FLORAL WOODY MUSK
An allergen-free, fresh, suave cologne for the whole family. The floral opening blends white neroli and jasmine with fruity notes of yellow mandarin. Aloe vera and agave leaves add an aquatic, vegetal softness to the fragrance, which evolves towards a soft, comfortable woody musky base, for a “cocoon” effect.
I’ll give Phaedon credit for accurate ad copy (well, I don’t have the tools to check for allergens, but I’ll let you know if I do develop a rash) – L’Eau de Phaedon is what the ad copy says it is. That said, if I had to sum it up in one phrase, it would have to be “cotten/linen-esque room spray”. L’Eau de Phaedon is boring. I don’t see how it can offend anyone, unless you’re the sort who’s offended by boring things.
Oh, L’Eau de Phaedon opens with neroli and jasmine alright. But don’t expect lush, sexy white flowers. The jasmine has been neutered, and any indolic, fleshy qualities that you might expect from jasmine have been tasered out of existence. What remains is a thin, reedy jasmine, the sort you find in cheap, synthetic jasmine oils. I would know, I obtained a 10ml roller bottle of jasmine oil some years back for 3 Singapore dollars (approximately £1.50), and smelling L’Eau de Phaedon brought that to mind almost immediately. I don’t know about you, but I find that in certain perfumes that contain white florals, there is a certain scratchiness and astringency that comes together with the white floral; if you’d like an example for comparison, do give Song in D Minor by Tokyo Milk a try. L’Eau de Phaedon suffers from this same quality as Song in D Minor, although to a lesser, gentler extent. The scratchiness here also does recede after some time, so it’s not too bad.
There’s also what you’d call ‘aloe vera’ in L’Eau de Phaedon. I use the word ‘aloe vera’ in inverted commas because if you’ve eaten or smelt actual aloe vera, there isn’t really much of a smell, although it does make for a refreshing drink. I suppose what an ‘aloe vera’ note is supposed to convey is clean, watery pulpiness…? In any case, the ‘aloe vera’ here is reminiscent of The Body Shop’s Aloe and Soft Linen Body, Room and Linen Spritz, which is actually quite calming, and which I’ve actually used on occasion to scent my sheets before bedtime. Because it evokes CLEAN in capital letters, I suppose it inspires some sense of tranquility, although this is more an indication about how we’ve been conditioned to interpret cleanliness as pleasant and soothing. I’ve never actually smelt agave leaves so I can’t comment on its presence here. In any case, L’Eau de Phaedon is softer even than its Body Shop counterpart, which means that it hums at the level of an almost silent whisper.
As far as its drydown is concerned, L’Eau de Phaedon is musk indeed, although it must be said that this isn’t a stonking, animalic musk à la Musc Tonkin or Musc Koublai Khan, but rather, a dreary laundry musk. Again, CLEAN is the word of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against clean. Clean can be exciting, clean can be sexy and clean can be cerebral. Think White Linen by Estée Lauder, for example, where aldehydes were used to electrify the rest of the ‘clean’ composition. Or even Phaedon’s very Coton Egyptien, that incorporated a green, spiky galbanum to great effect. But there comes a point where clean becomes lifeless, where it crosses the line that separates the somethings from the nothings. And L’Eau de Phaedon crosses that line. As if to drive home the point, it really does fade into nothingness a mere half an hour after spritzing (well, you could catch traces of laundry musk if you tried really, really hard). I’d go so far as to say that it doesn’t even warrant a ‘meh’, which makes me wonder why I’ve even written so much about nothing in particular. I suppose it’s much ado about nothing.
In short, there really isn’t anything redeeming about L’Eau de Phaedon, and it fades (pardon the pun) in comparison to Phaedon’s other much better offerings, such as the aforementioned Coton Egyptien, Dzhari and Tabac Rouge.
L’Eau de Phaedon will be released on 15 March 2014. I was gifted a sample of L’Eau de Phaedon by Bloom Perfumery.
~ The Smelly Vagabond