It is always a pleasure to get to know a new niche perfume house, and it certainly helps when the perfumer is easy on the eyes! Pierre Guillaune founded his own brand, Parfumerie Générale (a play of words with his own initial) in 2002. His latest creation, numbered 26, is an oriental chypre named after a city in western Turkey, Isparta.
Isparta is inspired by not only the roses growing in the fields, but also what the marketplace in the city would smell like. It begins with rose, one of my favorite notes, mixed with red berries, hence giving it a sweet and sour edge. A few minutes later, the rose and berries join forces with what smells like incense to me. The heart notes are listed as Peru Balsam, Calamus, and patchouli. I would say that patchouli is a pretty predictable element in here, but I can’t really pick it out. Instead, it smells like wood and incense to me. At the same time, the burning incense has a very “creamy” edge, and this creaminess sticks around for some hours.
In all honesty, it is this “creaminess” that I am not so sure about Isparta. If you are normally a fan of very “oriental” scents (whatever that is supposed to mean), you might enjoy the mystery of this creamy woody mixture. For me personally, I enjoy Isparta much more once the base notes start to loom, and it is quite a long list with Olibanum (Frankincense), Bezoin, oud, Ambroxan, and moss. It is interesting to see just how many base notes there are, and I suppose that is why Pierre Guillaune is often praised for his “chemist” approach to the art of perfumery. I don’t smell too much oud on myself, but the other elements are there, and I am happy it is the moss that stays on my skin till the end.
All in all, Isparta is a dynamic creation that is more of an incense-y rose than a woody rose to me. It is a perfume that develops quite a bit over time, and the lasting power is impressive. If rich incense-y smells are your thing, make sure to check out Isparta!
PS: I got my sample from a nice SA at Senteurs d’Ailleurs, which as far as I know, carries Parfumerie Générale exclusively in Belgium.
PPS: If you like sweet/gourmand rose scents, Parfumerie Générale Brûlure de Rose 13 might be worth a whiff. I spritzed some on a piece of paper and knew it wouldn’t be my thing, but if notes such as vanilla, raspberry, and cacao have your name written all over them, give it a go!