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There are a fair few louche, boozy scents out there but what sets apart Liqueur Charnelle is the clever frosted raspberries accord. Tart, icy and unexpected, it lifts this dissolute fragrance out of the ordinary and gives it a clever twist.
As you may be aware, Huitieme Art Parfums has been subsumed into the Parfumerie Generale line, but remains a distinct collection.
Released in 2014, Liqueur Charnelle (“Carnal Liquor”) takes its inspiration from the bouquet of cognac. It includes notes of pink pepper, elemi, black pepper, cognac, linden blossom, blond tobacco, cedarwood, vetiver and raspberries.
The raspberries are present from the start, sprinkled with lots of pepper and a dash of lemon. They’re dipped in alcohol, which warms on the palate before radiating outwards.
The booze is exceptionally smooth with no after-burn. I expect this striking beginning to disappear but it persists.
Huitieme Art fragrances are known for shunning the traditional pyramid structure, therefore it’s no surprise that Liqueur Charnelle is largely a linear composition.
It just ebbs and flows a little over time. The lemon and pepper recede after a short while and a woody, smoked vanilla emerges in the far drydown. At this late stage it becomes just a little powdery. However the berry/cognac combination at its core remains constant until its final hours.
Liqueur Charnelle seems to be aimed more at men and although it leans towards the masculine, I don’t see any reason why the guys should have all the fun.
It has moderate projection and lasts into the night.
Although I am still to find a boozy fragrance which works for me, I do think Liqueur Charnelle is extremely well done. It’s head-turning and hedonistic without being weighty or high-pitched. The berries prevent it from being too intense or serious so it carries its licentiousness lightly.
Being as self-conscious as I am, I’ve often been rather envious of those who can knock back a few drinks and rapidly lose their inhibitions. The raspberry flavoured shot of Liqueur Charnelle gives me a hint of that giddy, reckless feeling.
It’s lighter and more contemporary than Guillaume’s other elegantly debauched fragrance, the baroque boozy amber of Daimiris for Laboratorio Olfactivo. In contrast, Liqueur Charnelle embodies the modern luxury aesthetic of clean lines, sleek design and muted colours.
Although I think it’s wearable for any occasion, there is a certain scenario it brings to mind…
Two people meet up for an illicit assignation under the cover of darkness. The location is a deluxe hotel room with amazing city views and minimalist décor with an anonymity about it that is very fitting. For most people it’s the early hours of the morning, but for them it’s very late at night and there’s not a moment to lose.
What do you think of the Huitieme Art line? Any favourites?