I've seen Querelle being described as an animalic, daring and in some cases, almost scary perfume. I'm not sure why. On my skin it comes across primarily as a chypre, slightly different true, but hardly groundbreaking.
The notes include citrus, Iranian Black caraway, myrrh, cinnamon, Haitian vetiver, incense, oakmoss and Ambergris. Luckyscent describe it thus: 'Inspired by Jean Genet’s brutal and erotic tale of hidden desires and violence, Querelle is a scent of supreme elegance and forceful sensuality.' I like Querelle, but at no point does it remind me of any erotic tales or violence. Perhaps I am not imaginative enough.
When I was doing some picture searches for this post, I came across loads of sexual ones, mainly of men in compromising positions, genitals to the fore and quivering with unrelieved tension. It was rather unnerving! I am not familiar with Genet's works, but clearly there is something going on there....
So, on to the fragrance itself. The opening is citrusy, for want of a better description. Not generically so, but with a hint of soapiness. There is a light spicy kick of bergamot and I thought I could detect a whiff of lavender. For a short while it has that gentlemanly, slightly old-fashioned cologne feel to it, with a herbal undertone. Almost from the start I detect a mossiness to Querelle that lends it that chypre feel. The heart stays mossy, with a bit of sweetness and woods. I'm not really sure what caraway smells like (aniseed-like?) but the heart reminds me a bit of Papyrus di Ciane by the same house, perhaps a bit stronger and drier. I'm struggling to describe Querelle. I'm sure the vetiver is there, but I don't really detect much incense, cinnamon or ambergris, at least not on my skin. Perhaps I should spray this on paper to see if these facets reveal themselves. As we enter the dry down, the predominant note for me is still moss, and Querelle still wears like a chypre, perhaps a touch more masculine and dry. It smells good, but I can't help but feel slightly let down after the glowing and hyperbolic reviews. Where is the lust? Where is the sensuality? Where is the brutality and eroticism? For that matter, where are the copulating men? Seriously though, Querelle is quite restrained and the only word that comes to mind is elegance. It is a good perfume, but I'm just not head-over-heels about it.
Querelle is perfectly unisex. It is perhaps a touch more masculine than some chypres I have tried, but ultimately it smells mossy and slightly spicy. I won't write it off, but I prefer other, more daring perfumes in the Parfumerie Generale lineup.
Image credit - Luckyscent.com