September 5, 2012
My anticipation when I get a new sample is usually directly in proportion with who it is coming from. If it is a brand-new perfumer I spritz with caution and like getting into a swimming pool I creep in at the shallow end until I feel like getting wet. When the sample comes from one of my favorite perfumers, like Pierre Guillaume, I just spray with abandon like diving into the deep end of the pool. This is exactly what happened when my sample of his new Parfumerie Generale No. 22 Djhenne was delivered to me. This time the water was very cold and I came up shaking and sputtering with water going up my nose. I learned right away Djhenne is not a fragrance to apply with gusto it is a fragrance which requires a light application to appreciate the subtle milieu M. Guillaume is trying to create with Djhenne.
Djhenne is a variant spelling of the oasis town of Djenne on the Niger Delta in Mali. This is not the Maria Muldaur “Midnight at the Oasis” kind of oasis. Instead think of frontier trading post of the Sahara; sister town to Timbuktu. For over a thousand years the goods moving through this region of the world were traded in Djenne. M. Guillaume’s Djhenne captures the sense of the trading post in the Saharan sun as a variety of comestibles populate Djhenne the fragrance.
Djhenne starts off with a very sharp and astringent pairing of lavender and spearmint. This was the overload that so shook me the first time I tried Djhenne. If you spray too much this is all sharp edges and it can be very tough going. So much so that if you don’t take care to let it develop you will miss the good part of Djhenne. Sprayed judiciously the lavender and spearmint come across like a cool balm to the sweaty brow and a bit of what is called seringa blossom, in the note list, adds a bit of orange blossom character to blunt any tendency for the early going to get sharp. In the press materials M. Guillaume says the remaining notes in Djhenne are to come together to create a “blond leather accord” but that never happened on my skin. The remaining notes stayed steadfastly in their own place in my olfactory consciousness and so a powdery cocoa mixes with a hay-like wheat absolute and the base is sun dried cedar with a hint of myrrh to add back the sweetness of the wood bleached out by the sun.
Djhenne has excellent longevity and below average sillage.
Djhenne was a different experience for me with one of M. Guillaume’s creations. I had a hard time until I took some baby steps to approach it. I also wonder if others are going to experience the “blond leather accord” that never came together on my skin. Because of that I wonder if this is just one where my skin is somehow not allowing for M. Guillaume’s vision to flower fully. In any case this twenty-second Parfumerie Generale fragrance is worth a trip to the oasis to see how you experience it.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Osswald NYC.
Thanks to Osswald NYC we have two 2mL carded samples to giveaway. To be eligible leave a comment on your favorite Parfumerie Generale fragrance. We will draw two winners on September, 9, 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