Perfume Pen Pals: The Different Company Rose Poivree


As you know, this The Different Company Rose Poivrée drama of mine goes back over a decade. I'd owned a big canister of the original civet-heavy formulation, the one that Luca Turin famously said smelled like dirty underwear, and because I was young and I thought perfumes had to smell nice, I never had the nerve to wear it and finally sold it off.

At the time, I knew nothing of reformulations and figured if I ever developed an appreciation for smelling like dirty underwear, I'd know just where to look.

Surprising to everyone who doesn't love perfume (and to no one who does), I did develop that appreciation and, alas, by then Rose Poivrée had changed from dirty underwear to a proper peppery rose.

And while I'd found a couple people selling bottles of the "original formulation," they were both liars, lying liars pawning off bottles of pretty rose perfume. (I do realize there are probably worse people in the world.)

I suspect even you were dubious about my scent memory, especially after you'd asked Jean-Claude Ellena to talk about the formulation's change and he wouldn't do it and instead passed off some nonsense about our noses becoming accustomed over the years to the original scent and now it doesn't seem so radical.

Rubbish, I said, and I had a small sample of the original to prove it. But prove it to whom? Jean-Claude was never going to stop by my house (I cleaned a lot before you came over, can you imagine the work I'd have to do ahead of a visit from Jean-Claude Ellena?), and none of my friends care. For which I'm grateful because if I surrounded myself with people like me, I'd never escape this rabbit hole.

Jean-Claude Ellena mischievously planning a surprise visit to Dan's house.

Back to the rabbit hole: last week I bought my third bottle of Rose Poivrée "original formulation" from an unknown person on eBay, it arrived this afternoon, and as I unscrewed the top, before I even put the bottle to my nose, I knew the seller was not a lying liar and instead an angel, a perfect living angel who had just sold me a bottle of perfume that smells aggressively like dirty underwear.

This is the real thing, KP, and anyone who says Rose Poivrée's formula hasn't changed is welcome to come over here and sample my bottles side-by-side. Though if you're Jean-Claude Ellena, you'll need to give me at least a week to clean the place up.



I love your triumph at being right about the underpantsiness of the real RP.

But aside from the smug satisfaction, what other pleasure can you possibly glean from the stuff? Will you just hold onto it for reference? Because while you claim to have developed an appreciation for smelling like man-gusset, I'm not really buying it.



I'm not sure I would've come to the man-gusset comparison on my own (in fact I'm sure I wouldn't have), but RP definitely smells of unwashed bodies. Seriously, I don’t believe any formula has changed as much as this one has. And that includes Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner!

I like it and I think I can wear it. It's basically just sweaty and slightly masculine (I think because of the pepper).

I smell French! And considering I am French (according to my genetic ancestry breakdown), it's all coming together for me.


Sears underwear via

Fumes in the News: What Does David Bowie Smell Like?

David Bowie is described as “the best-smelling human I ever met”, by Arcade Fire musician Will Butler.

The Thin White Duke's fumes came up in Butler's conversation with BBC 6 Music's morning goddess Lauren Laverne last week while promoting his debut solo album Policy.

Never one to let an intriguing detail slip away, Laverne pounced, insisting firmly, “I am going to require some more adjectives. How would you describe the smell of David Bowie?”

Perfume Pen Pals: Frapin 1270, Paradis Perdu and Speakeasy


Have you tried any of the Frapin fragrances? Until recently, I hadn't. There are entire perfume lines that don't interest me. I don't know why and I'm so apathetic I don't care to investigate why. I see the word "Frapin" and I don't even remember liking perfume.

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique had been around for 20 years by the time I discovered it in the early 90s. I started off admiring it from a distance: even the most tentative spray hurled a lavish, densely-packed cloud of flowers, moss and woods into the air around me. I wasn't sure I could deliver on the promise of this perfume.

Perfume Pen Pals: Neutrogena Rainbath


For me, summer vacation has come to mean traveling from one house in which I don't write to another house in which I also don't write. The vacation houses are always more scenic than my own but they also have more ants and less water pressure and so my state of mind remains about the same.

This year would have been no different if only on the morning of my departure I hadn't tried to carry too many things, stumbled and, with great force, slammed my leg into the stairs. People always say accidents happen in slow motion but for me the accident was instantaneous and it was the whole week after the accident that happened in slow motion.