It came like a thief in the night… Bandit by Robert Piguet The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

The papers christened her ‘The Black Glove’.

He called her Bonnie and she called him Clyde.

And not one reporter in Cannes suspected that the crimes were the work of a double act.

They knew she was she, but they all had her down as a solitary sort of cat.

Anyway they had bigger things to vex them than a jewel thief, no matter how alluring.

It was May 1968.

A year after their first date in the cinema Reflet Medicis just off the Boulevard St Michel: all damp and decayed plush smelling of moss and leather and the small animals who no doubt made their home there.

Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway were in a shoot ‘em up up on the screen while in the pit they resolved to live gangsters’ lives together.

He was the brains, her Serge, and she was the willing flesh, his Brigette.

He knew the diamond trade, not only who sold what, but who bought, who was looking to sell and who was sitting on the good stuff.

She could, the result of a past life, slide up walls like they were dance floors and crack a safe as easily as a peanut shell.

So when the trouble kicked off in the big city they decided to hit the coast.

They would catch the movie crowd in time to bag their jewels before they jetted out of the ruined Festival and the frenzy that France had become.

In that heat and the confusion of cancelled cocktail parties, suspended screenings and endless squabbles in the Grande Salle, our pair lifted more wealth than they had in twelve months on the road.

Every time this Miss Parker struck, following the detail of her Mr Barrow’s plans to the point, she left behind her a small bouquet of flowers for the former owner: the last of the spring’s violets smelling more of soil than petal, some gardenia, the odd carnation for colour and an off white rose.

The police thought they could track her down through florists.

But it was Clyde who collected the corollas from the gardens of the victims’ villas as he cased out their joints and the gems.

The earthy odour should have told the Inspectors these blooms were not shop bought, perhaps they would have done had the police not been more perturbed about politics that year.

And then there was the smell that gave our star her screen name.

A thick, brutal, but beautiful leather, somewhere between riding crop and racing driver’s gloves.

As it happened everyone settled on Le Gant Noir, the feeling was that a feline thief had to make a quick getaway after all.

What fewer noticed was the chemical aroma just underneath, the citrus cologne she used to wipe away any trace of finger or indeed glove prints.

But there was one, a young inspector, who saw her in a pharmacist just off the rue d’Antibes buying a great flask of fragrance, and glanced down to see her small Hermes bag with matching white suede gloves.

White leather gloves in May in the middle of a near revolution?

He might have caught her then, might even have caught them both, but film directors turned fanatics and students, workers and socialists brought the country to a standstill.

The President fled and so did our pair of pretty organised criminals.

De Gaulle would return but Le Gant was gone forever.

Bandit is the scent of Left Bank larcenists who steal sometimes by stealth, on occasion by sleight of hand but always with an enormous sense of style.

Its leather note is, quite rightly, a legendary knockout punch given power and lift by a physical architecture of aldehydes and oakmoss.

However, there is some playfulness here too, beyond the freshly squeezed citrus and steely galbanum of the opening a teasing hint of florals sits behind the great fist at the heart of the fragrance.

The dry down too is a pleasing affair as the muscular perfume relaxes slightly but loses nothing of its toned character. Here the smoky notes of vetiver and myrhh come together in an accord resembling rolling tobacco.

Bandit may not have a name that conjures glamour anymore, but this is the highest end heister you’re ever likely to come across.

This is pilfering made perfection.


It is also a fragrance that Bonnie and Clyde can enjoy together forever.

For a lady who loves the movies and the people who make the movies.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.
The Perfumed Dandy


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22 responses to “It came like a thief in the night… Bandit by Robert Piguet The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Forgive me, I have a hard time getting past Warren Beatty’s face. He’s a long standing crush, truly a knock-out.

    This was brilliant, Dandy! If I can conjure the scent of this fragrance and shift my mood, while sitting in my home office in Illinois, then you have succeeded in bringing Bandit to life.

  2. Wonderful post! Bandit is such a classic. My favorite from Robert Piguet is Visa, but I hope to one day be worthy of Bandit!

    • Dear Baconbiscuit
      Oh I encourage you to try and try until you feel at home with the criminal!
      Visa is wonderful and a personal favourite Chez Dandy… but I’ve not been able to try and review yet – I am in all your hands…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Lilybelle

    That was a fun one, Mr. Dandy. I sampled Bandit years ago in a Sephora and nearly passed out, gasping for air. Talk about a whip cracker! I wonder whether I’d like it better today. My fragrance tastes have gone topsy turvy. Did you wear an older version?

    • Dear Lily
      I’m sure you would get on just fine.
      I based the review on the current version, but have tried older editions (much older).
      I feel that since it’s reintroduction this is a more playful perfume – not lighter, but more light hearted.
      Don’t get the Dandy wrong though, there’s a might smack waiting within that leather glove.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. I see that our lady to whom this is dedicated has not shown up…late for her own premiere! But that is a star for you. I loved it. The whole thing was wonderful and very cinematic in the telling. Sad to say that Bandit makes me squint. But I will give it another try in a bit and see if time has made this classic more approachable for me.

    • Mr Lannier you surprise me!
      The Dandy thought you were one for all things leather?
      Ahem, in perfume terms I stress…
      Are you not an habitue of Cuir de Russie? Have I not heard you mention a fondness for Dior’s Leather Oud and Knize’s 10?
      What could poor Bandit have done to offend?
      You leave this poor Dandy most desperately puzzled!
      But caution – towards the end of the ancien regime – before 2007 – some truly awful versions of this fragrance were in circulation so it is necessary to get something old or something new and nothing in between.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy.

  5. Larceny wrapped up in a fistful of floral – that I have to get wind of. Here’s a pic for you of Dunaway, Penn, and Beatty on set:

    xox, V

  6. Oh…Bandit! How many indiscretions, how much trouble and heartbreak have you caused? Thank you so very, very much for your review of one of my own Great Immortals – your words gave me an indecent amount of pleasure! Had Germaine Cellier created no other perfumes, still, this would have made her immortal. Although we all know she did…Fracas, Vent Vert, Jolie Madame and more! So all that remains for me to say is this: I thank you from the very depths of my black and larcenous heart! 😉

    • Dearest Tarleisio
      Oh you have quite made The Dandy’s day already.
      I am so very wary when treading on the toes of perfumes I know to be the stuff of other people’s dreams.
      I am so pleased I did not prove to have two left feet in this occasion.
      As for Madame Celllier, I am in total accord with you – one of the most under rated of perfumery’s geniuses. That she made up most of her compositions using bases and not notes seems almost inconceivable considering their apparent complexity.
      The Dandy salutes you and Madame C both!!
      Yours ever The Perfumed Dandy

  7. TeenaLeena

    Mr. Dandy,

    I think I am in love! Thank you for this wonderful post…

  8. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    With everything that’s going on in Cannes are the moment, The Dandy can’t help but wonder whether someone has found some inspiration in this old review.
    Be careful all you be-jewelled ones if you’re heading The South of France anytime soon!

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