Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jean Patou 1000

I never could smell Joy, which I now know is down to jasmine anosmia, but 1000 comes through loud and clear. Whatever the jasmine is doing in the middle notes, it isn't interfering with my ability to smell the rest which is a good thing because 1000 is one hell of a grand perfume.

First things first-1000 is an oakmoss/civet/vetiver bomb, so if any of those notes are bothersome, you might want to sit this perfume out. There's no escaping the patchouli or musk either. Yeah sure, 1000 brings you some roses but then it smothers them in sandalwood and amber. If it sounds like there's a lot going on in 1000, you're right but it is so going on.

1000 does the complicated list of notes in a very 70's way. Much like Bal a Versailles throws together civet, musk, and amber, 1000 isn't just using these notes for fun-there's a point to the combination which I'm reminded of hour after hour as 1000 shifts gracefully into another phase. This is a beautiful perfume. The longevity of 1000 is incredible, even on my poor-circulation skin that couldn't emit warmth if it tried. Ten hours later, it is still with me as I type.

It seems silly to talk of a top/middle/and base with 1000 as it does all sort of come at staggered intervals. The citrus notes fade first, as they typically will, but even hours later there's that bergamot note that is more grated peel than juice. It isn't bright in the way you'd expect. Tangerine is a listed note for 1000, but I don't get that sharpness at all.

The floral notes in 1000 are unusual in the way they're combined. Violet, violet leaf, rose, osmanthus, jasmine, iris, and the completely unexpected note of geranium does make 1000 sound like something a trainee botanist might plant in a grand garden to impress a client by hitting them over the head with luxury. In person though, 1000 might have started as a bit of technical showing-off, but the end result is such a gorgeous, swoon-inducing perfume that I can forgive the long list of notes and just celebrate and enjoy the achievement of something so very grand. If I had the means to do so, I'd wear 1000 much more than I do, walking about in an oakmoss/vetiver/civet cocoon. If there's a heaven, I'll bet all the angels farts smell like 1000. Hallelujah, witness!

As you wear 1000, it will drive you mad trying to place a couple of notes. You'll ignore what your nose is telling you as it sounds so wrong in a composition like 1000. Where good music sometimes needs that discordant bit to make you pay attention, 1000 goes a bit off-key, but nothing too avant garde, you simply won't trust your nose when it relays to your brain the notes of coriander, and lily of the valley. "Impossible" you'll think, but your nose understands what your brain does not. And somehow, if you're lucky, it all works. 1000 works. Overtime. 1000 is the hardest workin' perfume on the tray. 

The notes, per Fragrantica:
(better sit down, this is going to take some time)
Oak moss, Chinese Osmanthus, civet, jasmine, rose, violet, iris, green notes, sandalwood, coriander, geranium, patchouli, vetiver, violet leaf, tangerine, musk, lily of the valley, bergamot, and amber. Whew, that's a long list!

But let's be honest, the first and dominant note you'll notice is oakmoss, so be realistic when trying out 1000. If you don't get on well with oakmoss, it won't grow more subtle as the hours drag on. On the other hand, if you love (and miss) heavy, natural oakmoss in fragrances, then 1000 probably won't disappoint.


Bibi said...

Patou's 100 is such a classic.
Have you or any of your readers tried Patou's Sira des Indes? It's supposedly an under appreciated (and under priced) gem.
Fragrantica lists it as an 'Oriental Woody' (which brings to mind strange things BUT ANYWAY) with a description-
"Top notes are banana, pear, bergamot, cardamom and pink pepper; middle notes are champaca, orange blossom, plum and milk; base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk and vanilla."
Doesn't it sound divine?
Speaking of 70's chypres-
Recently, I kept running across reviews of the original Charlie! describing it as a classic but bitter green chypre that's under rated. Well, I recall my first encounter with Charlie! in the 70's was not pleasant but perhaps my tastes had matured. (Charlie! is actually a very popular men's fragrance throughout South Asia- particularly among middle aged Muslim men for some reason & you can find it easily here.) So when we were at the local upscale 'departmental' store here I casually spritzed some Charlie! on my wrist.
My experience-
First minute- I got alcohol & some sort of screechy synthetic tarragon/basil & oakmoss blast NOT GREEN. Ok, so I'll just wait for this to 'settle' a bit.
20 minutes- This is horrid. I get how this could pass for a chypre with the oakmoss base but this is some synthetic vomit/stale oily Kmart popcorn/puppy poo mess with a sickly floral background. This is like Revlon's Aquamarine bath products but worse.
45 minutes- OH HELL NO. Nauseating, headache inducing, visceral gut reaction- HELL TO THE NO. SCRUBBER!
Trust your younger self, when something's bad it is BAD.

Goody said...

That doesn't sound like the Charlie I know. Maybe they reformulated it badly? I did enjoy your description though!

Mim said...

I'm wearing that today! It's been discontinued, but my mother-in-law got me a bottle last Christmas, and now I'm regretting not stocking up when it was all over the place dirt cheap. It's a warm, ambery-vanilla, comforting scent that I wear on days when I just want something soft and cuddly.

Patou is one of my favourite houses, I really need to get round to trying some of their rereleases as they recently brought back some classic old names. I hoard my vintage Patous jealously, and want to see if the new version of Colony (a heavenly pineapple chypre) is anywhere close to the old one.

Beth Waltz said...

Hmmm, I do like heavy oakmoss, sandalwood, and other "Oriental woods", so the symphony of notes you describe in 1000 would probably suit my "what to wear this winter?" mood. Thanks for the recommendation: it will be a change from simply picking up a vial of frankincense at the oils bar.

Goody said...

I wasn't aware they were bringing back Colony. You'd think it would be a minefield trying to market it today ("Celebrate colonialism with a tropical perfume!"). I haven't seen it here, I'd be interested in having a sniff.

@Beth Waltz
I admit to being intrigued by the single note oils at the health food store. I have some single note rosewood that is lovely, but difficult to wear as a fragrance (does wonders to freshen the bathroom though!).

Mim said...

I think the Patou archive line is only available through Patou boutiques / very high-end department stores. They're reissuing quite a few of the archive scents. They're not really being marketed or advertised widely, I think they're in one of those 'if you know, you know' niches. They're in identical bottles, no fancy packaging.

Colony has dodgy associations now, but AAAAH THE SCENT! The original is just beautiful.