Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Sadly, the chocolates are no more.  My husband surprised me with an early Valentine's gift of truffles and toffee from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, and since they arrived early in the week, they are now gone, gone, gone!  (Shush!  The boxes look big, I know, but really there aren't that many candies in them.)  Now only the purple heart boxes remain, but there is one consolation: my bottle of Parfums de Nicolaï Sacrebleu came today!

Sacrebleu's creator, Patricia de Nicolaï, hails from perfume aristocracy: she is the granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain and trained under Jean-Paul Guerlain, the now-retired master perfumer of the legendary Guerlain fragrance and cosmetics house that was run by his family for five generations before being bought by the LVMH group.  In 1988, Patricia de Nicolaï became the first woman to recieve the prize for best international perfumer from the French Society of Perfumers.  In 1989, she started her own perfume company, creating scents that she describes as “refined, elegant, and with a certain discretion.”

In French, “Sacrebleu!” is an exclamation of astonishment, akin to “Good Heavens!”  The fragrance, Sacrebleu, smells equivalent to its more literal translation: “sacred blue,” a reference to Christ’s mother, Mary, who is often depicted in blue dress.  At its start, the fragrance has a lemon-drop sunniness, but very soon its top notes of cassis, raspberry, peach and apricot combine with heart notes of carnation, jasmine, tuberose and cinnamon in a most unusual way: this scent, said to be a favorite of Catherine Deneuve's, is like a delicate blackberry wine that has been infused with white flower petals and gentle spices.  Base notes of frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, peru balsam, and tonka bean lend the fragrance a soft and comforting warmth while holding the fruit notes in check.

Sacrebleu is an example of bewitching perfume alchemy.  It reminds me of violet jelly, yet there are no violets in it.  It has the kind of white flower notes (jasmine and tuberose) that usually tend to dominate a composition, and yet here they don't. This fragrance manages to convey heavenly comfort and uncommon beauty in equal measure, and, as such, is something of a rarity.

Sacrebleu's sumptuousness is expressed in the way its tender blue scent surrounds the wearer like a caress.  It's the pashmina shawl you draw around you while you watch the aurora borealis perform its dance in the night sky, as Miles Davis's Kind of Blue album plays in the background.

February 8, 2008:

CANDY IS DANDY, BUT SO TOO IS SACREBLEU

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Sacrebleu is available in the eau de parfum at LuckyScent.com and (for the better buy) at Beautyhabit.com, where the 30 ml and 50 ml bottles run $55 & $80, respectively.

Images: photo of Vosges chocolate box stolen from Good Eats Chicago Instagram page; photo of Sacrebleu bottle is from Fragrantica.com.