Robert Piguet Visa Fragrance Review (Aurelien Guichard) a.k.a The Immortal Peach – first published in Cafleurebon
On September 22 of 1819, instead of killing himself, John Keats ate a nectarine.
Consumed within a depression, haunted by the same troubles that would drive him, a year later, to try to poison himself, the poet wrote a letter to his friend Charles Dilke and abruptly said: “Talking of Pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand, and with the other holding to my Mouth a Nectarine—good God how fine. It went down soft pulpy, slushy, oozy—all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large beatified Strawberry.”
What’s the fruit that reads sheer sensory pleasure to you? From the tactile fuzz, the blushed color, the softness of its round flesh that perfectly fits your palm, to the smell, taste, and drip of the pulp’s juice to the sticky aftermath on your hands and chin – the peach, in all its variations, is a glorious sensual experience.
In Chinese mythology, the peaches were said to grow in the orchard of a goddess, and are believed to confer immortality on to those who consumed them. The legend said that when the peaches ripened every 3000 years and the event was celebrated in a banquet held by the Baxian (The eight immortals). In the western world, no other fruit is more charged with sexuality and seduction symbolism (from classical art to modern day peach emojis).
Joe Garces, CEO and Creative Director of Robert Piguet said: “The original Visa smelled like it and would not work for a contemporary audience. My first experience with a perfume department store buyer was something I will never forget, he told me: “we love classics and the history but this store is not a museum; if the fragrance does not sell we do not want to carry it”. Wow, that was a powerful reminder that this is all about business and staying relevant. My verbal brief to Aurelien was: “you are Germaine and I am Robert; we have to make something so modern that they would have made it today.” He added peaches and pear that made it an Oriental Gourmand and at the end of the dry down kept the original. Success! Success! Visa is the Piguet fragrance most recognized in the world today next to Fracas.” (read the whole interview here)
Visa is breathtakingly seductive and unapologetically punch-in-your-stomach beautiful. (Excuse my lack of grace and poise – but, the first time I smelled it, I had a similar reaction to the famous wolf below).
The start of the perfume is a cornucopia overflowing with ripe, juicy fruits: soft white peaches, sparkly pears, mouthwatering mandarins, sweet dripping plums. Even if the top notes are effervescent and as over the top as a display of slow exploding fireworks, the perfume never crosses the border to the mainstream ubiquitous fruitchouli genre, remaining classical in structure and exuberantly elegant in mood.
Basket of Fruit (detail) Caravaggio painting
After finishing painting the bowl of fruits, the artist placed a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers nearby and zoomed out our perspective. The juiciness of the fruits is drying, and the sweetness has a new found vanilla depth. The still life is slowly darkening at the corners with the chiaroscuro of the earthy notes of patchouli and moss, and the creamy sandalwood adding new dimensions, turning the fragrance into a seductive and mysterious chypre. A delicate hand, wearing light suede gloves hangs the picture and signs it with a perfectly calligraphed “V”.
A note from the brand: Robert Piguet’s Visa was originally created in 1947 by Germaine Cellier as a celebration of a new era of travel and exploration, just after the end of World War 2. The perfume was re-introduced in 2007, faithful to Robert Piguet’s original concept, but with a new few charms added in by its new nose – Aurelien Guichard, and now it’s sold under the name “V”.
Top notes: white vineyard peach, pear, violet leaf, Italian bergamot, yellow mandarin
Heart notes: ylang ylang, rose, orange flower absolute
Base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, moss, vanilla, benzoin, leather, civet, musk, castoreum, cistus
If you like Robert Piguet Visa, also try: Chopard Casmir