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Bombay Duck London

Miller Harris Un Petit Rien

Many of us may wish to get our hands on an Hermès Birkin bag – and most of us are going to be disappointed on that front.  But since British perfumer Lyn Harris launched Miller Harris L’Air de Rien in 2006, there has been one way to tap into the laid-back Gallic-hippie-chic of actress/chanteuse Jane Birkin, in a so-wearable, scented way.  ‘Air of nothing’, the fragrance’s name translated as – and it was precisely that:  barely there, gauzy, but as quirkily beautiful as its namesake, and most importantly with lingering base notes of earthily sexy musk and amber, perceptible only to anyone who got within nuzzling distance yet hanging around on the skin for days.  (Especially if, in true French tradition, you did not bathe all that often…) Together, Lyn Harris and Jane Birkin pulled off the trick of capturing her erotic blockbuster hit, Je t’aime, moi non plus – in a bottle.

Now, here’s a ‘baby sister’  to the original, in a dear little 50 ml spray:  Un Petit Rien, an eau de Cologne. ‘A little nothing’ plays both on the name and the original notes:  sweet orange blossom, earthy oakmoss – and especially, those naughty, naughty musks. If you ask me, there’s a trail of Old Holborn tobacco in there, too.  An understated echo, perhaps, of ‘my father’s pipe’, which – alongside ‘my brother’s hair, floor polish, empty chest of drawers, old forgotten houses’ – Jane Birkin once revealed to Vogue were elements she wanted included in her original signature creation.  (Until Lyn Harris came along, Jane never wore fragrance.  Nope, not even sandalwood or patchouli oil.)  Once it’s mellowed, you’ll get a sweet, soft hit of baby’s head or Johnson’s powder, too.

Spritzed on to my skin at 9 a.m. one morning, Un Petit Rien was most definitely, most deliciously still there 24 hours later.  (I confess:  like my Joséphine namesake, I Did Not Wash.) This is a whisper of a fragrance rather than the heavy breathing of the original:  despite those musky notes, Un Petit Rien is super-subtle – but because of them, unbelievably (if understatedly) sexy.  And at £60 for 50 ml, fifty times less expensive than her namesake Hermès handbag.  (With no waiting list…)



3 comments to Miller Harris Un Petit Rien Reviewed

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