Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe: Montana Parfum de Peau

Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe: Montana Parfum de Peau

03/26/16 15:39:35 (10 comments)

by: Miguel Matos


Welcome to another chapter of the series "Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe", in which our writers explore fragrances they've owned for some time but seldom wear. Join us for the journey!

When I was a teenager, the Montana bottles were a fascination to me. I was always mesmerized to see them in the perfume shops. However, I think I never smelled them at that time and nobody near me wore them. So, when I blindly swapped for Parfum de Peau a couple years ago, I didn't have a memory to associate with it. The bottle may represent a visual reference from my youth, but not the scent. I was seduced by so many articles, reviews and comments on this perfume landmark at Fragrantica and other websites and blogs, that I had to try it. My friend Barbara Herman also reccomended it, so I decided to get some real fast and catch up on lost time.

“Claude Montana's fashion shows excelled in styling as well as presentation. Because of their vibrations, modeling for Montana became prestigious and invitations to his shows the hottest tickets in town. With fashion's return to harder lines in 2007, Montana has become an inspiration for many designers. Alexander McQueen praised and honored Claude Montana many times in his collections. Both designers shared a love for construction and high quality. Montana is a genius admired for the precision of cut and purity of design, in his aesthetical contribution to the 80's fashion silhouette revolution.“ - Parfums Montana

When I received the bottle in the mail, an almost full 100ml bottle, heavy and visually impressive, I was first hypnotized by the curves and architectural shapes. When I sprayed it on my skin I was overwhelmed and not really sure if I would wear it. Inside that bottle I had everything I love: leather, civet, castoreum, tuberose, oak moss... But there was a strange note to go with it that gave it a great deal of originality and also a strangeness. I now know it was the marigold and narcissus combination. Or at least I think so. It imparts a green spicy flower element that makes it explode a bit in the top notes.

The first time I properly wore it outside I was going to an art gallery cocktail party and I think I may have oversprayed. It was a warm spring afternoon. I remember having the experience of smelling something very heavy but also very seductive. It felt like real shoulder pads due to the opulent, sexy and baroque composition. But with time it started to bug me. It was too imposing, too loud, even though I liked it. But I should have had more caution. This was more than two years ago and the bottle sat unused in my perfume wardrobe since then, next to other civet and leather delicacies. I started to collect other Montana fragrances and from time to time opened this bottle just to get another whiff of Parfum de Peau. My afterthought was always: “why don't I wear this?”

This winter, without thinking too much about it, I suddenly grabbed this gorgeous bottle and sprayed it once. Twice. No more. And magic happened. This is one of those scents that needs an instruction leaflet. Two sprays. No more. And on the neck. Not on the back of the hands, not on clothes. You need to have your nose away from direct contact, to get constant whiffs with of it. And for the next week I saw myself wearing Parfum de Peau 2 or 3 days in a row, something that is very rare to me. The scent didn't go unnoticed, some compliments here and there and an occasional “smells like an old woman”. I had never thought of getting rid of Parfum de Peau, but after this experience of correctly dosing the Montana masterpiece, I am sure I will give it a lot more attention.

Lately I have been more and more interested in florals, mainly jasmine, tuberose and narcissus. This composition has all of these three components. My hatefulness regarding rose is also fading, so it seems to be the perfect time for experimenting with strongly floral fragrances. Parfum de Peau manages to mix the flowers with a very dense, very heavy and unabashed animalic base. The leather in Pafum de Peau is a perfect balance between harsh and sweet tones, and when paired with the warmth of civet and the sweaty, hairy, leathery facets of castoreum, it complements the flowers perfectly. The oakmoss is present from top to bottom, giving it the earthy tone that later on connects with the patchouli. To envelop all these notes, there is a sweet, animalic, syrupy honey. Everything is too much, just as I like it. I always prefer excess!

“Parfum de Peau represents everything the 80’s stands for in the popular imagination: it’s loud, daring, and cacophanous. Parfum de Peau comes in a breathtaking, award-winning helix-shaped bottle designed by Serge Mansau, inspired by the rounded and sensual forms of the female body in motion,” says the brand.
 

Adding more fame and hype to this fragrant work of art, the enigmatic bottle got a chance for a cameo in a movie most of us watched in the 1990's called Basic Instinct, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The sexy killer Catherine Tramell had a bottle of Parfum de Peau sitting in front of the mirror inside her bathroom.

A dangerous woman always needs a dangerous perfume to match her personality, don't you agree?

I think that this would be a great niche fragrance if it was launched today. For me it has no past associations, so it bears no reference to someone or some place. I am glad to have given it a second chance and plan to have a long time relationship with it for the next winters to come. I just have to remind myself not to wear more than 2 sprays...

Montana Parfum de Peau

Top notes: blackcurrant, pepper, cardamom, marigold, ginger
Middle notes: rose, tuberose, narcissus, carnation
Base notes: patchouli, musk, castoreum, amber

Parfum de Peau was originally composed in 1986 by Jean Guichard and was reformulated later by Edouard Fléchier who removed some of the animalic notes and retouched other accords. In my opinion, the difference between vintage and modern versions is not significant. Go for vintage or modern and apply sparingly. Don't be greedy with Parfum de Peau. Give it space and it will grow on you.

 

Miguel Matos

Miguel is a Portuguese journalist obsessed with art and perfume. Miguel likes to see himself as a fragrance curator, investigating the possibilities of perfume as contemporary art in exhibitions and other multimedia projects. He directs his own cultural magazine, Umbigo, besides contributing with texts for museums and art galleries. He is a perfume collector and specializes in vintage perfumery, organizing monthly talks called Vintage Perfume Sniffing in Lisbon. He is a Fragrantica writer, translator and editor of Fragrantica.com.br.

 



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carpp79
carpp79

I had a miniature about 16 or 18 years ago. I loved it! I love chypre perfumes - paloma picasso, knowing, aromatics elixir, parfum de peau.... Two sprays maximum in a very cold weather and you get gorgeous and sophisticated.

May
22
2016
rostov14
rostov14

The brighter the light is the darker the shadow it casts.
Smashing scent! It's never failed to charge me with emotions, energy and sunshine. Electric like a lightning! Staircase to Heaven out of nowhere in the middle of the desert...Wow!
If you don't afraid of your own shadow, this is the scent for you indeed.

Mar
30
2016
mirunacatowl
mirunacatowl

It was my ONE&ONLY perfume between my 17 and almost 30...Never wanted to hear of others and was inconsolable when my (temporarily) last bottle got broken (with style, on real marble:) Probably during the reformulation phase, a SA told my father it was no longer available. In vain he tried to consolate me with Cacharel's Eden and with the (new then)Montana Just Me. I kept my bottle with the last drops as an Idol. Until it met that maleficent marble ground...
Then, later, it was again my first perfume I repurchased as I started my current collection.
There are big perfumes, there are classics, there are exclusives over there. To be worn and enjoyed.
And there is Montana Parfum de Peau. To be venerated.
For me.

Mar
30
2016
jana.hullinghorst
jana.hullinghorst

Yes! this is a terrific scent! I had a nice vintage bottle I gifted to my dear friend, drugstore classics, because it wasn't quite "me". On others this is a show stopper! Read my review of this fragrance and you will know what I mean:

"Here are some things that come to mind when I wear this scent:
Dusty, dry leather. Earth, wet and mossy. Thick, airy elegance. The marigolds zing and sunshine so bright it hurts your eyes. Clean and refreshing. Ubiquitous. This is a woman who has perfect makeup. Her hair is cropped short or is always up and her wardrobe consists of mostly grays and cashmere. She speaks softly and rules with an icy detachment. Unfathomably sexy and independent."

Mar
28
2016
Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda

I'm lucky enough to have two bottles the EDP in the blue bottle. What a powerhouse, but it has a certain softness as well. It will always be in my collection. I use it only on special occasions because it is now in the realms of 'hard to get'. Montana 80 is another masterpiece!

Mar
27
2016
Angela Agiannidou
Angela Agiannidou

As per usual great and interesting article Miguel. You are right about the strong, sweet animalic honey note, that's what my nose picked first and foremost and unfortunately I oversprayed too, habit of a lifetime, I overspray Tabu as well. The best part of PDP is the dry down imho but what you say is true, this fragrance shows best in small doses.

Mar
27
2016
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

How have I never tried this fragrance? Have enjoyed some other Montanas, certainly, especially Just Me. Thanks, Miguel and I must give this one a sniff sometime.

I love the Montana bottles from the 80s and 90s. The newer scents like Graphite look chic and modern, but the older bottles, like Parfum de Peau's sculptural twists, had such unique style.

Mar
27
2016
eirenelisa
eirenelisa

Nice article!

Mar
27
2016
ChrisInBrooklyn
ChrisInBrooklyn

I never knew it made a cameo in Basic Instinct... how fitting! Another great article Miguel!

Mar
26
2016
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Greedy I am not! Since an oh-so-generous fellow member gifted me a bottle of Montana, I've striven to be sparing in application. We don't need to overdose perfection, do we? ;)

What a marketing campaign. Such a change in promotion as to what is 'seductive' in fragrance mystifies me. Today such a fragrance of strength and memorability is often viewed as offensive by modern perceptions. But I adore it! Having only discovered Montana a few years ago, I know it cannot be from past associations that I have this love. From pungent opening to warm dry down, Parfum de Peau is alluring and comforting in the extreme. Ahhhhh.

Mar
26
2016

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