Pluie de Soleil by Phaedon

Sophisticated and soft fruity notes but don’t expect this ‘burst of summer’ scent to hang around.

One of my (many) bugbears is perfumes that don’t last, and this subtle perfume was almost undetectable by lunchtime. Considering this is a niche fragrance with a fairly hefty price tag, to me it just doesn’t represent value for money.

On a daily basis we are bombarded by scents: body lotions, shower gels, shampoo, fabric softener. I deliberately try and minimise the scent I am adding to myself from those sources so that I can express myself through the perfume I wear. Fine, if a little middle class, but whatever. I don’t tend to go for brash, shouty, loud perfumes that make the person sitting next to you on the train recoil in horror because they happen to hate the cloud of musk or patchouli that is enveloping you (and yes, I am thinking of one colleague in particular with that last one). My aim is to wear something that when I get close enough to shake someone’s hand, they get the gentlest waft of something intriguing, classy, sophisticated; not slapped in the face.

With all that in mind, however, with my wrist pressed to my face repeatedly I could hardly smell this perfume a couple of hours after leaving the house, and it couldn’t compete with the (not overpowering) scent of my washing powder. Disappointing considering the price tag and undoubted craftsmanship of this brand.

The brand

Phaedon is one of the perfume lines operated by Pierre Guillaume (you might remember him from our Tonkamande review). Phaedon is a French manufacturer of perfumery, home fragrances and scented candles. It’s name comes from the slave-turned-philosopher Phaedon of Elis who was born around 400 BC in Greece. Phaedon the slave so impressed Socrates at a dinner one night, Socrates freed him and made him his friend and disciple. You know, as you do.

Almost nothing is known of Phaedon’s doctrines now, meaning they didn’t hang around either…funny that.

Top notes

The initial burst I get from this fragrance is subtle, fruity yet watery. It’s quite uplifting. There’s a definite citrus there, along with what I can only describe as celery notes: watery, green, clean.

Heart notes

After the perfume warms up fully, the floral notes are more detectable giving peach, and what I thought was crocus, but my subsequent research tells me was freesia. To me it doesn’t smell entirely like a freesia though, it is more cool and green than that.

Base notes

The final notes discernible before the perfume faded entirely were back to fruity: there’s definitely pineapple in there, but it isn’t saccharine sweet pineapple from a can, it’s more like the scent of a pineapple that you have picked up from the greengrocer’s but haven’t cut into yet. Pull off one of the crown leaves and smell that, that’s the scent I am talking about! I could also just about get a vague hint of strawberry and also the sweetness of vanilla.

The other stuff

The think I really like about this perfume is that it does smell really rather classy and sophisticated, despite a lot of the ingredients sounding like they have come from a high street store specialising in fruity scented body products for teenagers (you know which one I mean, don’t make me say it!). Despite the fruit-cocktail ingredients, the craftsmanship of this perfume house manages to pull off an accomplished and interesting fragrance.

BUT….and there is a huge but here: there is simply no longevity whatsoever. At all. None. Of all the perfumes I have worn recently, I think this is the shortest lasting and the most subtle. If you don’t normally wear perfume because you think it’s too much, then this would be a good place to start.

This perfume is also a lot more linear than some of the niche brands, and I wasn’t keen on that either. I really like a perfume journey and an unfolding throughout the day and I was disappointed that this didn’t really change, just warm up a bit and then fade.

There are lots of reference to Summer in the marketing of this perfume, but to me it smells like Spring when the bulbs come out and the snow has all gone. So refreshing, so hopeful, but oh so fleeting.

Pluie de Soleil retails around £69-75 and is available direct from Phaedon here or Bloom perfumery here.

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