Pathetique is the latest creation from O’Driu and Angelo Orazio Pregoni, a scent that briefly takes you to the heart of the forest floor with black truffles, singed woods, vetiver, jasmine, and mosses that are woven together with incense, before it then segues to something very different. I liked parts of Pathetique (officially spelled with an accent as “Pathétique”) quite a bit, particularly the creamy vanilla crème anglaise that acts like a bridge between its various parts, but it is not a scent that matches up to its hyperbolic description. O’Driu describes Pathetique as everything from “performance perfume” and “contemporary artwork” to wholly “unique” in all the world and a “masterpiece” whose name was chosen as an ironic finger to critics. In reality, Pathetique is an easy, very wearable scent. It’s not a mainstream fragrance but, comparatively speaking, it’s the most commercial Pregoni creation that I’ve tried thus far. I think its approachability is a good thing, but my description would probably horrify its controversial creator.
It’s hard to talk about Pathetique without talking about its creator. Mr. Pregoni’s character is part of everything, from the scent to its press release description and his interviews about it. My initial impression was that Mr. Pregoni was a progressive free-spirit who sought to work outside the lines out of genuine intellectual artistry, and whose approach was driven purely by a self-deprecating, whimsical sense of humour. I think I was mistaken.
Several recent reports from people within the perfume industry that were told to me privately show a very different side to Mr. Pregoni, as does a very telling Fragrantica interview with him which took place at the recent Pitti exhibition and concerned, among other things, Pathetique and “perfumed art.” None of this is helped by the self-aggrandizing way that the scent is described on the O’Driu website. Ultimately, though, it is not my place or business to talk about a perfumer as a person, only about the way a fragrance smells. So, I’ll leave it to you to read that Fragrantica interview and draw your own conclusions. I’ll move onto Pathetique. Continue reading