Elie Saab Le Parfum (A perfume review)

Do you remember that dress? I think it's one of my favorite red carpet gowns to-date. Halle Berry is so fabulously gorgeous and so perfectly suited to the brilliant femininity of Elie Saab's gowns. 

I've long been a admirerer of Saab's, so when I heard a perfume was going to carry his name, I was interested. When I heard that it was designed by perfumer Francis Kurkdijian
* well, it became a must-try. 

Here's the spiel:
“Composed as an ode to light, ELIE SAAB Le Parfum celebrates the splendor and the brilliance of radiant femininity with a floral solar woody theme. The permanent exchange between flowers and wood is what gives the fragrance such captivating resonance.”

And here are the notes:
Orange blossom, jasmine (Grandiflorum and Sambac), rose honey, cedar, patchouli.

And here are my thoughts:
I think I like it. I can see the relationship between this scent and light, and I can see how it suits the Elie Saab esthetic. It's bright, it's feminine, it's pretty. In fact, it's womanly. Just like Saab's gowns. It brings out some lovely floral facets that really say "woman" but grounds them in the modern fashion with some fairly strong woods.

It's not terribly ground-breaking - I'm sure plenty of smarter and more experienced perfumistas can line up a list of scents this one references. I don't know that creating Le Parfum stretched any of Kurdijian's olfactory or brain muscles. Then again, I'm not sure the brief asked for that. However, it seems to be a solidly-made perfume that will likely find a lot of fans.

I enjoy the initial blast (and it is a blast!) of orange blossom. There are other white florals in there, too, I believe. Definitely jasmine. Quite a bit of jasmine! And I suspect there's some gardenia maybe some tuberose. This is one of those "don't spray it right before you walk into the office" scents. You'll be the cause of a new no-scent policy, for sure.

Give it a little while -10 minutes or so?- and the orange blossom and jasmine party starts to die down a bit. The scent is still floral, but more at a more socially acceptable volume. That "rose honey" accord kicks in giving this a warmer, more friendly feel while still retaining maximum femininity. That said, I don't see why a man couldn't carry this off. 

Throughout, sillage is present - maybe even overtly so. Le Parfum wears well, too, still wafting five or six hours after application - at least on my skin.

Some people report a strong patchouli taking over at this point, and I 100% smell the patch, but for me the one being pushy is the cedar. He's not my favorite, and this is the note that caused me to waffle for quite a long time on my review of Le Parfum. In warmer weather, the cedar pushes this perfume into a shrill place that I don't enjoy. In cooler air, it is less sharp and pointy.

It's this feminine floral vs. woody counterpoint that I just can't quite decide on. I enjoy tension in my perfumes - linear and straightforward is too easy. But I can't help but wonder if this technique has been overplayed here. I find the first half of Le Parfum's development so overtly feminine and round that it's almost difficult for me to swallow the edges of the drydown.

In the end, I'm still not sure how I feel about Elie Saab Le Parfum. I think I like it. That clearly means I don't love it. If I did, I'd be clamoring for a bottle, and I'm decidedly not doing that. I will wear my samples, though, and maybe even fork over for a decant.

*Here are just a few of Kurkdijian's best-selling and/or highly thought-of works: Green Tea (Elizabeth Arden); Le Male (Gaultier); Lady Vengeance, Miss Charming (both by Juliette Has a Gun); Narciso Rodriguez for her, Narcisco Rodriguez for Him; and his own well-received line.
Have you tried Le Parfum? Do you like it? Love it? How do you feel about cedar? Would you wear an Elie Saab gown?


  1. I tried it a month ago and it caused a good impression on me. I liked it. But I did not tried it on my skin, so I would have to give it another try, paying attention to the drydown.
    The opening is lovely, in my opinion.

  2. "Sharp and pointy" is a good description. I loved that orange blossom - it's very rare for me to enjoy orange blossom - but after that, it got... screechy. And when that patchouli showed up, it was Good night Irene for me. A resounding NO.

  3. Isa, Mals, I like the orange blossom, too, but it's not exactly shy, is it?

  4. I'm in love with it! Its so bloody expensive, but I'm finally going to get it as a Xmas present to myself. I was an Angel girl for quite a while, but need somethung new. This is definitely my new go-to scent!

  5. Anon- Congrats! I'm so glad when people get the scented gifts they wanted. :)

    The patchouli is a great link between Angel and Elie Saab. I'm glad you like it! :)


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