Friday, August 26, 2011

Perfume Sampling 6 of 14: Parfumerie Generale "L'eau de Circe"

I'm unfamiliar with Parfumerie Generale and again picked a sample based on its mythological associations rather than notes or popularity. However, I finally think I'm getting better at "reading" scents!

Description from Luckyscent:

The legend of Circe, an enchantress in the mythological tale of the Odyssey, greatly inspired the perfumer: She caused the loss of Ulysses’ companions through her magic spells. Eau de CircĂ© is a 'magic potion' exploring a new kind of Oriental perfume: light, aerian with transparency, an evanescent oriental. Captivating and magnetic, it draws it mystery from a precious floral blend of Absolute of Damask Rose, Jasmine, Osmanthus, Orchid, Ylang-ylang, white Peach leaves and Tangerine. Sensual and scheming with Patchouli, Wood and Amber, the warm, caressing Honey Balm brings light and delicate sweetness to the scent.

I say that I'm getting better at deciphering scents because even before referring back to the description above, I applied the EDP and smelled a rich burst of florals along with a side of something curiously oriental. I've never been a fan of the so-called oriental perfumes in the past, though I'm trying to keep an open mind with future experimentation. I'm not sure that I like this mixture. And I imagine that those poor souls who came across Circe in The Odyssey might have felt something similar upon their first meeting with the enchantress.

I had the pleasure of being assigned Lattimore's translation of Homer's The Odyssey about 14 years ago. As you may guess, my memory isn't what it used to be. So today I point you to good old Wikipedia for a quick catch-up session on who/what Circe is all about. The gist of it is that after the sacking of Troy, Odysseus who is the mastermind behind the Trojan Horse which led to the decisive Greek victory, wandered the seas for 10 years before finally landing at his home isle of Ithaca.

I never liked Odysseus and loved Circe for getting the upper hand on him so quickly before he could screw her over the way he did everyone he encountered. The 7 of the 10 years he was kept from home? Circe's fault. She created a magic potion, fed it to Odysseus's crew and turned them all into pigs. What a badass bitch.

Circe Invidiosa, John William Waterhouse (1892)
I think the perfume definitely evokes something of the mysterious nature of Circe and her latent powers.

Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus, John William Waterhouse (1891)

The split personality of the perfume captures the duality of Circe's nature quite well. I mean, you don't keep a man around for seven years just because. (Or do you?) I want to run away from Circe and I want to avoid L'eau de Circe from now on. Either I'm afraid it'll turn me into a pig or Circe and her magic water is just not my thing. The florals are giving me a headache and the vague oriental qualities are making me feel irritated rather than warm and sensual. I feel like it could use something sweet in the mixture to make it more compelling. Perhaps it just doesn't gel with my body chemistry and will smell marvelous on someone else.

The sample cost me $4 and the full bottle stands at USD$100. I will not be purchasing, but as with each sample, the journey is always the most interesting part.

Previous reviews:

Sample 1: Juliette Has a Gun "Not A Perfume"
Sample 2: Sarah Horowitz "Perfect Veil"
Sample 3: M. Micallef "White Sea"
Sample 4: L'Artisan "Verte Violette"
Sample 5: Heeley "Ophelia"

Have you been trying any new, interesting perfumes lately? Let me know if you want a sniff at L'eau de Circe. A second opinion is more than welcome!


  1. I wasn't a fan of Odysseus either :P Jasmine and floral notes aren't really my thing, but I'm trying to figure out other scents I do like. It's a lot of fun, if a bit frustrating. There are so many perfume snobs out there :P

  2. As soon as i see Jasmine in a perfume I put it down. Not a huge fan of it lately. Looks like it's 3 votes for not liking Odysseus!
    No new scents for me lately. I'm waiting to smell Jo Malone's Bluebell to see if I like that. Love your perfume sampling posts!

  3. @Larie - Snobs abound everywhere. That Odysseus - he was a snob for sure!

    @Tracy - I've gotta try Jo Malone stuff at some point. I'm afraid to stop at a counter in case I walk away with a dozen bottles!

  4. I LOVE those paintings! I need to catch up on some artists, I'm so fully locked into the neon insanity of Ed Paschke, and have been for decades.

    I'm trying to remember if I've read that you love any perfumes yet- do you have ones already that you wear regularly? I know you said you loved the Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

  5. I want a print of the second painting over the dining room, lol.

    The only one I love so far from my Luckyscent picks is White Sea. And from your personal samples, Tobacco Vanille and Tango!

  6. Ah, that's right- White Sea! You may like Black Sea too- I love that one. It's bizarre but beautiful.

  7. I'm going to order a sample of that and Yellow Sea as well. Is there a M. Micallef perfume that isn't great?

  8. I don't love all of them, but there are many that are good to great. It's a very nice line, but I'm not sure how they're doing, they haven't released a new fragrance in awhile.

  9. I can't stand heavy clawing scents. And this sounds like that. I think it may very well turn us into pigs, or attract them. Either way sounds like a bad time. So what kind of scents do you like?

  10. @D - It's not heavy at all but perhaps it manages to be "clawing" despite. I didn't describe it very well but I couldn't wait to wash it off me. It's also hard to say what I do like or not because my taste is all over the place and lately it's evolving somewhat. My recent fave discovery is Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. And here's a link to my perfume inventory:


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