I'm late to the party, as usual. I have read a number of rave reviews of ELDO's The Afternoon of a Faun and it made a number of bloggers 'best of 2012' lists. I received a sample of this perfume courtesy of my fume fiend in crime, Cymbaline.
I've tried my sample a few times over the past few weeks, but have reserved judgement primarily because I haven't got my head around this intriguing perfume. I have said it before, and I will say it again now: some of the best and most memorable perfumes in my opinion both attract and repel in equal measures. The Afternoon of a Faun is one of those perfumes. I struggle to put it into words, but when I smell this perfume, I feel intrigued, but at the same time a little uncomfortable. This perfume provides me with a sense of unease, yet I keep on sniffing my wrist.
When I first smelled Afternoon of a Faun, I was reminded of a less forceful Mon Parfume Cherie, Par Camille. Even now, while I appreciate the two perfumes are quite different in many ways, I still find that the two share more than a passing resemblance. Mon Parfume Cherie's notes include violet, plum, patchouli, iris and heliotropine. Afternoon of a Faun's notes run a lot longer, and include bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, rose, immortelle flower, orris, jasmine, myrrh, moss, leather and benzoin. Yet both smell intensely peppery and dark to me. Looking at the two note lists (and I'm convinced there is more to the Annick Goutal) there is not that much in common, so who knows...
To me, The Afternoon of a Faun smells mystical, strange, dark, and slightly disturbing. A number of reviews have mentioned that this perfume seems to have the bones of a classical chypre, yet is firmly modern in its final interpretation. That may well be. I get the chypre feel, but if you're looking for the sort of peachy-moss chypre epitomised by Mitsouko, or the green style of Chanel No 19, for example, then you're looking in the wrong place. This chypre is dark, dusty, dry, peppery, yet having said that, it does have a density that harkens back to older vintage-style times.
And that is where I leave my impressions. I could try fool you with a spiel about Nijinsky Ballet and so forth, but that would be ridiculous because I know nothing about ballet and could not relate it to this perfume no matter how much I might try. All I can say in the end is that The Afternoon of a Faun is well worth sampling. It is not an easy perfume, let it be said. It is a challenge, but I am intrigued.