As I mentioned a couple months ago, I was surprised to find I own bottles of every perfume made by Frapin. What it says to me is that creative director David Frossard has created a brand aesthetic which seems to also be my aesthetic. Part of it is they don’t release a new perfume every year. Although occasionally there is a year when I get two new ones to try. 2021 is one of those years as Frapin Checkmate is the second fragrance from the brand this year.
Mr. Brossard returns to perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel as his collaborator. They also did the earlier release this year Bois Blanc. For Checkmate they are working from a brief of a father-son chess game in an outdoor pavilion among the family garden. The idea is to capture the world that surrounds the mental competition taking place at the center. It is one of the joys of playing chess outdoors instead of in a dreary conference room. There is a reminder that the world is not confined to an 8X8 board. In the vicinity of this battle Checkmate finds the world as fascinating as the game.
It begins with a citrus breeze of lemon given lift through cardamom. This combination has an airiness I find particularly enjoyable whenever I find it. The flowers of the garden, mainly heliotrope with some iris supporting it add a powdery gloss to the citrus accord. Now we get down to the game cedar provides the playing surface. A suede leather accord made me think of a bag containing the pieces. As the perfume develops it becomes woodier. As if your focus leaves all the other things behind to concentrate on the board.
Checkmate has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
On the few occasions I’ve played chess in a park I’ve found it impossible to keep my mind on the game. I can’t focus solely on moving my pieces. The world is so much larger. Checkmate provides the same message.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.