Never mind the soap, she’ll take the opera.
Polyester is for the proletariat, she bathes herself in silk.
Her life is lived in velvet.
Let the little people fuss about the morality of fur, her mink comes by the metre.
She is a jewel and so must shine.
And if it requires a little chemical assistance to achieve that polished perfection so be it.
She owes it to her audience.
She owes it to herself.
And the poor fortunate interviewer who kneels by her feet to ask a few questions?
He will be overcome by her beauty and the floral abundance of her fragrance.
Bigger than the largest bouquet thrown to her on stage on an opening night.
Larger than the immense arrangements that adorn her dressing room.
Greater than all the displays that greeted her at her most recent final gala performance.
For this is how it should be.
For she is the prima amongst donnas.
Unique and without equal.
Sometimes foolishly dismissed as a facsimile fragrance by people who really ought to know better, First by Van Cleef & Arpels is no impersonator perfume, it is a magical work of jaw dropping, awe inspiring majesty.
A diva in the soprano style.
As opulent as an opera box, it is a high octane, top ‘c’, top drawer masterpiece in a class of its own.
Opening with an aldehyde accord vast enough to fill la Scala, it then rolls out a civet note so luxurious and expansive one would think the auditorium’s plush had been replaced with pure sable upholstery.
What follows is a carefully arranged architecture of flowers, principally jasmine, hyacinth, narcissus, carnation and rose, impressive enough not to look out of place in a salon at the Palais Garnier.
As we near the finale, the fragrance takes a turn towards Covent Garden: the florals gain an indolic air, something of decay and sex and death, a history of flower and human meat markets resides here.
Throughout, eccentrically, a note of honey and bumble bees, as though perfume took etherised specimens of these most industrious of insects for a walk on the end of cotton thread leads.
Sublime, stupendously sexy, sensationally enormous this is a scent in a grand manner rarely if ever seen these days.
It doesn’t really matter if one likes it, that’s quite irrelevant.
Like all great art it demands to be appreciated and admired.
A First without equals.
For the record The Dandy doesn’t like First, he adores it.
The Perfumed Dandy.