Imagine a spotlight trained on a woman at the center of a dark stage. Music starts — something melodic and gentle — and the performer sways in her diaphanous gown. After this dreamy introduction, burlesque horns kick in, and, in a move you’ve seen a hundred times, the woman rips away her evening dress to reveal a strapless sequinned get-up. That’s Parfum d'Empire Immortelle Corse in a nutshell.
Maybe comparing the fragrance to a Broadway number is going too far, since it’s more sun-kissed peasant1 than Liza Minelli, but you get the idea. Getting to know Immortelle Corse is to take a ride. Marc Antoine Corticchiato is the founder of Parfum d’Empire and the nose behind Immortelle Corse. Its notes include saffron, apricot, lemon, immortelle and oak moss.
Fresh on skin, Immortelle Corse is all sueded apricot, gentle and smooth. At this point, I’d call it a leather perfume. It’s tougher than Serge Lutens Daim Blond, for instance, but still mousse-like in texture with a close sillage. Unlike many fragrances whose phase one vanishes in minutes, Immortelle Corse hangs on to this persona for a solid hour.
Then, once you’ve settled into apricot skin and suede gloves, you look up from your desk and realize someone else has entered the room: immortelle. And has it ever. Immortelle Corse never gets bossy or loud, but it steps forward with both feet and firmly asserts its signature herbal blend of brandy, orange marmalade, artemisia and body odor.
Not everyone’s a fan of immortelle. If you don’t like it at all — if, say, Etat Libre d’Orange The Afternoon of a Faun is too much for you and Serge Lutens Participe Passé raises nausea — you’ll want to give Immortelle Corse a pass. But, if immortelle intrigues you at all, and if you appreciate a classically structured fragrance, you need to sample this one.
Once Immortelle Corse’s song fades, the immortelle candies and a woody-mossy base cradles it, reminding me of boulders in an August field with an open jar of spicy apricot jam nearby. The fragrance has terrific lasting power. On my skin, half a sample vial applied before breakfast lasts until my evening bath. At last, the spotlight on Immortelle Corse yellows, then clicks off, leaving only muted warmth.
Parfum d’Empire Immortelle Corse Extrait is $175 for 50 ml. For information on where to buy it, see Parfum d’Empire under Perfume Houses.
1. “Peasant” is a silly term in this day and age, I know, but I’m in the middle of reading a 1917 melodrama set in Transylvania — Castle to Let by Mrs. Baillie Reynolds — and I have peasant boys on the brain.