How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every shining flower!
~ Isaac Watts
Sometimes, in the cause of making The Sniff as interesting and varied as possible, we have to test things that we wouldn’t normally pick for ourselves. Sometimes that means slogging through a scent which clashes with our own personal tastes for a couple of days. Sometimes, however, it means becoming totally entranced by a scent which would never normally cross our radar. Pure Azure by Phaedon is one of those glorious finds (even if it is really hard to say; rural juror, anyone?).
Soft, feminine, powdery, with ribbons of greenery running through it, Pure Azure is a classy, retro formula that evokes a romantic evening spent sipping cocktails under fig trees.
We have previously reviewed the delightful Pluie de Soleil by Phaedon if you wish to take a closer look at another of the floral delights from their range.
Phaedon are an established French house who also manufacture scented candles and room fragrances.
If you didn’t know better you might overlook this perfume; it’s not controversial or challenging to wear, the notes are pretty ubiquitous, the house fairly standard. If you did overlook it, however, you might end up kicking yourself because it’s a right corker that delivers way beyond what one might expect. It certainly delivered more than we imagined.
When you spray this perfume initially, you get a vibrant cloud of glorious scent that seems to leap from your skin. It’s green buds, almost tomato-leaf in it’s energetic vibrancy. On the skin of one of our testers this was really vividly fig-leaf-like, on others the fig is less prominent although still discernible.
And herein lies the first thing that is really nice about this scent: it’s a chameleon, one of those scents that really adapts to the wearer so that you experience a combination of your skin and the scent working together. This will emphasise certain elements on different people and in that way you can be sure that you are wearing something that smells unique.
There are honeyed undertones to the start of this scent, but they play second fiddle to the leafy green botanicals, at least initially. The aromatic greenery is the smell equivalent of plucking a clover flower from a meadow and touching one of the petals to your tongue. Sweet yes, but also verdant and full of life.
As the green recedes the pollen filled blossoms really come out to play, buzzing with energy. Jasmine and neroli (orange blossom) become really high in the mix as the perfume settles. We couldn’t find much citrus in the orange blossom, just lots of honey and an almost prickly pollen scent.
As the perfume wears, the blossom notes become creamy, powdery and utterly delightful. It almost even becomes buttery at times it’s so opulent and satisfying. Imagine sitting in the shade of a magnificent buddleia tree on a warm day, as butterflies and bees collect nectar from the blossoms. The breeze stirs the branches ever so slightly bringing wafts of sweetly perfumed air to you. That’s what it was like to wear this perfume (only without the bees and butterflies).
The honeyed tones continue strongly through to the base of the scent and as they mellow, they are joined by vanilla with a Tonka bean edge, and a salty tang right at the back to add a bit of interest and stop the fragrance from becoming too sickly sweet. This also brackets the scent nicely; at the start the greenery of the fig tempers the sweetness, with the salt at the end performing a similar function.
There’s something rather retro about this scent, perhaps because it’s bold and blowsy, perhaps because it is unashamedly sweet. Either way it smells like something a little older, something that has been refined slowly but which remains classically elegant. Maybe it’s the Helen Mirren of perfume? The only time this should put you off is if you are looking for something avant-garde (but as an aside, please don’t let it put you off!).
There is definitely something timeless about this fragrance and we could imagine it being as good now as it would be in ten or twenty years’ time. If you are looking for something of the moment, then perhaps this is not for you. Try it though, you may decide to ditch the fads and go classic after all.
The other stuff
This scent is unashamedly honeyed. If you don’t like fragrances that are on the sweeter side then exercise caution. As mentioned at the top of the review though, we were completely won over by it, surprisingly so. Not what we would personally normally pick, but ended up absolutely loving it. Added bonus points for the numerous compliments we got whilst wearing it too!
The longevity of the fragrance is excellent, it stayed all day no problem at all. Sillage was moderate, but really lovely; it surrounds the wearer with a honeyed hum which was really uplifting. Despite the punch that this perfume packs, it retains a transparency which keeps it from becoming cloying or soggy and it’s that quality which is very easy to respond to. As a result it’s easy to wear and would suit many occasions although lending itself best to Spring and daytime use.
Pure Azure is marketed as a unisex fragrance, however, it sits distinctly towards the more feminine end of the spectrum. That said, being such an adaptive fragrance it’s not outside the realms of possibility that it would work on male skin and not smell too dandyish.
Pure Azure is available from Bloom Perfume, London, who very kindly supplied us with a sample of this to test (they are so nice and knowledgeable, we really recommend you try them out). It is also available from Phaedon Paris directly. Pure Azure is priced at around £95 for 100ml EDP, and it totally justifies that price in terms of longevity and volume.