Slutty sophistication: Agent Provocateur EDP

Dear Scent Diary,

imagesI don’t like rose except when I really like rose.

There are enough rose fragrances I dislike that if sniffed in a row, one would conclude that I have a hate on for rose. Which is what I honestly thought for a while. But I’ve discovered that there are also enough rose fragrances I absolutely love that if sniffed in a row, you’d come away thinking that I’m a huge fan of rose. Tricky business this rose note.

UnknownOne of the perfumes I place firmly in the ‘love’ column is Agent Provocateur’s first and signature scent, Agent Provocateur. I don’t live in a country where the brand actively advertises, so I had no preconceived notions when I took my first sniff. I believe I vaguely knew it was a lingerie company, maybe “Victoria’s Secret-ish” is what I’d probably have told you.

Agent Provocateur starts with a blast of dark, deep, oily rose, almost black, that second by second gets sweeter and more tangy as it dries. This is not a sheer fragrance – it is a potent and strong, take-no-prisoners type of scent. I expect this kind of quality from Amouage and Serge Lutens, but not from a mass lingerie brand, so it had my attention right away.

As it dries down, the rose melds with saffron and cedar to give it a more abstract, aromatic impression that’s deep, dense and gorgeous. It throws like crazy and I find the projected scent a bit cleaner than what you smell up close. Still, the waft is dark and aromatic with all the notes creating a cedary, mentholated rose feeling. That aromatic quality of the silage gives it a freshness that keeps the scent from being too heavy. A beautiful evening fragrance for me.


Agent Provocateur Spring Summer 2013

When I sat down to start writing about Agent Provocateur, I acquainted myself with the brand’s imagery. Um, whoa! Coupled with the brand’s blatant, ornately sexual aesthetic, the perfume takes on a sultry, bad ass sexiness. Before I associated the scent with french maid ‘playsuits’ and disco pasties, I would have compared it to such sophisticated fragrances as Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. Now, what? Portrait of a Lady of the Evening?

Since scent is blind, I’ll go with my initial impression. It’s a high quality, dark, aromatic rose fragrance with a wonderful sillage and incredible longevity. If you prefer your roses soft, simple or fresh, you won’t like Agent Provocateur. If you like them edgy, dark and sultry, you can join me in the ‘love it’ corner, prudishly trying to forget it’s associated with the image above.


2 responses to “Slutty sophistication: Agent Provocateur EDP

  1. I noticed that some perfumes I like not because but in spite of their advertising. I haven’t tried this one yet (it’s also not a widely known brand in here) but I might after your review (and in spite of the picture that I find rather tasteless than provocative). Roses and I are on strange terms: some turn unpleasantly soapy on me – do not like those; while the others play nicely – those I enjoy.

  2. Hi Undina,
    This one falls in the ‘like it in spite of the advertising’ camp for sure. And I know what you mean with rose – sometimes they turn sour on me, and when they’re too realistic and not ‘moderned up’ somehow, I get the dreaded old lady association. This one, as you can probably guess, is not old ladyish at all. 🙂

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