Both secret and double… L’Agent by Agent Provocateur The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

“She isn’t even beautiful”

Women, a few of them friends, and some men say.

“That isn’t the point.” Others counter in a knowing way.

“She’s so… attractive, enticing, those curves, that… hell she’s irresistible!”

So explodes one more man she’s made her unconscious prey.

She starts a little prickly: a smiling rebuff, a comment just tetchy enough to incite a little interest.

The verbal equivalent in a modern day format of a puff on a cigarette blown into an admirer’s face made thirty feet high on a forties silver screen.

She’s a leading lady from a different era, a heroine from women’s pictures transplanted to a post-feminist age.

If a man tells a joke she’s not averse to laughing at it funny or no. It’s not the humour that elicits the chuckle but whether the guffaw will get her ahead.

It’s not even as though she’s calculating, cerebrally speaking: she was simply born and raised with an attitude to please in a manner best suited to her own advantage.

Some people scream…

“It’s so old-fashioned!”

Somehow they feel she demeans, her own sex, perhaps both.

Yet when it comes to sex, it’s where she harks back to past decorum most.

For though she fulfils the ideal of many men’s desires, she knows far better than to allow these urges to be translated to the physical too often than would be good for her and her reputation.

For she is known as a flirt.

She is the ultimate tease.

Knowing silk stockings and suspenders in a world of leggings and skinny jeans.

And what If she has a PhD?

So do hundreds of historians. They simply can’t or won’t play the coquette in a cocktail dress!

If they’re not prepared to sandwich themselves between the lugubrious professor and the oleaginous tv producer, cheer one and charm the other’s ego then they mustn’t cry to her to when she’s promoted, or published or appointed to an expert panel.

Because, she isn’t beautiful, and hasn’t ever claimed to be.

But she is astoundingly attractive and clever, enticing too.

She has worked at those curves and, if she’s irresistible, it’s because she’s made herself that way.

L’Agent by Agent Provocateur is no masterpiece perfume.

It is however an adult, sophisticated, well made, pretty and pretty damned alluring scent of the sort modern fragrance manufacturers seem to have so much trouble making.

For producing such a solid not to say seductive, hard-working and wearable piece of perfume, hats off to all concerned!

The opening is interesting: an unusual twist of spice, set against a slightly off key ylang ylang, which is rather pleasant and then a left field note, the angelica listed perhaps? All of which leaves one little unsettled, in a good way, like adjusting to the conversational style of someone who emphatically does not do small talk after an hour at a cocktail party.

The heart is more familiar territory: a smoky, resinous, floral, amber with a touch of powder.

As befits a lingerie manufacturer this is a scent with a distinct tang of the boudoir.

What is unusual is the just how well done, how balanced and poised this familiar accord is. There is depth to the smoke with has a blue, thick quality no doubt heightened by the myrrh which is sweet but not too much so.

The same goes for the amber, which though not sea-like does retain something of salt about it. The patchouli, thankfully, remains very much in the background.

As for the florals, they never really come to the fore, but are always present, especially the rose, which has something of the quality of that aroma one associates with certain fine face creams. The effect again, is just-so, adding a lightness and frivolity to a fragrance that might otherwise be too deep and dark for everyday wear.

All of which brings me back again to notion of well-executed, thought through and thoroughly well balanced perfume.


L’Agent is self-aware without being self-conscious, self-assured but not arrogant, self-possessed but anything but up tight.

It’s an excellent scent for anyone with a personality to match!

A quick aside, I feel this perfume works particularly well on male skin.

Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that if Agent Provocateur had, with the tiniest tinkering to the opening, marketed this to men they might have had a rather large hit on their hands.

Not that I think in any way it’s not lovely on women. It is.

That’s all.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Both secret and double… L’Agent by Agent Provocateur The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Bee

    I don’t really care for this perfume – or I thought I didn’t. Now I feel I have to give it another try – maybe I was too hasty in dismissing it. Thank you for the beautiful prose and the classic pictures of femme fatales. As usual you are a tonic to my dull day.

    • Dearest Bee
      You’re quite right. It’s not mind blowing, in the same way that many of Jane, Rita and Bette’s pictures were far from works of genius.
      But they have a common a sense of being well made, an understanding of what’s needed to make a product (not, by any means a work of art) that pleases.
      Perhaps it’s my partiality both to myrrh and any perfume that has the good manners to be both a little odd at times and to hang around for a decent amount of time, but I rather found myself falling for this one in a way I didn’t really expect to.
      Worth another try I’d say, but not a third glance!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. rosestrang

    I keep meaning to try it properly, though I did try it in a perfume department but my nose was probably overloaded by that stage! Another intriguing review Sir Dandy!

    Great photos, I heard a wonderful interview with Bette Davis on R4 the other day, what a character, so dedicated to her art, we need more of her ilk

    • Dearest Rose
      I heard the same interview I think… one meant to demonstrate how ‘posh’ Dame Jenni Murray sounded when younger!?! To be honest I think that they rather overstated the difference in her speech, though Sue Macgregor’s pluminess was as rich and sweet and delicious as damson jam.
      I can imagine L’Agent slipping under the radar after an afternoon perfume shopping as it’s no stand out scent, but it does have a certain something, a robust, well-constructed quality, a confidence that those stars had and that our neurotic age seems so often to lack in scent and elsewhere.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Lilybelle

    I love this review, and I love your heroine, “she was simply born and raised with an attitude to please in a manner best suited to her own advantage.” There are plenty of those in the south where I was born. I gingerly sampled Agent Provocateur some years ago, not expecting to like it, but…I found myself enjoying it despite myself, “like adjusting to the conversational style of someone who emphatically does not do small talk after an hour at a cocktail party.” (I love that, Mr. D.). I had AG somewhere in the back of my mind for ages, but I never bought one. I don’t think it’s really for me, but I agree with you that it’s well done, and I LOVE your review, as always.

    • Lilybelle

      I meant AP (not AG). ^^ Typo queen.

    • Dearest Lily
      From my brief foray into the South last early Summer I can imagine that there might be a few of our heroine’s sort around those parts.
      I must say I rather like this character creation too, and feel she may well make another appearance some time soon.
      My reaction to L’Agent was just like yours, I found myself enjoying it despite myself, an odd sort of emotion and not one that I think would carry me all the way to buying it… at least not for The Dandy’s personal use, I have some friends who might well take to it though….
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Now, I haven’t sampled Agent Provocateur, the perfume, but I have been in their shop in LA… Inky black walls, or was it aubergine? Wispy strappy… I don’t think you could call them garments (more like play togs)… and a sense bemusement from yours truly. I guess you could say I’m not their target audience anymore. But I love scents that incorporate that hint of rose, like in a face cream. Maybe this old doyenne will have to revisit.

    • Dearest V
      The rose here is buried deep in swirls of bluish smoke and dishes of myrrh, but I know the exact scent of antique cosmetic rose to which you refer.
      The best analogue I’ve ever found for it is actually a scented candle by a company called Parks. Their Rose and Patchouli is a nostalgic aesthetic creme trip of a thing, well worth the $50 bill, now and again.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Nena

    Wonderful review! I haven’t worn it in ages, since it’s a bit too warm for it. But when autumn comes, I think I’ll have to dig it out and wear it again.

    • Dearest Nena
      As you can well imagine, it’s just the weather for it right now over here!
      Unlike the skimpy lingerie that the company that shares the name makes, this is a warm blanket of a scent to wrap oneself up in on a cold Autumn or even Winter day.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. rickyrebarco

    I’ve never tried any of these scents. The reviews of this house are so divisive that I don’t know that I even want to spend $ on a sample!

    • Dearest Ricky
      The Dandy doesn’t look at reviews in advance of writing so I wasn’t aware of hostility towards L’Agent, though I had a suspicion some people might be rather dismissive of it.
      Other than the slightly (very slightly) odd opening, I don;t think there’s much to offend here, it’s more some, yourself included, might find it a little ‘been done before’.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. You have summed up so eloquently exactly what this scent is about: not a masterpiece fragrance but one of the best commercial releases in recent years! And yes, it does smell great on masculine skin! But shouldn’t all good scents be able to?

    Thanks for writing about this one

    • Dearest Christos
      Thank you for such kind words.
      I agree this is an excellent mainstream release, a reminder what the market used to be able to achieve so easily but doesn’t do very much anymore!
      And absolutely, surely all good scents should be liberated and made available to all!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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