Launched in 2000, Angeliques Sous La Pluie is perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena doing what he is widely known for. The term minimalism is often attached to Ellena’s work. He can create a fragrance formula with the same amount of ingredients other perfumers would use to create a single perfume note. This minimalist label Ellena has acquired by the media (and Frederic Malle himself) is a category he does not believe his olfactory writing falls into. Minimalism is an art movement that has no figurative value. The artist simply wants the viewer to react to what is in front of them. The art does not represent anything beyond the art itself. Ellena’s work is however figurative. The way he interprets odours always connects you to something from the real world. For Hermes’ Un Jardin Sur Le Nil he uses the scent of green mango to transport you to a riverside garden on the Egyptian Nile. His short formula approach to the Hermessence range is an olfactory essay that does not abstract the ingredients but aims to show the true nature of the raw materials used like lavender (Brin De Reglisse), paprika (Paprika Brasil) and tonka bean (Vetiver Tonka). In this way Ellena’s compositions are legible by the wearer and his pared-down palette should not be confused with olfactory minimalism. A play on word “Angels In The Rain” is inspired by the momentary scent of an angelica bouquet gathered after a rain shower.
If Ellena’s intention is to express an idea in it’s simplest form the fragrance is a success when compared to the similar but more complex Eau Parfumee Au The Vert, which Ellena created for Bvlgari in 1996. Spicy tonic notes associated with the angelica flower are mixed with juniper and coriander. Don’t be surprised if gin and tonic is the first thing that springs to mind when you smell this effervescent wonder. Virginian cedar wood creates masculinity and musk accentuates angelica’s natural musky hay tonal quality.
This is a subtle fragrance and will not be favoured by those who prefer to make a strong perfume statement when they enter a room. The silage is minimal; maybe some vegetal musk notes will follow you. It is the perfect scent for those days when you don’t feel like wearing much cologne. It will get lost amongst other smells and suggested wearing could be when you feel like an antisocial weekend away on the beach with a good book. It is also a good office fragrance if you are concerned about encroaching on colleague’s personal olfactory space. It is suitable for all ages of men. Personally I think Angelique Sous La Pluie works wonders on dark hair and blue eyes.
Bvlgari Pour Homme, Bvlgari Au Parfumee Au The Vert (or Blanc), Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis, Serge Lutens L’Eau, Frederic Malle Cologne Bigarade, L’Artisan Navegar
Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena (Symrise – Creations Aromatiques)
Bottle designer: Frederic Malle
Release date: 2000
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Citrus