Hello fragrant friends! I hope you are all well and enjoy today’s post.
Some perfumes paint pictures, others tell a whole story.
These words first rang true for me when I smelled the wonderful Une Fleur de Cassie by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle for the first time some years ago. Before that, I knew I liked certain scents and why they appealed to me and that others just smelt awful. I could occasionally pick out individual notes, but basically my conclusions were along the lines of: “I love that tuberose” or “I don’t like that perfume.”
Une Fleur de Cassie changed all that. From the first spray, I had a “wow” moment. As it began its luxurious journey on my skin, I finally realised what other fragrance reviewers and bloggers were on about when they spoke of a perfume’s progression, the wonderful journey from top to bottom notes and that a perfume was not just about smelling nice but could be an escape to a different world.
Perfume-wise, it was my lightbulb moment.
Une Fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle 2000
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Cassie, mimosa, clove, cumin and bergamot
Heart: Rose, violet, apricot, aldehydes and salicylate
Base: Musk cetone, cedarwood and sandalwood.
Une Fleur de Cassie is Dominique Ropion’s take on cassie absolute which is extracted from the small yellow blossoms of the acacia farnesiana plant. The perfume opens lush, full and dirty. The cumin note twinned with the cassie and mimosa brings out the dark, fecal notes of the flowers and conjures up not only their dainty yellow buds but roots, stems and leaves. It’s a picture of the whole plant after a strong shower on a cool spring day: buds bruised and battered in the wet and surrounded by muddy puddles. You can smell the flowers’ creamy sweetness but also the rank earthiness of the mud littered with the soiled pinpricks of yellow buds. There’s a fecund and carnal quality hiding behind those delicate flowers, completely raw in its animalic sexiness.
The rose and the violet take over, amplifying the sweet powdery effect of the mimosa, making it brighter and luscious, the apricot intensifying the yellow tones, all golden and rounded. The petals, once damaged and torn by the inclement weather are glowing again, blooming in soft sunlight: the promise of spring’s new dawn. The musk and sandalwood in the drydown is where the almondy powderiness of the cassie and mimosa come into full effect, sprinkling the skin with their delicate sweetness, all soft and angelic.
Whilst I consider Une Fleur de Cassie to be a true love, I do concede that it is not the easiest fragrance to wear. Many others have been put off by the stark, skanky fecal quality of the opening, but I personally love the transition from opulent rankness to delicate sweetness. This paradox makes Une Fleur de Cassie a somewhat bittersweet fragrance, better suited to calm and contemplative moments on a spring or autumn day when there’s a bitey chill in the air and the earth is damp.
Lempicka Painting Photo Stolen irushonok
And the story it tells me is this. A young woman is staying at elegant chateau surrounded by verdant fields and blooms. It’s early morning and she’s been up all night after a party, still clad in her primrose yellow ballgown but her matching satin heels have been long abandoned in the wee, small hours. She’s been thinking, brooding over the events of the night before. Looking out the window, she’s engulfed by the need to be free, the need to roam even though the ground is washed wet by the rain. Barefoot hits muddy earth, but it doesn’t bother her, she delights in the deliciousness of squelchy mud between toes, feels liberated. A smile warms her face as she caresses the mimosa bushes, the sprinkles of raindrops of skin exquisite in their beauty and fragility. The warm touch of sun is a reminder that life can still be full of promise even though she’s trapped by the bounds of melancholy. For last night she met her first love. From the sudden surprise and heart thump, there’s a reminder of what could have been, of what has gone and what will never be. Her smile betrayed by the saltiness of tears.
Modigliani Painting Photo Stolen irushonok
Further reading PerfumePosse and PerfumeSmellingThings
Une Fleur de Cassie is available in Australia from Mecca Cosmetica, $238 for 50ml
In the US, it is available from Barney’s and the Frederic Malle website, starting at US$130 for 3 x 10ml
SurrenderToChance starts at $7/ml