In the Search for the Perfect Pear

August PearIn my childhood August a month before the school started and a month when an old pear tree in my grandparents’ garden was ready to share with us the best pears I’ve ever eaten in my life.

I was too little to think of such things as variety so all I can remember now: it resembled Comice pear – green-yellow with an occasional red blush. The tree was tall, with a lot of branches. Low hanging fruits … were allowed to ripe on the tree. Whenever I felt like it I could go there and choose which one I wanted to eat. Pears that grew higher on the tree would be usually picked slightly immature and left to ripen in the summerhouse. My Grandfather had built it himself and I loved spending time in it – playing when I was younger or reading when I got older. A wonderful smell of dozens ripening pears accompanied me in those hot summer days when tired of running around in the sun I would resort to the shade of the summerhouse.

Unlike mimosa, linden or lilac – all scents which I always loved and wanted to wear as a perfume, I’ve never considered pear to be a wearable scent. I like eating them in the season, don’t miss them off-season and definitely don’t want to smell of them.

I like Petite Cherie by Annick Goutal – created in 1998, notes include pear, peach, musky rose, fresh-cut grass, vanilla. But I wore it for years before I learned it had a pear note. Even after that I thought I couldn’t smell a pear note. I tried to describe how Petite Cherie smelled and I couldn’t. I can’t come up with words to represent what I smell and the scent doesn’t remind me of anything else so I can’t even offer an association. I do not have any special memories connected to Petite Cherie, so probably I really just enjoy the scent. If you’ve tried it you know how it smells and if you haven’t – try because whatever description you’ll read will not give you the right picture of what to expect from this perfume. For years I thought of it as of a universal darling but recently I met a couple of people who, to my surprise, found this perfume to be unpleasant. I wore it again while working on this post and I still love it.

Deep Red by Hugo Boss – created in 2001 by Alain Astori and Beatrice Piquet, notes include black currant, pear, tangerine, blood orange, ginger leaves, freesia, hibiscus, sandalwood, Californian cedar, vanilla and musk (fragrantica.com). This is one of my favorite perfumes from my pre-perfumista period of life. I know Perfumeland’s attitude towards that brand. I realize that it probably isn’t that great and stands out both in this post and in my current collection. And I do not care: I liked it for many years; I went through two bottles of it and still have some juice left in the third one; and I still enjoy wearing it.

English Pear & Freesia by Jo Malone – created in 2010 by Christine Nagel, notes include pear, freesia, rose, amber, patchouli and woods (from jomalone.com; other sources mention quince, rhubarb and white musk). Sweet, almost gourmand but not quite because of the strong floral component. It’s a bright and warm scent but at the same time it maintains transparency usual to Malone’s colognes. It doesn’t develop much on the skin (as most of other perfumes in this line) but if you like what you smell it’ll stay with you for hours. I got a small decant of English Pear & Freesia from a co-worker and I will buy a bottle once it’s gone.

La Belle Hélène by Parfums MDCI – created in 2010 by Bertrand Duchaufour, notes include pear accord, aldehydes, tangerine, lime blossom, rose essence, osmanthus absolute, ylang-ylang Madagascar, orris butter, hawthorn, Mirabelle plum, myrrh, vetiver Haiti, patchouli, cedar Virginia, amber, oak moss absolute, white musks, sandalwood, licorice wood (luckyscent). It’s a true gourmand scent, sweet but with some dirty note in the drydown. For me La Belle Hélène smells not like a pear fruit but like a pear tart (love those). It’s much more complex than English Pear & Freesia. I got my sample from a draw at Persolaise – A Perfumer’s Blog. I like how it smells and develops on my skin but I’m not sure if I want to wear it as a perfume. The price is also a stopping point. So when I’m done with the sample I won’t probably be seeking even a decant (read the review that inspired me to test this perfume again recently).

Mon Numéro 1 by L’Artisan Parfumeur – created in 2009 by Bertrand Duchaufour and re-launched in 2011 (though I can’t find it now on L’Artisan’s website), notes include pear, basil, bergamot, violet leaves, black currant buds, mimosa, osmanthus, magnolia flower, hay, musk, vanilla. I have a strange relationship with this perfume. I thought I would like it. I wanted to like it. It opens very nice and fresh on my skin but then in one out of three times it becomes too soapy – and not in a nice, clean way. It always dries down to a more pleasant and well-balanced scent but it doesn’t excite me, I do not feel compelled to wear it more. I’m very grateful to my perfume friends for the opportunity to try it (Suzanne shared with me some Mon Numéro 1 from Birgit’s sample) and want to assure them that it wasn’t a total waste: even though I do not like it as much as they did (read their reviews through the links above), Mon Numéro 1 helped me to learn what is called “pear” in perfumery. I do not recognize it as a pear scent but I smell it in all tested perfumes with that note listed in the description. So now I know. And I do not mind smelling like that “pear.”

What is your perfect pear?

Honey Pear TeaMine – Honey Pear by Golden Moon Tea.

Images: my own

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29 thoughts on “In the Search for the Perfect Pear

  1. I don’t have a pear perfume. At all. :) And haven’t smelled any of those on your list, although I would like to try Belle Helene, Jo Malone English Pear and Mon Numero 1.

  2. Undina, when I was in Sweden two summers ago, I smelled a mesmerizing perfume on a woman who was dining at a table close to us. It was a cool evening and we were dining outside and a light sea breeze kept stirring her scent our way; it smelled divinely jammy and oriental. Finally I worked up the nerve to ask her what it was, and Hugo Boss Deep Red was her reply. I can understand why you love it.

    Mon Numero 1 is definitely a favorite. I know there are many people who hate the current Piguet Visa, but I like it — especially the pretty pear note that it has in the top notes stage.

    • I will wear Mon Numero 1 once or twice more (while my sample lasts) but it’s not love for me. Who knows, I might change my mind next summer.

      I will try to find Piguet Visa – I’m curious.

      • Undina, you’ll have to read dee’s hilarious “Things I Hate” review of Visa which was the result of me sending her a sample! Who knows,she might be happy to have you take it off her hands…

    • Sometimes the search is even better than the final result. And in case with pear it might be especially so: since it’s unlikely anybody will create a pear “soliflore” (which is completely feasible with flowers), all perfumes you try on your journey are more or less complex combinations with a pear accord/note – so possibilities are endless!

  3. 1. Pear Cassis of Fresh or Appendix (sorry, i think they they changed the name of the brand): fresh, juicy, pungeant, persistant and not quite what you have expected it to be)
    2. Kiehl’s perfume oil Pear: this one i liked the most, because is really well crafted and so close to the real smell of this fruit!… Relatively longlasting to.

    • Thank you, efi. I was not familiar with any of these two, so I looked them up. The one by Fresh is discontinued so I’ll probably skip it. But Kiehl’s one is still in production so I’ll stop by the Kieh’s counter at Nordstrom to see if they have it. I’ve never thought of this brand as of a perfume producers.

  4. Pear is not something I have ever thought of for a perfume. But reading your post I got a scent memory of canned pears and could see it with maybe some spice, ginger and vanilla. I’m not really into gourmand’s but I can see how this would work.

    • Nobody is into gourmands until they find the one (at least) that works for them :)
      Of course, I’m partially joking but beeing originally a floral perfumes lover I found recently that in some situations gourmand scents were much more appropriate and corresponded better to how I felt.
      I wish you to find your purfect gourmand perfume.

  5. As time goes on, I am seeing more similarities between our tastes. And we already discovered our shared history with Deep Red via the Candy Perfume Boy’s post. I need to find a bottle and see if I still like it, as it has been a while. I have never identified Pear specifically as a note I like, but now you have got me thinking that maybe it is. I love pears, that’s for sure! And, I also like Piguet Visa which Suzanne suggested.

    • If by the next time I send you anything you won’t find it, I’ll send you some. It can be bought for a very reasonable price online (as a FB) but I’m not sure if anybody still caries it in a store.

  6. Like you, I’ve never particularly wanted to smell of pears and I currently don’t have a favourite pear perfume. Similarly though, I also became very interested in La Belle Hélène by Parfums MDCI after Birgit’s wonderful review. Pear tart – yummy! Now I want to try Hugo Boss Deep Red which is not something I thought would ever happen, but that’s what’s great about our perfume blog world.

  7. Your childhood memories of ripening pears brought back my own. For two winters, we lived on my grandparents’ Michigan farm. I can’t remember what kind of pears we ate in the fall time, so juicy and sweet. Then we picked the winter pears and kept them in a room to ripen. Lovely, lovely!

  8. ooh – I’m glad to see a mention of Deep Red. I wanted to get my sister a perfume and asked her to go to the mall- sniff all the perfumes and tell me which she liked. She said she loved Deep Red (she doesn’t have access to niche perfume stores). In addition to Deep Red, I wanted to buy her something niche based on this choice that I thought she might love and bought her Ormonde Jayne’s Taif. ANy other suggestions of what she might like? I actually think she might like one of the lighter variations of Shalimar (since Deep Red also has that vanilla thing happening). I was actually very excited that she liked something rich and oriental- I thought she might like more the fresher cleaner kind of scents..

    • Lavanya, I don’t know how niche you want to go… Let me suggest a couple of perfumes, based not on the experience but rather on the lack thereof. In addition to liking Deep Red and loving Ta’if, my recent new favorites were Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal, Bois des Iles by Chanel and Rose 31 by Le Labo (I didn’t include any from Amouage, By Kilian or Frederic Malle – just for the price reason).

      • Thanks Undina! I don’t really have to go niche- I wanted to introduce her to perfumes that she may not be able to access..
        You know, I think she might really like Bois des Iles- I will send her a sample (I remember her liking Chanel no. 5 sometime back..Oh she also liked Poison though she thought it too strong).

        Thanks for the suggestions Undina! I must sniff Heure Exquise. (and re-sniff Rose 31- I really liked when I smelled it a few years ago).

  9. I have yet to find my perfect pear – and Belle Helene and the Jo Malone were sadly not it. I am, however, another closet fan of Hugo Boss Deep Red – it is a guilty secret I keep in the drawer of my bedside table. (Doesn’t qualify for storage in the main perfume fridge, you see.)

    That’s not the perfect pear either, but I find it comforting to wear in bed sometimes, and occasionally out!

      • I di understand you very well :) I can’t stand Fracas (sorry, fans) and I honestly do not understand its huge success… I guess the only Piguet’s creation that I actually like is Visa.. and only for its top notes))

  10. Pingback: Entertaining Statistics: September 2013 | Undina's Looking Glass

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