Bandit was the first fragrance release from Parisian fashion designer Robert Piguet. The leather chypre was created by perfumer Germaine Cellier, and launched on “the couture runway in 1944 with models sporting villain masks, brandishing toy revolvers and knives” (via Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics). Bandit was eventually discontinued, then was re-launched in 1999 in a new formulation created by perfumer Delphine Lebeau of Givaudan. The notes include neroli, orange, ylang ylang, galbanum, jasmine, tuberose, rose, carnation, leather, vetiver, oakmoss, patchouli and musk.
Guy Robert called Bandit a beautiful but brutal perfume, and that is as apt a description as any: Bandit is not a fragrance for the timid. It starts with heavy green notes, and moves slowly into a lovely floral blend with hints of spice, but the leather is apparent from the onset, and as it dries down, it is joined by an earthy-mossy accord that vaguely recalls a full ashtray. There is the slightest hint of powder, but it adds nothing of delicacy or girliness, and while Bandit stops short of being feral, the far dry down can only be described as decidedly animalic.
I first tried Bandit some years ago, shortly after I fell in love with Fracas (Fracas being another Piguet-Germaine Cellier composition, more on which tomorrow). Like Fracas, Bandit is in-your-face sexy, but it is the dark, rebellious side of sexy, the bad girl, if you will. It is a sophisticated fragrance, mind you, but in spirit it is younger than Fracas, and it has more energy. Bandit is drinking and smoking and leather jackets, and running around at all hours getting into all sorts of mischief. I’ve been trying to think of what would be the modern version of such a fragrance, and nothing comes to mind: perhaps there is no such thing?
Anyway, Bandit is just glorious stuff. Do try it if you can.
Robert Piguet Bandit is available in Eau de Parfum, Parfum and Body Lotion. For buying information, see the listing for Robert Piguet under Perfume Houses.