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Launched: 1998 - discontinued
Group: Oriental woody
~ INTRODUCTION ~
I collect rare and discontinued fragrances mainly those launched at the end of nineties, early noughties. Especially when we talk about design houses, in the majority of cases, discontinued means you're in for something unusual, expertly done, high-standard, long-lasting and possibly irreplaceable perfume that's now equally hard to find.
Take Anna Sui as an example. Her first signature perfume was the best in terms of representing her gothic image and made to a high-standard. Now look at her range of bland juices she's produced since that flooded the market and all resemble each other. The same happened to Issey Miyake and his forgotten gem, Le Feu d'Issey (feu = fire) which is exactly the opposite of all his forgettable, watery creations called L'Eau d'Issey...
The reason is simple and is called profit. Let's face it, these creations are too special so rarely make a profit. Another thing is that they are made by excellent perfumers who aren't the cheapest to hire either. But enough of me ramblings, let's get to work.
~ THE PACKAGING ~
The outer packaging and the colour of the bottle are equally a firey orangey red accentuated with a bit of a yellow tint around the middle. The bottle is a double sphere, with a cone shape inside and a nozzle on top that's hidden when the bottle is stood up on its own, but pops up when you take it into your hand to spray.
~ THE FRAGRANCE ~
Top notes: mahogany, coriander leaf, star anise, coconut, bergamot, rose
Barely do I apply two drops of Le Feu d'Issey onto my wrist, I'm met with a fairly strong mix of spices and bergamot. The feel is perfumey, not the culinary one, the coriander and star anise that dominate actually remind me of the start of Kingdom Eau de Parfum (Alexander McQueen) also made by the same perfumer, Jaques Cavallier.
This difference between them is that Le Feu d'Issey has an underlying softness that stops the top notes from becoming too sharp or overpowering. This phase practically lasts for 1 - 2 hours, so it's important that the strong spices and sharp citrus notes are balanced. I'm only getting a slight impression of roses about an hour later which adds some sweetness and softness to the composition, though quite overpowered by the spices, the rose here is sheer and slightly sour. Overall, a spicy and tart start with the spices, especially anise, being the main leads.
Middle notes: golden lily, jasmine, milk, caramel, rose
It's been two hours since I put the fragrance and on and now I'm beginning to get an unusual powdery feel I can only describe as powdered woods and milk that are blending in with the spices. The composition is just a little bit sweeter than before, after all, it doesn't seem to be in any rush, it may just be another couple of hours before something else comes up.
The next transformation happens after about 3 - 4 hours, when the fragrance, for the first time ever, develops a gentle floral tone. Le Feu d'Issey is now what I'd call a fresh floral composition tinted with fragrant spices that sit on a sheer and transparent powdery veil. This phase stayed on for an impressive 6 hours altogether.
Base notes: sandalwood, musk, amber, vanilla, gaiac wood, cedar
The base notes are the sweetest part of the fragrance with a mixture of soft, oriental notes and the still present milky - woody ones. My impression was like having a cup of spiced milk that was heated on charcoal wood. There's a light smokiness lurking underneath that gives some depth and darkness to the drydown. By now the sillage has mostly gone, the fragrance stays close to the skin until it disappears completely after about 10 - 12 hours.
~ CONCLUSION ~
If you like unusual spicy - woody oriental fragrances that are smooth, not too sweet, not too sharp but have a dominant spicy feel, you've probably heard of / worn Le Feu d'Issey and haven't found anything that could replace it. It's such a love and hate perfume. A shame that it's has been discontinued, though its little sister, Le Feu d'Issey Light Eau de Toilette, similar but also different in certain ways to its bigger sister, is still available in shops and online.
~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~
Ebay still seems to be the best bet, though prices have soared since I last checked (£99 / 75ml Eau de Parfum Tester) and will probably continue to do so. You may be able to get your hands on a 7,5ml miniature or a batch of 1.2ml samples but do expect to pay several times more than you would for similar non-discontinued items.
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on Ciao! UK
This really is the best fragrance I have ever had, and am so sorry that it has been discontinued for sometime now. Why???? There have been so many great reviews from users about it. I used to get so many compliments about it whilst wearing it, I even got stopped by someone in the street. Daily, people would comment on it. I would say it belonged in the oriental category, spicy, sweet, milky, amber, musky. Hard to define it really. Please, please, if anyone knows of any stock for sale anywhere, please get in touch with me via this site. I have been searching for years trying to find something similar to Le Feu D'issey, but nothing comes close. I would be the happiest person in the world to get some or know it has been relaunched!