Struggling to find a good quality citrus that you can really get on with? Marcel and Marcelle are two scents from the French perfume house, Marie Jeanne. They offer exceptional quality ingredients in classical note combinations but manage to make the resulting scents smell fresh, invigorating and utterly sophisticated.
The two fragrances are related in that they share similar notes and temperaments so we are putting them together to go head to head.
Marie Jeanne are a young perfume house which has grown from the perfume ingredient suppliers and brokers, Robertet. Robertet deal in fine, natural perfume ingredients from all over the world and now, one of their family, Georges Maubert, has branched out into perfume creation as well. Marcel and Marcelle are their only two eau de colognes at the moment, but they also stock a range of candles and an eau florale.
Bergamot, lemon, blood orange, rosemary, petitgrain, ylang-ylang, patchouli, vetiver, cedar, tonka and labdanum.
How it wears
Marcel is such a classic cologne type fragrance, and that is observable from the very first spray. It opens with a really zesty and bright citrus overture that is clear and sparkling yet has a reassuring solidity as the scent wears. The citrus is prominent but not overblown or aggressive, it’s mouthwatering and refreshing.
As it wears Marcel softens a little and the ylang-ylang starts to melt away at the edges, particularly when it is tested on skin and not just the blotter. It gives that soft, inviting floral hints that really make the citrusy notes shine in beautiful contrast. Marcel is one of those scents which is nice on a blotter but it really comes alive on your skin, so we urge you to test it before buying.
We also observed a warm spiciness coming through in the heart which turned more leathery later on. Lavender dances around the fringes of the scent as well and adds that classic, sophisticated nuance to what became a very pleasant herbaceous vibe in the heart of the scent.
The transition between ingredients and notes in Marcel is seamless, you can’t spot a note coming to the fore until you realise that the scent has transformed under your nose, it’s very beautiful to experience and feels very much as if it is unfurling as you observe.
There’s a beautiful, restrained sweetness in the base from the patchouli, but again, it’s never overdone. This is definitely a perfume that leaves you wanting more, in a very good way – it never overdoes anything, which makes it a delight to wear. You never have to live through those sub-optimal moments to get to the good stuff, this is sublime through and through.
The woods in the base complement the other notes, adding a rich smoothness to the composition and meaning that everything hums along beautifully together.
Bergamot, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, neroli, petitgrain, jasmine, musk, amber, benzoin.
How it wears
The bergamot is somewhat more evident in the top of Marcelle and it couples with the huge, zesty lemon to create the most beautiful citrusy cloud of scent. One thing that we really liked was the fact that at no point did the lemon stray into the “washing-up liquid” side of citrus, they always stay true and un-synthetic in the way that they smell. This is the case for both Marcel and Marcelle and is testament to the quality of the ingredients used. The citrus is enhanced in Marcelle by the addition of a sour grapefruit that lurks in the background, making your mouth water. Its really lovely and we can see it delighting anyone who is seduced by a citrus scent.
We found that the scent of Marcelle moved much less throughout than Marcel did. In some ways this one feels like a much less complex scent, although you can’t really accuse either of being cluttered. Marcelle retains the citrus for longer than it’s partner scent but a herbal nuance creeps in as the perfume ages on skin. It felt like this was a trick of the brain when we studied it closely – its probably the benzoin emerging, but coupled with the citrus and neroli it felt more like a dried, leathery leafiness.
And then, finally, there is a warm, benzoin and amber base which is cosy but not claustrophobic. It made us think of sitting in a log cabin wrapped in a shawl with the breeze from outside bringing fresh, crisp air in from the forest.
The other stuff
Neither Marcel or Marcelle are loud perfumes, they’re just far to effortlessly chic to be that. The projection isn’t massive on either, below handshake distance, but for both it is gorgeously citrusy. Marcel in particular feels like a scent which wouldn’t be as successful if it shouted its virtues louder.
The longevity on both scents is low to moderate, Marcel lasted longer – until about mid afternoon from an early morning application. Marcelle seemed to go three or four hours before it was almost impossible to detect. Bear in mind though, that both are eau de cologne scents so less powerful longevity and projection is expected (although that doesn’t always follow entirely).
If we had to decide, we would pick Marcel as being our favourite. Although we adore the citrus vibrancy of Marcelle, there’s just the added complexity and interesting maturation of Marcel that we really liked. It also lasted longer and that matters to us here at The Sniff.
Marcel and Marcelle are available from Bloom Perfumery, London, who kindly supplied us with samples of both these scents.