Saturday, November 10, 2012

Creed Angélique Encens

I first smelled Creed Angélique Encens (1933) back in the early 2000s, thanks to an online perfumista who sent me a generous decant to try. I loved this rich, spicy, sweet and powdery fragrance that is part of Creed's private collection, a classic Oriental ambery vanilla in the vein of Shalimar (1925) featuring the most devastatingly beautiful ambergris. Imagine a scent like Shalimar, Must de Cartier and Fifi Chachnil combined, a spicy aroma reminiscent even of Old Spice but with the refined yet deep, densely powdery, delicate texture of Guerlain Liu (1929). Also comparable to Jean Patou Chaldée, Angélique Encens is a classic 1930s style fragrance bringing to mind the carefree, sun-and-cocktail-drenched decadence of the lifestyle of the rich during the Great Depression.

It is a scent so hauntingly rich it brings to mind not the somber incense smoke of churches and temples prayerfully honoring the dead, but lively images of ancient Egyptians with melting incense cones on their heads, dripping over their Hathor-like helmet hair cascading onto brown-olive hot exposed shoulders, glistening of suntan oil. It is the scent of delicious gourmand excesses, a main course of balsam and herbs, and a dessert table brimming with cakes, creams and spirits. It is sugar, spice and everything nice for the girl or guy or androgyne a la Marlene Dietrich (for whom Creed supposedly created the perfume) who's got it all. Most of all, Angélique Encens is an embodiment of the popular style of perfume of the day for the leisurely to commission, and the working masses to emulate from afar. Stylewise, it's roughly the Thierry Mugler Angel of its day, but this angelic incense is ever an ode to the luminous ghost of Gatsby.