Clarins : Par Amour

Created by : Raphael Haury

Date : 2005

Genre : Rose wood

Concentration : eau de parfum

When Gertrude Stein said, “There is no there there” she was talking about her home in Oakland, California but she might as well have been talking about Clarins’ Par Amour.  Launched as part of a mother-daughter set along with Par Amour Toujours edt (which I loved) Par Amour never seems to show up… and when it does, it outstays its welcome.  It’s similar to PAT but without the citrus notes and with the cedar note turned up loud.

For me, it smells like an infinished work… a sketch of a perfume that was perhaps the least offensive of a group and is missing a very important note… the beauty note.  I’m wondering if they ran out of money during the development phase because Par Amour Toujours (the “daughter” scent) is so beautiful and this one is so flat.  Think of cedar.  Then… add cedar.  Then… add more cedar.  Give it a rose subtext… I think.

I don’t know any women who would wear this kind of composition.  For that matter, I don’t know any men either.  It smacks of those hideous mother-daughter matching outfits… when it’s always mom who ends up looking ridiculous.  The daughter scent, Par Amour Toujours, is fabulous.  Par Amour, the “recut and resized” mother version, is well… not so fabulous.

This sad story ends with good and bad news.  The good news is that Par Amour has been discontinued.  The bad news?  They’ve discontinued Par Amour Toujours as well.  If they were smart, they would relaunch Par Amour Toujours, give it a new name and lose the little girl, pink valentine theme.  The juice is great.

P.S.  Both are still widely available on discount perfume websites.

Clarins : Par Amour Toujours

Created by : Raphael Haury

Date : 2005

Genre : Citrus floral

Concentration : eau de toilette

I would never have tested Clarins’ Par Amour Toujours if I had not read in Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’  Perfumes: The Guide that it was beautiful.  I didn’t even know that Clarins made fragrances and even if I knew, I wouldn’t have expected much.  The fact is that Par Amour Toujours, despite its over-the-top name and its Little Lady bottle with a heart on top, is clearly a stunning, balanced, citrus-rose scent with a convincing tangerine opener that pulls you in and keeps you coming back for more.

In perfumery, roses are tough.  When they go over the top, they are heavy and they remind me of funeral parlors.  If you’re going to create a rose perfume, you had better know what you are doing.  This one is perfect and it reminds me of those lemon-scented roses that  I once grew back when I had a small garden.

For musicians, the best way I can describe Par Amour Toujours is that it is a major third interval with the citrus note being the upper note and the rose note grounding the harmony three degrees lower.  It’s that balanced and pretty.

Whenever I am asked to recommend perfumes for people who don’t love perfumes, I recommend scents that are  recognizable.  Chypres (or what’s left of them) are too complex.  Ambers can be too sexy.  Leathers are too sophisticated.  Abstract florals are too, well… abstract.  I start people off on scents that speak to them in words that they can understand and I can’t think of a better starter perfume for anyone than Par Amour Toujours.  It’s perfect for teenage girls and for anyone out there looking for a light, summer scent.  Surprisingly for an eau de toilette which usually lasts no longer than 6 hours, this one lasts pretty well all day.  And, it’s inexpensive so the value is excellent.

Although clearly marketed to women (girls, even) with little pink hearts on the box, Par Amour Toujours can be worn by men because it’s simple and the rose note is a subtext to the citrus top.  Just keep the bottle in its box and hide the box in your underwear drawer… so that only thieves will find it while they are looking for your wallet.


Image : Roses in a Champagne Glass (1882) by Edouard Manet

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