulous tisane. Fir balsam can dominate a perfume (see Annick Goutal’s Encens Flamboyant) but it’s used in just the right proportion in L’edition Imperiale — there is an intriguing hint, not a torrent, of resin. The amber and cedar in L’edition Imperiale are subdued and powdery, not thick and syrupy. I’d wear L’edition Imperiale in any season and it’s certainly a unisex fragrance. The scent of some perfumes makes me happy and hopeful; L’edition Imperiale’s lovely currents (and undercurrents) put me into a great mood.
Courvoisier L’edition Imperiale is available in 75 or 125 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Courvoisier under Perfume Houses.