Beauty is tricky. In Sunday's New York Times, Barbra Streisand explained to a reporter that she doesn't want her music to be straight and pure, "It has to rub. I want that slight rub there." Regardless of what you think of Streisand, she has a point. For something to reach its full potential for beauty, it needs a flaw, an unexpected element to catch your attention. Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs Eau de Parfum is rich and lovely, and I know many people will wear it to lavish compliments. But it doesn't have the rub.
Parfum d'Empire released 3 Fleurs (along with Wazamba) this summer. It has notes of Bulgarian rose, Egyptian jasmine, and Indian tuberose—the three flowers of its name—along with galbanum, mint, and white musk. Despite rose, jasmine, and tuberose having equal billing, to me 3 Fleurs is more of a heady rose fragrance with jasmine and tuberose playing strong supporting roles. (Eau Suave, another Parfum d'Empire rose scent, almost smells like a fresh green chypre next to the voluptuous flowers of 3 Fleurs).
At first whiff, 3 Fleurs reminds me of Jean Patou Joy Eau de Toilette, a rich rose and jasmine scent. Wearing them side by side, though, shows that 3 Fleurs is Joy EdT's cheerful, outgoing sister with none of Joy EdT's moodiness. 3 Fleurs is all afternoon sun and hothouse flowers as dizzying as Champagne. A green edge keeps the fragrance from venturing into migraine territory, and a clean musk base adds warmth without weight. Although the fragrance fades with time, it doesn't change much.
Joy Eau de Toilette, on the other hand, reveals hints of clove and sandalwood as it settles that give its rose and jasmine depth, experience, and a little bit of mystery that doesn't complicate 3 Fleurs. If you're attracted to Joy but find it too fusty and sad, try 3 Fleurs. If you seek out Joy in extrait because the Eau de Toilette tells its story too soon — in short, if you seek "the rub" — 3 Fleurs probably won't attract you.
Because of 3 Fleurs' simple, almost cartoonishly feminine feel, it would be easy to come of as a little bit "mother of the bride" when wearing it. For that reason, I recommend saving 3 Fleurs for when you haven't slept well and have circles under your eyes (bonus points for flakes of mascara), or are feeding the horses, or are wearing your husband's bathrobe. In short, save it for when you are the element of surprise that rounds out 3 Fleurs' beauty.
Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs has average sillage and decent lasting power. A 100 ml bottle of Eau de Parfum is $110. For information on where to buy it, see the listing for Parfum d'Empire under Perfume Houses.