Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.
Madame Carven loved to travel, so much so in fact, that the brand has launched Collection Carven, a selection of seven fragrances that celebrate Madame Carven’s journeys from Paris to a number of exotic cities. Collection Carven ties the spirit of the brand’s couture into themes of discovery and exoticism, resulting in seven distinct fragrances. I was sent two to try: Paris-Izmir (a trip to a field of roses in Turkey) and Paris-Bangalore (a voyage to delicate treats in India). Both are very different as well as completely unlike anything else the brand has done so far, so let’s put them to the speed sniff test!
Paris-Izmir transports one on a journey from France to Turkey, carrying the wearer on a wave of roses. In fact, the description promises a “riot of roses” and that’s exactly what it delivers. Paris-Izmir is a fizzy, spicy rose with as much blackness as redness. The roses are juicy and jammy, with a sticky richness that is decadent and excessive. Patchouli provides contrast, as it so often does in rose-based compositions, blending with pepper to create a sharpness against the bloody backdrop of the rose. Paris-Izmir starts out neon red and bold (with a weirdly soft menthol facet) but as it dries down it blurs into a smooth blend of soft spices, making for a satisfying olfactory journey. It pleases this rose freak, for sure.
Working as a complete polar-opposite to Izmir, Paris-Bangalore evokes India in an unusual way. Rather than opting for incense and spices, like cardamom, Paris-Bangalore celebrates vanilla. Now before you get worked up, put your Gaviscon away because this is not a sickly sweet cupcake vanilla (the type that would make for yet another, horrifying Yankee Candle edition), no, this is a dry, woody vanilla with an almost flour-like texture. I get flashes of Bois Farine in the form of a grainy, nutty vibe amongst the vanilla and tonka. The whole thing is very soft and subtle, with a hint of rum to add a touch of headiness. Paris-Bangalore is a good scent for those who want a vanilla that isn’t quite so fleshed out.
I’d file these two under the category of ‘nice but unremarkable’. Please don’t take that as as shade though, because both Paris-Izmir and Paris-Bangalore are very nicely put together, and each has very enjoyable elements to it. Take Izmir, for example, the jammy, fruity vibrancy of the roses is contrasted beautifully by dark spices, making for a delicious and complex signature. Then there’s Bangalore, an ode to vanilla with a soft drop of rum. Both are really lovely fragrances but there’s nothing wildly unique about them. They may speak of voyages to exotic places but the olfactory landscapes they cover are most certainly not unchartered. That said, they’re not without interest and if I had to pick a favourite it would definitely be Izmir. Who can resist a riot of roses? Not me, that’s for sure!
Sniff These if…
…you fancy an exotic treat to get you through the winter. If you’re a fan of Carven you will find these two quite different, so they’re definitely for those who want something a little bit more off the beaten track than what the brand currently offers.
Paris-Izmir and Paris-Bangalore are available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £140. In the UK the collection is exclusive to Selfridges.
Samples, notes and quotes via Carven. Images are my own.