October 10, 2012
Quartier Latin, Paris by QT Luong (2003)
One of the benefits of writing about perfume on CaFleureBon is that my piteous begging is sometimes answered from afar. Back in July I reviewed the magnificent oud fragrance from Memo Paris, Shams, which had actually come out late in 2011 but it took me nine months to get some to try. At the end of that review I sent up a plea to the heavens for someone to hook me up with the upcoming release for 2012, Quartier Latin. Clara and John Molloy, the husband and wife creative team behind Memo Paris, heard my sad story and, with an assist from EIC Michelyn Camen, took pity on me. They not only sent me both of the new 2012 releases but a complete sample set to help me fill in the holes in my knowledge of Memo Paris.
Bon Marche Department store
The first piece of knowledge I gained is the entire line is composed by perfumer Alienor Massenet. In the past I have waxed poetically about the unknown perfumer who manages to illuminate and explore a central note in every Memo fragrance. Now I know the answer and I am very pleased to give this talented perfumer her due. The second piece of information is the collection has a collective name “Les Echappees” (The Escapes) which is meant to form an olfactory map of the world with each new release. So for Quartier Latin we head to the Left Bank and to the 5th arrondissement. The Quartier Latin is home to one of the great department stores in Paris, Bon Marche. Quartier Latin was created in honor of Bon Marche’s 160th Anniversary. The most famous institution in the Quartier Latin is La Sorbonne. It was La Sorbonne which gave the Latin to the quartier as the name sprung up because students in the 12th century walked around speaking in Latin which was the language they were taught in. In the 21st century the Quartier Latin is influenced as much by the shopping and cuisine as the students. Mme Massenet focused on a particularly unique note you are likely to run into in the Quartier Latin where the students hang out; that of clove in the presence of Kreteks being smoked. She has taken this scent of clove and wrapped it in a sweet and spicy cashmere scarf to make a uniquely chic and beautiful perfume.
The clove is present right from the start but it seems to have a softer impact than clove I am used to encountering in fragrance. One of the reasons is that Mme Massenet lists clove leaf as the note and that explains the touch of green also present. It really does smell much like a Kretek clove cigarette and it is something I truly enjoyed. Sandalwood and cedar wood add a sweetly woody contrast to the clove and it makes Quartier Latin feel creamy and thick. The base is tonka, which adds its unique hay-like facet of sweet, along with a warm spicy amber. At the final stage everything is mixing together, perfectly balanced, and was something I just kept wanting to experience over and over again.
Quartier Latin has outstanding longevity and average sillage.
So when last I was at the end of a Memo review I pleaded for help to experience the new releases and the Molloys heard my entreaty and granted my wish. Inconsiderate man that I am I have another plea for the Molloys, “Please, please, please find a distributor in North America!” These perfumes are much too good not to be available to every perfumista and the newest, Quartier Latin, fits right in.
Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle of Quartier Latin provided by Memo Paris.
Please Clara & John May I Have More Memo?
I just have to pay my good fortune forward and so thanks to the generosity of Clara and John Molloy of Memo Paris I am going to offer a 2.5mL decant of Quartier Latin from the bottle they sent me for review. To be eligible I am going to use you to amplify my begging voice; leave a comment asking Clara and John Molloy to pretty please bring Memo Paris to your town or country. Cherries on top and fanciful garnishes are encouraged. We will draw one winner from all comments on October 14, 2012.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.
-Mark Behnke, Managing Editor