I see Paco Rabanne as a perfume brand that has taken a dose of the red pill, which is to say that, to use another movie metaphor, they have unveiled the man behind the curtain and are fully aware of the realities of perfume. You see, they get that fragrance should be fun and they know that blending the familiar with the unusual makes for wearable, approachable scents that people want to wear and buy. I am totally here for this approach and in their enlightened state, Paco Rabanne has been able to create some absolute gems – the likes of 1 Million (the sexiest smelling apple pie I ever did smell) Olympea (an ocean of hazelnut) and more. Long may they reign!
Following the success of their sultry and sexy Pure XS For Him last year, Paco Rabanne is treating us to Pure XS For Her, and once again it is a fragrance that brings a sense of humour in to play. They’ve enlisted the supremely talented perfumer Quentin Bisch (Angel Muse, Chloe Nomade, Le Mâle Essence de Parfum) to create what they call “a wildly provocative and wildly untamed floral” based around a specific flower Bisch became obsessed with whilst on a trip to Reunion Island. But, as with all of Paco Rabanne’s scents, there’s a twist in this unconventional floral…
Ylang Ylang, Popcorn, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Ambrette Seed
How Does it Smell?
Well, of all of the things I was expecting to sniff when I first sprayed this fragrance, savoury popcorn was not one of them. Well, that’s a lie, because I had a cheeky peek at the list of notes before I sniffed the fragrance, in which popcorn was very much listed, but still, I wasn’t expecting this fragrance, which comes in a sultry pink bottle wrapped in a golden snake a la Britney Spears I’m a Slave 4 U at the VMAs (ICONIC), to smell so salty and, well, popcorn-y.
Pure XS For Her blends the tropical, creamy warmth of a heady ylang ylang note (a note that smells like waxy white petals, fresh greenery and banana) with popcorn. There is a subtle undercurrent of juicy, fruitiness, attributable to a honey effect that blends perfectly with the tropical blooms, but for the most part, it is dry and powdery, channelling niche classics such as Bois Farine from L’Artisan Parfumeur. Now, you may be wondering if popcorn is something that you want to smell of and the answer to that really depends on how you feel about savoury notes in perfumery. I truly think that Pure XS will not be for everybody and you know what? That’s a good thing! The best scents are those that divide opinion.
Seamlessly, the popcorn floral of Pure XS For Her is married to a nutty sandalwood base that adds an unctuous, thick quality, but also a creamy softness. Ambrette seed is used to give a musk facet – one that propels the fragrance forward and gives it a weightlessness that is seldom found in gourmand fragrance. The musk nuance also brings a vibrating intensity that pulsates with energy, allowing Pure XS For Her to make a lasting impression from start to finish.
Pure XS For Her could have been a super sweet, sickly gourmand floral just like every other fragrance out there at the moment, but it isn’t. Pure XS For Her subverts expectation and seeks sensuality through unconventional notes. Through the saltiness of popcorn and the creaminess of sandalwood, Pure XS For Her evokes hot skin, creating a signature that is intimate, sexy and genuinely daring. Would I say that it is the provocative and untamed floral Paco Rabanne thinks it is? Why yes, I would, and I can think of many others who would agree. One final piece of advice though: if you do buy this, don’t forget to feed that snake, it gets cranky if you don’t – some popcorn will do.
Would you like to win a bottle of Pure XS For Her? Not only are we giving away the new 80ml Eau de Parfum for women, our 3 prize bundles also feature the Pure XS 100ml Eau de Toilette for men, so you can share the excess with your loved one! Head over to our Instagram page to enter.
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