Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Agent Provocateur

We could say the nouveau Chypre was a trend before the birth of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001 Fruity Chypre) and Chance (2002 Fruity Chypre), although Agent Provocateur (2000) which preceded it was never the kind of scent that the mainstream would take to as easily as those. Agent Provocateur had brought back Jean Couturier Coriandre (1973) - in fact, the two smell almost identical to me except Agent Provocateur smells like the more synthetic, linear, less blatantly animalic and raunchy one. I've had mixed comments on this scent, from "nail polish remover" to "sexy" (from the same person who loves Narciso Rodriguez For Her (2003), another nouveau Chypre). Although I can't credit Agent Provocateur for singlehandedly bringing back the Chypre (Thierry Mugler Angel (1992), although not a Chypre, was the one that used patchouli in megadoses to herald the patch trend of the last 17 years, and patch is used in leather scents), I think Agent Provocateur was at least instrumental in leading the way for others to follow (edited to add: Ooh, I may have spoken too fast again. Check out my Gucci Rush (1999) post).

So what kind of scent is Agent Provocateur? I'd say leather-rose-moss, punchy sharp like booze, bold, dark and strong (this scent will stick to me for two days), spicy, basenoted and heavy, although linear. It smells aggressive, mercilessly unsweet, like a woman with a whip who's had a few drinks. I can find this scent sexy if I'm not repelled by it, and I honestly go through opposing phases with this perfume. It's definitely a mood scent for me. Don't be too scared by my description, though - I would try it if you're a fan of these dry Chypres (leathery floral ones in particular): Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Robert Piguet Bandit, Ungaro Diva, Paloma Picasso, Gres Cabochard, Guepard, Animale, and leather-woody Orientals such as Bulgari Black.

Note the hand grenade bottle came before Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Well, maybe hand grenade-meets-pink Easter egg. Put it all together: Frisky bombshell man-killer perfume? You bet.

Listed on Basenotes:
Agent Provocateur (2000 Chypre)
Top Notes: Saffron, Coriander
Middle Notes: Moroccan Rose, Jasmin, Magnolia, Ylang Ylang, White Gardenia
Base Notes: Vetiver, Amber, Musk

I smell patchouli and so does Victoria, fragrance writer for Bois de Jasmin.