Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Jacomo #09 eau de parfum can be purchased from the Jacomo Paris website, as well as from various perfume discounter sites, where it can be purchased for a song, practically.

Photo of model Lakshmi Menon from Vogue India magazine, May 2009; Stina Persson watercolor sketch is from the Jacomo Art Collection press kit; Jacomo #09 bottle image is from the French shopping site

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Recently I’ve been sampling the Jacomo Paris trio of fragrances launched earlier this year as part of its “Jacomo Art Collection” series, which seeks to unite the world of visual design with the art of perfumery. Each fragrance is inspired by a different artist/illustrator, and while all three are very well done (and very affordable), the one that most tickled my fancy—Jacomo #09—is probably the one that would least appeal to serious perfumistas, but why should that stop me? Jacomo #09 eau de parfum draws its inspiration from Swedish illustrator Stina Persson’s watercolor sketch of high-heel shoes and textured stockings. The Jacomo press materials assert that #09 mirrors the “curvaceous and sensual, yet surprisingly soft” nature of Persson’s work, and while this statement rings true (especially the part about it being soft), you can ignore the company’s other description, pegging #09 as a fragrance for a “flamboyant” woman.

An Olfactory Picture of Mango: Jacomo #09

Just as Persson’s sketch seems to be a study of small patterns and shapes that playfully combine in such a way as to express a larger emotion, Jacomo #09 strikes me as a fragrant study of the many delicate facets that illuminate its star note: mango. Can any other fruit match the delightfully complex aromas of the mango?  In Mango Summers: Short Stories from the Key West Authors’ Coöp, writer Margit Bisztray’s story, “Leaf Woman,” finds its emotional pivot on a whiff of the mango’s intricate perfume. Her main character, a young woman who has moved to Key West to experience the laid-back island lifestyle of her imaginings, only to find herself feeling harried from juggling two hectic yet menial jobs in the service industry, finally gets a day off to relax. While attempting to quietly read the newspaper on her porch, she is interrupted by a stream of unexpected visitors who pass by her yard, including an old man on a bicycle who lobs a mango into her hands:

“She catches it, stunned. He turns in the middle of the street and throws another into her lap. Then, he bikes away. She holds a mango to her nose. It smells like pine needles and canned, Mandarin oranges. It smells like bee pollen,” Bisztray writes. Further in the story, another character describes the mangoes as smelling like honeysuckle and apricots.

All of these descriptions could aptly be applied to Jacomo #09—a beautiful and gently nectarous scent that is the fruit version of a soliflore. Those who bristle at the notion of a fruity perfume will likely hear these words and ask Why?, to which I can only answer, Why not? I can’t see any philosophical difference in having a rose or lily soliflore, versus a mango soliflore, in one’s fragrance wardrobe, as all three possess a similar sweetness. Because Jacomo #09 accentuates the citrusy facets of mango in its top notes stage, and because the fragrance is rendered in such soft tones (though one wouldn’t think so according to the notes, which are listed as lemon zest, orange pulp, pink peppercorns, praline accord, mango, cinnamon, sandalwood and vanilla), it is actually no more sweet than many other soliflores (including the Serge Lutens lily scent, Un Lys, for example).

There’s a gauzy quality to Jacomo #09 that I’d venture to say comes from a goodly dose of white musk, and it works beautifully here: Jacomo #09 is as breezy as a pair of white fishnet stockings, but the tropical associations of its mango note is recommendation enough for losing one’s stockings and shoes and tying on a pareo instead.

It’s the kind of fragrance that makes one dream of exotic island getaways and that effortless style of island living in which a pretty perfume is one of the few adornments one needs.

October 14, 2010