Perris Monte Carlo Patchouli Nosy Be (2014) is a very complex and moderately challenging fragrance that fans of powerhouse patchouli scents from the 70's and 80's won't soon forget, and may even fall in love with when they smell it. In a similar manner to Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial (2012), Patchouli Nosy Be punches you in the face right away with macho swagger and full-bore nostril-tweaking woody green, then never really lets up that stranglehold, changing and morphing into different forms of the same unbridled power. To really say this is just a patchouli scent is to sell it short, as also like Oud Imperial, there is a lot going on here that really ties it more to things like Givenchy Gentleman (1974) Giorgio Beverly Hills pour Homme (1984), and Krizia Moods Uomo (1989), than anything the modern niche world presents as patchouli. A little bit of everything is here for the consummate patchouli fan, and you get the camphoraceous opening, the chocolately heart, the terpenes that inevitably lead to an acidic green vibe, and even some of the fecal/urinous funk that gets applauded in civet-dusted patchouli scents Givenchy Gentleman or older things such as Guerlain Jicky (1889). The more-modern "chocolatey" facets of patchouli are here too, plus a host of support players, and the whole thing just reads as deliciously musky in the end. Considering the house had a bit of a rough start with patchouli (more on that later), this is a welcome surprise, and I'm not usually a fan of modern niche patchouli either.
The opening is a wall of pink pepper mixed with that green camphor, which may sound overbearing for people not too keen on modern perfumes that positively abuse pink pepper, but trust me when I say it works. That thick spiciness sliding up alongside the almost "Vicks Vapor Rub" green is a kick to the teeth you don't want to like at first, but then pasty labdanum and cacao from the heart pull it down and make that shrill green wave contrast a smooth musky rich fattiness that just goes "oh" to your nose. Soon, the terpenes I mention come into effect, and you've smelled them in things like Terre d'Hermès (2006) that stick to the lighter and more transparent sides to patchouli, but here they mix with that touch of civetone funk that then mulls with a bit of vanilla and benzoin a la Giorgio to sort of form the Venn diagram middle between Givenchy, Krizia and the aforementioned Giorgio. The chocolatey segments really remind me of how patchouli is worked in L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme (2004), and although Patchouli Nosy Be isn't exactly the "we are the world" of masculine patchouli takes, it gets pretty close if not for bits of modern woody aromachemicals in the finish. The patchouli by-product of Clearwood is one of those woody AC's, and the creamy sandalwood proxy javanol is the other. They help give a backbone more than anything, and aid in sillage over time. Speaking of that, you'll be wearing this until you scrub it, and projection is strong for at least 6 hours. Best use for me is in colder weather.
Of all the harsh medicinal or petrol-like niche patchouli fragrances I've been forced to endure from the likes of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, or totally gross gourmands dressed up as patchouli from brands like Xerjoff really put the fear in me that these supposed top-notch houses didn't really know what a proper patchouli oil smelled like anymore. I mean, you could just walk down to a head shop or mystic joint and get a little vial to sniff for like maybe $10, and get more complexity out of that than a $400 perfume that smells like jet fuel and hatred for the working class. Perris Monte Carlo is among a handful of niche purveyors like Etro and Diptyque that knows how to make patchouli fragrance complex and interesting while still smelling like it's focused on patchouli, although their previous patchouli scent called Essence de Patchouli (2012) may be a bit of a hiccup in that regard as it is more floral and musky than patchouli, not to mention nearly identical to the cheaper and also-named Essence de Patchouli by Alyssa Ashley (2009), which is from a budget house suspiciously also owned by the Perris group. Hmmm... Well, they more than made up for that faux pas of using a drugstore brand as a dry run for a niche perfume by coming out swinging with this heavy duty patchouli brawler that trades in its peace necklace and sandals for a pair of brass knuckles and steel toe boots. Best of all, this is powerful yet still balanced and wearable. Just try it. Thumbs up.
Sweet, resinous opening. Gigantic notes of patch and pink pepper grab your attention and hold it. The animal God, labdanum gets a hold on you afterwards. Yes here, it is an animal, a beast. The top lingers a long time. A moderate gob of cocoa joins in.
More patchouli that has joined forces with vanilla. Cocoa is jealous, soon departs. All is warm, all is dark. Wealthy hippie wannabe or die hard forest, moon-dancing modern witch - you decide.
Cedar and sandalwood claim their territory. Vanilla allows cocoa back in to the room. Play nice, you two! - patchouli may scold you and send you packing.
This, is a very good, sturdy patchouli-blend fragrance. Excellent longevity.
This is a fascinating fragrance that goes through many changes. From the sharp begining with a dose of pepper supporting an unusual patchouli, which does not seem to have as much earthy or bitter quality as one might expect. Then comes a mid with a definate cocao note that almost, in combination with the pepper makes this lean slightly gourmond to my nose. Labdinum, vanilla, amber and touches of cocao and patchouli remain in the base. Great longevity.