‘In our future all fragrance will have this feel’
So says the leader in her meagre machine-like monotone addressing the crowds in the great hall.
She is a tiny silhouette, barely perceptible against the vast blank canvas of the white wall behind her.
She wears, as all the higher ones do, a white robe, a white cloak and her hair slicked back like a movie star of the times ‘before’.
Clothing is nothing more than a struggle to disguise her skeletal frame.
‘And everything, everything will be powered by electric.’ She declares.
‘Everything will be clean and silent and efficient’.
A shudder like a wave sweeps out across the crowd and finally breaks on you: a sample of the scent has been released into the air.
It is a surf of arid, half-remembered, artificial amber with plasticine patchouli and filleted, boneless benzoin.
It tosses and splutters at everyone’s senses.
‘Everything will save energy for the collective effort’.
The single accord is as insistent as her intonation.
You drift away.
You are in a past where everything is not so fresh, and scrubbed and anti-septicated.
In a moment in your nostalgia you forget that the soot from sentimental chimney stacks settled on lungs and stung the eyes of children.
That passion seemed inevitably to bring with it conflict and loss.
‘Everything will be environmentally sustainable’
The scent turns seamless vanilla as all dirt and rough edges perform a vanishing act worthy of a Grand Vizier’s court conjuror.
‘Everything will be ecologically sound’
And you long for steam trains and Ottoman toilets, oakmoss and stale flowers.
‘Everything will be for everyone!’
If there is anymore eloquent an expression of the pseudo-futuristic, elegant, etiolated ‘exotic’ fragrances of today than Prada Amber for Women, I have yet to come across it.
This highly engineered, over designed and too thought out exercise in perfume politics achieves exactly what it feels it must, and precisely no more.
Truly it is an unhappy utopia of a perfume.
It is a swift, clean scent-generating machine that gathers in the consumers’ cash by offering up a series of populist-formulaic chords: amber and patchouli, a slight Levantine baseline: vanilla, benzoin , something unnoticeably anonymously floral.
Everything in fact that is ‘bound to please the crowd’.
For all its symmetry and design-led precision it is ultimately an act of conceptual cynicism cooked up by big corporate interests.
It is the military industrial complex of decorative smells.
I prefer perfume created by artists to the essence of engineers, economists and silent egos.
It wouldn’t matter if a machine wore this scent.
It would be equally as soulless.
As The Perfumed Dandy is indisposed today, this is a selection from the Classic Collection.
Readers may be interested to note that when first posted on a well known internet fragrance forum, this review was ultimately removed because it proved so unpopular!
What say you? Are these comments unjust?
I would so love to hear your thoughts.
The Perfumed Dandy.