Monday 23 October 2023

POIVRE DE SICHUAN by Place Des Lices

A bottle of Poivre de Sichuan from Place des Lices
One of the roles that fragrance often plays is that of transporting the wearer to a different place or time. These real-life experiences may be out of our everyday reach, unless we have a time machine or a wealthy benefactor, and so indulging in some “armchair travel” really is the next best thing. Now, taking inspiration from a location or a particular period in history is nothing new, but achieving both the style as well as the substance is not always as easy as it may first appear. Thankfully it’s exactly what is on offer from Place des Lices, and their Poivre de Sichuan is ideal as we ease ourselves into autumn.

The idea of escaping to the South of France, when we’re experiencing the colder weather as autumn and winter descend, used to be a very real way of life for the society set. Starting in the 1920s, you’d see fast cars and high spirited couples motoring around the French Riviera, dipping their toes over the Italian border, but always soaking up the Provençal atmosphere. Move on to the 1960s and no visit would be complete without a stop in Saint-Tropez. Still seen as the playground of the rich and famous, that’s where we are headed in fragrance form.

Place des Lices is one of the famous squares in France, and really does perfectly align itself with the world of fragrance. For example, before it was a more designed space, it is rumoured to have held jousting matches, which definitely feels as if it mirrors the multitude of perfume releases that fight to be the “champion”. It also attracted the creative set, particularly at Café des Arts, and it’s this openness to variety without any restriction on cost that the company have focused on with their expansive range. So, are you ready to surround yourself with the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Rudolph Valentino?

The box for the perfume Poivre de Sichuan from Place des Lices
Autumn can be a strange time for fragrances because, depending on who you speak to, there are bizarre recommendations on what you should wear. Apparently, when the weather gets colder you should reach for warm amber fragrances and rich resins. Well, in my opinion, that’s nonsense. If anything, colder weather suits crisp green aromatic perfumes, the ones that mirror a brisk walk in the woods or a crisp morning outside a French cafe. Poivre de Sichuan perfectly fulfils this, whether you opt for the perfume or the awakening Body Wash, and the added delight of the Carrara marble cap really is a touch of decadence.

Poivre de Sichuan opens with the promised sharp blend of black and green pepper, but a hint of mate leaf also seems to be present with its black and green tea notes - so you’re very much sitting amongst the locals. It’s also at this point that the elemi resin starts to give off its lemony bergamot facet, and also its whisper of milkiness. The fragrance has a touch of rose petal in the heart, delicate like the remains of a previous evening’s fragrance, before the arrival of a vibrant vetiver combining with a sandy pencil-like cedarwood brings you back to the square. With a touch of sun-warmed leather at the very end, perhaps from a discarded notebook, the final trail of breezy musk is the perfect encouragement to take a walk in the autumn air.

Poivre de Sichuan Is available from the Fiole website at, as well as the Place des Lices website, and is priced at £120 for 100ml. It is also available as a Body Wash priced at £34 for 500ml, and as part of the Place des Lices Sample Set priced at £25 (and redeemable against a purchase). [Samples provided by Fiole]

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