Fidelis is something of a hidden legend in the fragrance community. Often compared to Interlude Man by Amouage and sharing a perfumer (Julien Rasquinet) with Frederic Malle’s bizarre beauty, The Moon, Fidelis has a strong resume. The fact that Fidelis also comes from Histoires de Parfums, a house of renowned consistency, is both unsurprising and misleading. It’s unsurprising in that Fidelis absolutely meets the standards of the line from a quality standpoint. It’s misleading in that Fidelis shows none of the restraint that usually marks the house’s perfumes.
Top Notes: Cardemom, Coffee, Saffron, Cumin
Heart Notes: Rose, Raspberry
Base Notes: Patchouli, Amber, Oud
Fidelis is chock-full of showstopper notes. Coffee, saffron, rose, raspberry, oud – all of these are known to dominate the perfumes in which they appear. As a Histoires de Parfums fragrance, I expected Fidelis to trim back the qualities of said notes in order to create a balanced, cohesive structure. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The notes in Fidelis tend to be both loud and vivid, displaying a depth of texture that results from other notes fleshing out the edges of the main players. The first major player in Fidelis is absolutely the coffee note. The coffee here is intensely rich and dark, its bitterness complemented beautifully by the rich but tempered sweetness of the raspberry. Cumin, an exceedingly dangerous note, is also presented beautifully. It’s distanced as far away from B.O. associations as possible, tweaked among its surroundings to add a sharp spiciness that accentuates the other elements.
As the fragrance dries down, its other elements get their turn in the spotlight. The opening spice of the fragrance is the first aspect to soften, opening the way for the rose-oud accord to begin to gain prominence. However, the dry down is far from falling within the rose-oud genre. The top notes are present throughout the vast majority of the fragrance’s life. Hints of coffee and cardamom swirl around the base notes and the raspberry-patchouli notes act as a dancing-partner to the rose oud. It’s something of a miracle to observe such strong pairings share space in a single fragrance. What would have been a trainwreck in the hands of lesser perfumers becomes a revelation throughout Fidelis.
If you’ve ever seen the Interlude Man note pyramid, you might be confused by its comparison to the fragrance I just described. Interlude Man is a rich incense fragrance lifted by herbal elements, not a fruity-coffee rose oud anomaly. And yet, those who smell the two next to each other often make the connection. Why? Perhaps it is simply the baffling balancing act of distinctive top-notes and powerful bases – and maybe that distinctive oud underlying each foundation. Whatever the connection, each is stunning and powerful, and each boasts excellent performance. However, where Interlude Man is reverent, Fidelis is jubilant. If luxurious fun sounds appealing to you, Fidelis should be the next sample on your list.
Both samples and bottles are available through Histories de Parfum’s website.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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