Parfumerie Générale is a curious outfit. Perfumer Pierre Guillaume has a penchant for heavy, gourmand orientals that very often sit precariously on the divide between the delicious and the indigestible. Personally, whilst I respect the quality and artistry of the PG fragrances I must admit that I find this style somewhat difficult to stomach and as yet haven’t found any of M. Guillaume’s offerings tasty, loveable or bottle worthy.
Despite the fact that the brand is classified in my brain as ‘interesting but not for me’ I am always keen to see what PG is up to. Quality is quality right? And in this world where quality and innovation is often a second thought to the quick-buck marketing campaigns, true artistry is not to be scoffed at. Luckily for me my perseverance has paid off, as it is with his latest release Djhenné that Pierre Guillaume has won me over.
Djhenné was launched in 2012 to celebrate the brand’s 10th birthday. Taking its name from the North African oasis city, Djhenné is a warm, aromatic fragrance that strikes the right balance between dry woods and herbs and the delicious gourmand note of cocoa. I warn you dear reader, this is one is far too easy to digest…
“Surrendering to the sun. Lush oasis, Djhenné is a warm shadow. A leather sheath with gold Wheat and Myrrh, protecting from the burning sun’s shroud, the delicate spearmint leaves and the heady whiteness of Seringa Blossom…”
Blond Leather, Myrrh, Grey Lavender, Mint Leaves, Seringa Blossom, Cocoa Beans, Blue Cedar and Wheat Absolute
How Does it Smell?
As usual with Parfumerie Générale scents, Djhenné is a puzzle. It’s a fragrance that doesn’t reveal itself fully and each of the individual facets are so played down and subtle that it takes a while to fathom out exactly what makes it tick. This is partly the reason why I’ve fallen for it so deeply, it just keeps you guessing and each time I wear it I discover something new.
Djhenné opens with subdued mint and lavender, both of which have a ‘blink and you’ll miss it vibe’ going on. I read somewhere that Pierre Guillaume doesn’t like lavender and wanted to create a lavender for his own tastes. Smelling Djhenné this is quite easy to believe as most of the herbaceous, mentholated nuances of the lavender are removed completely leaving behind only the caramelised, burned aspects that make it so delicious.
The central core appears to be the cocoa which adds a milky texture to soften the other, more angular materials. Thankfully PG has used a much more refined hand with the cocoa here than in other fragrances (I’m looking at you Musc Maori) and this restraint allows the note to act as a mahogany piece of silk that floats above the skin.
With time the leather and wood notes become much more pronounced and in harmony they rub off one another to amplify a healthy dose of velvety vanilla. Underneath this there is a subtle level of skank reminiscent of warm skin that burns like warm embers and adds to the overall depth of the fragrance. The whole thing then does a bit of a 360 degree spin, as if to keep you on your toes, by bringing out the herbal, aromatic notes of the opening once again for a final bow. It really is fabulous!
Djhenné is an unusual scent. It’s not conventionally aromatic or woody, nor is it conventionally gourmand. It seems to sit astride all three genres to create something new, exciting and so easy to wear that I am having to keep my credit card under lock and key for fear of spontaneous purchase. Not that I’d regret it…
Djhenné is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum. The 50ml and 100ml can be found at Les Senteurs in the UK with prices ranging from £81.50-£117.50.
Sample via Les Senteurs. Notes and quotes via Parfumerie Generale. Image 1 apetogentleman.com. Image 2 yingyangsuperfoods.com.