Parfum d’Empire’s Eau Suave takes inspiration from the Empress Josephine and Chateau de Malmaison. I was lucky enough to visit Malmaison once several years ago, although I can’t recall what the chateau smelled like. However, in sampling Eau Suave, it’s easy enough to imagine this fragrance being composed for an Empress. This is a rich, rose-centered fragrance. There is no mistake, rose is the star of this show, but Eau Suave is a multi-faceted composition. The rose here is at turns spicy, fruity, and even verging on dirty. It’s enough to keep even the most busy of Empresses fascinated.
Eau Suave opens on a spicy note with pepper and coriander swirling around. It’s a lively opening to put it mildly. I detect some patchouli as well, adding some depth. Don’t be daunted by this description, it’s not all overwhelming spices. The rose note is there right away to provide a soft cushion for everything. I think there must be aldehydes at work here too, just to keep the composition from becoming too dense. I personally like this opening stage. It can be a bit bracing, almost like a typical masculine fragrance, but I think the rose is enough to balance the edge of the spicy notes while still conveying the overall soft character of this perfume.
The fruity notes start appearing next. Unfortunately for me, the peach note is quite strong, and I’m not a huge fan of peach. But even I can appreciate that it’s done very well here. The fruit in general balances out the spice by adding a freshness. This stage of Eau Suave reminds me a little bit of Liaisons Dangereuses from By Kilian in terms of the lushness of the fruit/rose combination. After a couple of hours, the fruit does an interesting thing on me: it goes a bit sour. It’s as though the fruit has just crossed the line into overly-ripe. This is where Eau Suave verges on the dirty for me.
The drydown is a cashmere-soft rose layered on vanilla and a hint of musk. I don’t get anything sweaty or animalic from the musk, and I think it’s here simply to anchor the composition. Because, interestingly enough, the pepper makes a reappearance. It’s as though the sour fruit ushers in the spice again, although the pepper is much softer this time around. The spice here has quite a sensual feel, especially following the slightly dirty fruit/rose accord.
Rose fragrances are everywhere at this time of year in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I think Eau Suave would make a smart Valentine’s choice since, given Parfum d’Empire’s niche status, this isn’t a fragrance you’re likely to find too many other people wearing. It’s luxurious and rich, a little bit weird at times, but beautiful as a whole. I wish I personally enjoyed the fruit aspect more. As it is, I don’t think this one is full bottle material for me, but I’m happy to send for another sample and continue exploring the many facets of rose offered by Eau Suave.
samples and full bottles of Parfum d’Empire fragrances are available from Luckyscent, which is where I got my sample.
Image and info on notes are from Luckyscent.