Following on from our review of Cacao Azteque by Perris Monte Carlo, and continuing our exploration of chocolate scents, Anti-blues, by renowned gourmand perfume maestro Pierre Guillaume, takes chocolate to the pinnacle of decadent, edible deliciousness but winds it through with a thread of incense.
Incense, vetiver, cacao wood, saffron, amyris, hay, dark chocolate, vanilla, leather, tobacco.
Imagine you are a child, full of childish appetites and tempers. Now imagine that it is your birthday, something like the 8th or 9th. You’re old enough to start to know your own mind, but still young enough to need comfort and your parents close by.
Lights dimmed, your loved ones have crowded around the dining table, shiny paper hats sitting atop their heads and party poppers scattered across the plastic table cloth. The singing has finished, the candles are blown out – although faint traces of their enticing smoke linger in the air – and the knife has slid its way through the layers of the cake. A slice is hauled out and presented to you on a little paper plate that seems almost too flimsy to contain its heft.
Eyes closed you inhale, a childish, greedy inhale of the chocolate cake you are about to devour. You can smell the crumbly cake, the sweetness, a nutty and dense texture which is part smell and part taste, and under it all, the blissful thrum of milky chocolate, intoxicating your senses, making you salivate in expectation of the first bite. You want to dive in head first and devour it, burying yourself in the sweet exuberant decadence, but you know if you do you’ll get told off, so you restrain yourself to a sticky-fingered mouthful, and half resent that you will have to share this delight with your friends and family.
This is what the start of Anti-Blues smells like.
The heart of Anti-Blues matures into a somewhat more grown up scent. The incense enters the picture, and at times it reads a bit like warm bitumen, which was very pleasing. The contrast of this to the sweet and almost charmingly naive start was interesting, albeit gently, handled.
The chocolate, which occupies a significant but now waning portion of the perfume, takes on a slightly boozy quality that reminded us of those chocolate liquors Grandma used to drink. It has that sort of comforting familiarity about it.
A powdery tone, which has been present since the start of the fragrance now becomes a little more floral and dry – it almost feels like a gentle, paper-thin orris type of note. The dryness is unquestionable though and it steers the scent away from being too edible, too cakey, bringing it into the realms of the more sophisticated gourmand.
There is a point in the evolution of this perfume, when you feel as if you are peeling back layers and layers of translucent paper to reveal the next chapter underneath. The fragrance moves in subtle but significant ways.
Once Anti-Blues has fully matured, hay, but a scent like the memory of hay whispers through. It’s the sort of sweet grassiness that might linger on clothes after you’ve spent a day in the fields. It isn’t bold or particularly strong, but it does add a nuance of complexity to the scent which adds interest and enjoyment.
Vanilla sweetness and a little smokey earthiness round the fragrance out, along with a supple leathery note. The leather is, again, quite subtle but adds a touch of strength and a soupçon of backbone.
The way that Anti-Blues ends its journey is very different to how it starts, and when you compare the initial experience to the final moments of a wear, its impressive how far the scent has managed to shift without you really noticing it move at all. The final few bars of the scent are dry, sweetly woody and more floral than you would possibly imagine from the beginning.
The other stuff
The projection of this fragrance and its longevity are the areas which we felt that Anti-Blues could have given a bit more. The scent doesn’t seem to project very far at all, and although it lasts an acceptable length of time – around 4-5 hours – for the latter half of that time it is significantly reduced in potency and becomes almost a skin scent only. This won’t be a problem for the many people that will enjoy this pretty fragrance, but it felt to us like we just wanted it to have a little bit more oomph.
The gender of Anti-blues is surprisingly unisex, but perhaps leaning a little more on the feminine side. The fragrance felt most suited to the cooler autumn and winter months, when the cosy and soothing chocolate notes would be a welcome treat.
If you liked this fragrance, you should also check out PG 04 Musc Maori by Pierre Guillaume as well.
The Pierre Guillaume brand are like a gateway drug for niche fragrances. They’re very accessible yet high quality and gently lead you to places you may not have thought possible if your experience of fragrance was centred around the designer end of the market thus far. We’d highly recommend them to someone wanting to dip a toe in the water and start to branch out a little.
We’ve previously reviewed Sunsuality, from the White Collection, PG 9.1 Komorebi, PG 03 Cuir Venenum, PG 04 Musc Maori, PG 5.1 Suede Osmanthe, PG 16 Jardins de Kerylos and the exceptional Bois Naufrage. Also by Pierre Guillaume we’ve looked at Superlady, Sucre d’Ebene, Shermine, Aqaysos, Jangala and Tonkamande.
Anti-Blues is available from Bloom Perfumey London where it is priced at £195 for 100ml EdP, or £135 for 50ml. Bloom very kindly supplied us with a sample of this fragrance with no-strings-attached.
You can also buy this scent from the Pierre Guillaume web boutique.