P. Frapin & Cie Checkmate is an exceptionally creamy leather dream


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Welcome to Fragrance Friday, where every week we’ll keep you up to date with the latest and most iconic releases from the vibrant world of men’s fragrances. Born from the desire to present one of the most overlooked, yet versatile, elements of any discerning man’s style, this weekly column will help you refine your own signature scent.

Last week we were all on the spine of Penhaligon snowshoes, with the legendary British perfume house rekindling and refining a classic to deliver a new summer essential. The play of lemon on the board and leather on the plinth has built a fascinating interpretation of European summer tennis matches, elegantly expressed by Fabrice Pellegrin. However, if you are looking for something a little more leathery and woody, this very lemony scent might not be for you.

If so, the latest release that should catch your eye is the incredibly sensual P Frapin & Cie Checkmate, fresh from the loyal Frapin family, renowned for their iconic Cognac distillery based in their original Chateau de Fontpinot.



If you are already familiar with the tireless work of the Maison Frapin en Grande Champagne, know that their approach to perfumery is unique and much admired in the industry. With each outing, they attempt to capture, translate and express different layers of life in or around the chateau’s pristine 300-hectare park, whether it’s aspects of Cognac production and distillation. , or simply stroll through the vineyard and immerse yourself in the many distinctive aromas that come to life.

Frapin Checkmate is very clearly limited to the story of Henri Frapin and his supposed hobbies spent in the garden in front of the imposing property of the noble family, bonding with his son during a game of chess at the spring. As the house illustrates, the scene ranges from serving cardamom tea to seeing citrus fruits ripening in terracotta pots, building a very specific and detailed image used by the family’s creative director, David Frossard, and his frequent collaborator, the perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel to put together this very effective bill.

While Checkmate is considerably ahead when it comes to those robust woody and leathery notes, the opening is fresh and spicy, giving a smooth, airy and mellow tone that arguably defines the whole show by staying to hold and blend in with those heavier base notes. It would be Italian bergamot, Italian lemon, and Indian cardamom, creating a bubbly head that lingers on longer than you would expect, as the heart has very powerful notes of leather, heliotrope and iris.

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Starting sweet with a designer scent that builds its identity around wood and leather is proving to be a wise choice from Behaghel, who has worked closely with Frossard for years and is best known as one of the most successful members. more reliable from Flair – a collective of Parisian perfumers who have launched rather interesting and innovative fragrances in recent years. Frossard and Behaghel did a great spicy job together on Frapin RK in 2019 and it looks like Checkmate’s opening is a nod to that.

Many leather scents these days lack personality and fall victim to the uninspiring similarity that dulls these kinds of trends. This dynamic duo ensured that Checkmate would be a clear exception, perfectly blending the softness of the top with the kind of yesteryear elegance built by the base – suede, Virginia cedar, cashmere wood and amber wood. It’s pure, sheer classicism there, reinforced and complemented mostly by the cardamom which has been worked in such a way that it rises and falls nicely in the later stages of the scent, hanging around just long enough to add a sense of vibrancy. masculine basis which is often lost on leather-centric PDEs.

Checkmate could easily have been an attention seeker, but it’s more of an attention grabber. You’ll turn heads with a few squirts of this exceptional scent, though the leathery notes are mostly best preserved for cold winter days. Call me sweetheart, but I don’t hesitate when I say this is easily one of my favorite leather scents of 2021 – a creamy leather dream crafted perfectly for men and women who favor a more sultry approach. of a tired tendency.



Head Notes: Italian bergamot, Italian lemon, Indian cardamom.
Middle Notes: Leather, heliotrope, iris.
Base Notes: Suede, Virginia cedar, cashmere wood, amber wood.

P Frapin & Cie Checkmate is now available in Australia for $ 229 for a 100ml bottle.

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