Mrs. C and I tend to find middle ground on most things. One place we diverge significantly is in the ripeness of a pear. I prefer a crisp version, one which has a snap when I bite into it. She likes it when the fruit gets soft and very juicy. As we come into pear season in our farm community, we each have our own bowl for our way of enjoying pears. This preference carries over into perfume. When pear is used as a fragrance ingredient, I want it to be the same way I eat it. In Providence Perfume Co. Basil & Bartlett I get what I want.
Perfumer Charna Ethier has been releasing a summer cologne for the last few years. One of the things she has held to is keeping fidelity with the origins of the form. The original cologne was fruit-herbal-floral-wood. It is simple in concept. When a talented artist like Ms. Ethier takes it on it finds new dimensions.
In the traditional recipe the fruit is citrus. Here as the name portends it is Bartlett pear. The herb is usually rosemary or sage. Again as advertised it is basil for this one. The remainder of the formula is equally inventively tweaked to form a cologne all its own.
Right from the start B&B surge to the front. The herbal aromaticity of the basil finds a contrast in the focused fruit of the Bartlett. In the note list the fruit is listed as “pear accord”. I think Ms. Ethier has modified a traditional pear with some ingredients to form a more compact version. There is a concentrated effect I haven’t experienced when pear is usually present. That specificity of effect really finds its place with the basil. Ms. Ethier goes for a heavier floral effect than most colognes have as she pairs two from the cooler at the flower shop, lily and chrysanthemum. There is a slightly cool green to their presence. They fit in well with the herb and fruit from on top. At this point there is a richness to this cologne you normally don’t find. It moves to a gorgeous sandalwood base kept on the lighter side so it doesn’t shove its way into things. It slides in quietly until the sweet dry woodiness seems to appear from out of the blue.
Basil & Bartlett has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is a true cologne in that it developed on my skin rapidly over a short period. The upside of that is another spray in the afternoon can let me enjoy the ride for a second time in a day. I think I’ll be wearing this when I head to my local orchard to pick up my order of pears.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Providence Perfume Co.