Agent Provocateur & Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle ~ fragrance reviews

Agent Provocateur Eau de Parfum fragrance Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle fragrance

The UK-based lingerie line Agent Provocateur released their first fragrance, called simply Agent Provocateur, in 2000. The "exotic floral chypre" was created by perfumer Christian Provenzano, and includes notes of saffron, coriander, rose, jasmine, magnolia, ylang ylang, gardenia, vetiver, amber and musk.

There are fragrances that are sexy in a non-obtrusive kind of way, and then there are fragrances that are sexy in an in-your-face kind of way. Agent Provocateur is in-your-face sexy. It smells, quite simply, like a fragrance that you would wear to seduce someone, which is, after all, the raison d’être of the Agent Provocateur brand.

The top notes have a nicely dry chypre-ish feel, earthy and warm, with a beautiful buzz of spice. After that, it slowly turns rich, with a creamy floral sweetness centered on rose.  There is a bit of a dark, vaguely leathery animalic base, but it is softened by the flowers and a lightly powdered finish.

Agent Provocateur is often compared to Jean Couturier's Coriandre*, a fragrance that I wore for many years but have resisted re-visiting for fear that the reformulation will depress me. I can catch the comparison only briefly in the top notes, and then later only from a distance: up close, Agent Provocateur smells quite different from what I remember of Coriandre, which in my memory was more sparkling and green than rich and creamy. If I'm wrong, please don't tell me.

At any rate, I like Agent Provocateur better now than I did when I first tried it several years ago, but I don't entirely love it. I've worn it three times in the last week, and each time I enjoyed it very much for an hour or so, then the richness and the powder started to wear on me and I wished I was wearing something else. Perhaps I need to try it again in cooler weather.

Eau Emotionnelle, released by Agent Provocateur this year, is meant as a lighter variation on the original. I have yet to see a complete list of notes, but additions include cape snow bush, lie de vin, pink pepper, white tea and osmanthus. The opening is fresh and mildly fruity; the mid notes are fresh and mildly floral. Agent Provocateur calls Eau Emotionnelle the original's "charming sister", but they are not so closely related to my nose, or at least not until it has dried down and the similarities in the base notes are evident. Even then, most everything that made Agent Provocateur what it is has been smoothed out, toned down, and made acceptable for office wear: there is but a trace of the earthy warmth, buzz of spices and dark animalic undertones. This is lighter, blander, and much less sexy.

Like this year's Euphoria Blossom by Calvin Klein, Eau Emotionnelle strikes me as not particularly likely to please those who already love the original but want a lighter version. It just isn't the same sort of thing, and in that sense, and again like Euphoria Blossom, it might work to attract new consumers to the brand. Personally, I would have preferred a more straightforward rendering of Agent Provocateur in an Eau de Toilette.

Agent Provocateur is an Eau de Parfum, and is available in 50 and 100 ml spray bottles. Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle is an Eau de Toilette, and is also available in 50 or 100 ml. For buying information, see the listing for Agent Provocateur under Perfume Houses.

* Update: I did revisit Coriandre after writing this article, and as I suspected, I would have been happier if I hadn't.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “If I'm wrong, please don't tell me.” :-D

    I completely agree with you in that those who love AP might find APEE lacking in personality and character. On the other hadn, the company's plan of attracting new customers has worked in at least one instance. I don't like AP the original, but I will be buying APEE very soon. :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I tried the Eau Emotionelle today, and had much the same impression as you, R. It's not really a 'lighter' version of AP; to me it's a different but related scent, and not light except in the sense that it's kind of fruity more than it's spicy. It also didn't develop much on my skin – I thought the initial spritz fairly nice, but got tired of it after thirty minutes. I like AP much better – it's an unabashed sex tool, where this is, well, more like Miracle!

  3. Anonymous says:

    M, we are not in our “proper places” on this one. You should like the darker AP, and I should like the lighter EE.

  4. Anonymous says:

    N, sounds like we have about the same reaction. We'll both have to wait for Maitresse!

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Bland” as a descriptive is usually a warning, isn't it? Then there's “fruity.”

    I love AP too much to want a bland, fruity shadow-of-AP scent …

    but Maitresse — is that “Mistress”? — sounds so interesting. If fragrance can augment our alter-egos, I'm for pursuing all the dominatrix and seductress scents I can find! So much safer than actually DOING those things.

    Yours truly, the Walter Mitty of the fragrance world. xoxo

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, M, it is blander — not sure I'd actually call it bland except in comparison to AP. But if you love AP, don't think you'll love EE. It certainly isn't anybody's idea of dominatrix ;-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the reviews! Sounds like a case with Prada and Prada Tendre… but I'm still curious to try APEE.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh yes, AP certainly fares better in cold weather I think, primarily because there's something about it that stands up well to biting bracing winter winds. (Well, okay, at least in my neck of the woods it does.) I feel you on wishing for an edt version, though. I dig the edp, but those who I've shared it with only *almost* like it, and I think if it were in edt form they would have totally been happy with it.

    I'm still interested in the APEE, but “smoothed out, toned down” sounds like it might remove those things I love best about AP. Well, I'll stay curious, but at least I can't say I wasn't warned! Heh!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I'm curious to try APE mainly because it sounds so different from the original, and I like soft florals.

    I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked original AP: not usually a spice or rose girl, but I've discovered I really like saffron & coriander mixed with rose. I think I found the dryness of the scent unique & enjoyable.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oops, I thought that I posted my comment, but it was sitting here all along. I forgot to press the “Post” button.

    I am very curious to try AP EE. I did not care for the sharpness of the original, even though I liked it overall.

  11. Anonymous says:

    And I haven't yet tried the Prada Tendre :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    K, EE makes me wonder if like Calvin Klein, they are reaching for the Asian market or something?

  13. Anonymous says:

    For some reason, I remembered it as very, very sweet…not that I've retried it, I agree, it is sweet, but not at all overly sweet, and the very dry basenotes are lovely.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I bought both Eau and the parfum. I like them both. I will wear the Eau on of course, lighter days but the parfum will definitely be my “Wanna seduce yah in the Fall” fragrance. No, I don't think the eau is a lighter version of the original but I find this to be ok. The weird thing is that at first, I thought the parfum was too heavy for me and then I tried to Eau. After wearing the eau for a bit, the parfum began to smell better on me… Is this weird???

  15. Anonymous says:

    I don't find it weird…it is probably really just that you got used to the smell of the parfum and started to like it better. Or at least, I do that all the time myself :-)

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dear Robin,

    where do you get your information from with regards to the creator/perfumer for Agent provocateur Parfum and also Nicole Farhi Parfums – as it all seems incorrect?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Christian Provenzano of CPL Aromas is widely credited with creating AP, but I couldn't say where I got the information from originally.

    The Nicole Farhi scents were also done at CPL Aromas. I have seen the women's attributed to Dominique Preyssas elsewhere, but the CPL Aromas web page says he did the men's. Their web page also says that Beverley Bayne did the women's, so my attribution of that one to CP might be wrong, or perhaps they worked on it together as they have on other scents.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dear Robin,

    Ok now i understand how you have received this informationn which is incorrect – All Agent Provocateur fragrances are created in-house and always have been they use CPL aromas for the manufacture of the fragrances. CPL do not decide the concept of what the juice will smell of or what specialised raw materials will go into the perfume either. Pse can you correct this on your sites for future reference. This also applies to Nicole Farhi and Jasper Conran whose fragrances are developed by European Designer Perfumes.

    I am sure you will change the details asap.

    Thank you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I did not tell you how I received the information, I only mentioned some information which I found on the CPL website after I read your comment.

    And of course, very few perfumers “decide the concept of what the juice will smell of”. That is generally done by the creative director working in collaboration with the brand or its representatives.

    Here is a citation for the Jasper Conran scents from Global Cosmetics Industry: “CPL Aromas director of perfumery Christian Provenzano, senior perfumer Beverley Bayne, creative commercial consultant Azzi Glasser and European Design Productions managing director Howard Shaughnessy have teamed together to create men's and women's signature fragrances for Jasper Conran.”

    Christian Provenzano is mentioned recently in the NYT as the creator of Agent Provocateur, and in Cosmetics International as the creator of Agent Provocateur Maitresse. So I do not see that my original attributions are incorrect.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It is mentioned in the Agent Provocateur signature Press release that the creator is Azzi Pickhall (now Glasser) ( we are happy to forward a copy to you on this by a seperate email? – Azzi works with a number of technical perfumers at CPL in collaboration and has worked with Christian on a few occassions hence the confusion. Thank you for telling us about the NYT we will rectify this understanding as well. Esprit Magazine reports the creator of Maitresse to be Azzi Glasser which was based on an interview with Agent Provocateur Owner Joseph Corre and Serena Rees, as does Vogue, Marie Claire, Independent and so on. We have found that reports in magazines such as Cosmetics international and Global Cosmetics industry are not generally correct and come from the fragrance house who want to promote their own employees.

    Thank you..

  21. Anonymous says:

    What you call a “technical perfumer” is what I call a perfumer, and Azzi Glasser is what I would call a creative director. This seems largely just a matter of semantics, but at any rate, it is not worth pursuing at this length in the comments to a fragrance review. If you would like to email me, my address is nowsmellthis at comcast dot net.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hi pse can you send me your eact email address as I cannot get through to nowsmellthis at comcast dot net.?


  23. Anonymous says:

    Substitute the @ sign for at, and a period for dot, and make sure there are no spaces — that is the correct email address.

  24. Anonymous says:

    this perfume reminds me of a perfume from my childhood mid to late 80s… maybe its just the strong musky powdery that smells familiar??? can anyone come up with any from that era it resembles?

  25. Anonymous says:

    It is a modern version of a chypre, and is often compared to Jean Couturier Coriandre, so that could be it, or could be some other older chypre w/ rose?

  26. Anonymous says:

    I just posted on your Corriandre thread . . . and stumbled on this.

    AP isn't a modern version of Corriandre, in my opinion. It is a modern chypre, and only in that way is it really a modern version of Corriandre.

    I take Corriandre, as I wrote on that page, as the grandmama of all chypres. AP lacks the depth, bite, and substance that made Corridandre so heady and spicy.

    AP is a wonderful foray into spicy green if you enjoy chypres, but in my limited experience, there are few out there that were as bold and confident as Corriandre.

    I am not certain that is because of modernity, but the intrinsic character of a one of a kind classic.

    But I have a bias.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I love perfume but am by means an expert. I have a small bottle of the Agent Provocateur, and while I like it, it reminds me of something my grandmother wore in the mid to late 80's, probably by Estee Lauder. Does it remind anyone else of a fragrance from EL?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Would guess EL Knowing, which is often compared to Coriandre (which is often compared to AP).

  29. Owen says:

    when I smelled this I thought it was all musk.

    it smells sexy but fragrances designed to make you feel sexy don’t get you in a sexy mood or make you feel seduced. it could turn out to be one of my favourite’s though (maybe), as I like perfumes that are unique and long lasting, and this fits. the edp that is, haven’t smelled the edt.

    but it is quite nice. could wear it for bed ;)

    • Robin says:

      No, but if you’re already in a sexy mood they help :-)

  30. LilSnifflet says:

    I’m revisiting this one today. I bought this unsniffed (my 1st!) last year due to reviews I’d read while searching for a sexy new scent in preparation for my anniversary. My nose was extremely new to anything above the basic musk or floral and I didn’t care for it. I planned to give it away during the holiday season along with my minis that had graduated to full bottles. well, the box smelled delicious when I went to retrieve it. hmmmm…..i hesitated and kept it thinking if the box smelled so heavenly surely the juice does too? i decided I simply needed to mature my nose to fully appreciate it out the bottle.

    a few months later i found the scent much more appealing when I didnt spritz at close range (unsure why this is…..)

    Today, bored, i swabbed it on with a cotton ball containing 3 spritz…

    oh wow! i like this. like this a lot. perhaps when the fall rolls around it would be better suited. this may be a bit much for my taste in the summer heat but i’m just slumming about the house today with no plans to go out. Glad i kept it! ;)

    • Robin says:

      It’s so fun to rediscover something you thought you didn’t like…I gave alway many things early on, then missed them later.

  31. Anne from Makeupwoot says:

    Holy wow. I ordered a .25 mini bottle of this from and got it in today. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it and couldn’t wait to try it. I decided to start with a single spritz to test out the power and was shocked at how revolting I found it to be. Thinking it was just the alcohol I let it dry down and warm to my skin. About 45 minutes into it I sniffed it again. Now, I’ve been told that it smells like a “slutty rose” by one of my favorite reviewers, and while that is definitely in there the closest thing that it smells like to me are those icky “scented plastic” toys that all the girls wanted when I was in the first and second grade in the late 1980s. Apparently a “slutty rose” + my body chemistry = burned scented plastic. I’m so glad I only got a sample bottle.

    • Robin says:

      Always worth sampling first, yes! So sorry you hated it.

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