Archive for the ‘Parfums DelRae’ Category

Upon hearing about this new scent at Now Smell This recently, I had this to say:  DelRae Does Rose?  I am SO THERE.  The description of the scent as “capturing the ultimate beauty of the rose as you find in nature – deep, luscious, fresh and completely intoxicating.  So stunning that when you first smell it, it is ‘love at first sight.'”  (Description from the Parfums DelRae website.)   It was composed by Yann Vasnier in conjunction with DelRae Roth and released in June 2010.

I still haven’t tried all of the DelRae offerings.  Of those I’ve tried, I liked one, Amoureuse, very very much, and the other two, Bois de Paradis and Emotionelle, were just hideous on me.  I’d still like to try Mythique and Debut, but Eau Illuminee does not appeal to me based on its notes. 

Coup de Foudre, by contrast, did appeal to me, very much, based on its notes.  From the DelRae website: Baie Rose, Bergamot, Italian Lemon ‘sfumatrice’, Pink Grapefruit, Rose de Mai France Orpur, Purple Peony, Egyptian Jasmine absolute, Magnolia Orpur, Geranium Bourbon, Tonka Venezuela, Vetyver, White Moss, Velvet Musks.  (For those of you with a bee in your bonnet about pink pepper, cringe again: “baie rose” is pink pepper.  Ha ha. And I think “sfumatrice” means something like “vanishing,” in Italian, but I don’t really get what that means in terms of lemon.  Lemon doesn’t last anyway.)  So when a bottle split became available, I got my hot little hands on it right away.

The name Coup de Foudre – which means, literally, “stroke of lightning” in French and has the colloquial meaning of “love at first sight” – recalled to me a passage from The Godfather, by Mario Puzo:

… The girls, not seeing the men resting in the orange grove, came closer and closer… Three or four of them started chasing one girl, chasing her toward the grove.  The girl being chased held a bunch of huge purple grapes in her left hand and with her right hand was picking grapes off the cluster and throwing them at her pursuers. She had a crown of ringleted hair as purple-black as the grapes and her body seemed to be bursting out of its skin. 

Just short of the grove she poised, startled, her eyes having caught the alien color of the men’s shirts… she was very close now, close enough for the men to see every feature of her face.

She was all ovals – oval-shaped eyes, the bones of her face, the shape of her brow.  Her skin was an exquisite dark creaminess and her eyes, enormous, dark violet or brown but dark with long heavy lashes shadowed her lovely face.  Her mouth was rich without being gross, sweet without being weak, and dyed dark red with the juice of the grapes.  She was so incredibly lovely that Fabrizzio murmured, “Jesus Christ, take my soul, I’m dying, ” as a joke, but the words came out a little too hoarsely.  As if she had heard him, the girl came down off her toes and whirled away from them and fled back to her pursuers.  Her haunches moved like an animal’s beneath the tight print of her dress; as pagan and as innocently lustful.  When she reached her friends she whirled around again and her face was like a dark hollow against the field of bright flowers.  She extended an arm, the hand full of grapes pointed back toward the grove.  The girls fled laughing, with the black-clad, stout matrons scolding them on.

As for Michael Corleone, he found himself standing, his heart pounding in his chest; he felt a little dizzy.  The blood was surging through his body, through all its extremities and pounding against the tips of his fingers, the tips of his toes.  All the perfumes of the island came rushing in on the wind, orange, lemon blossoms, grapes, flowers.  It seemed as if his body had sprung away from him out of himself.  And then he heard the shepherds laughing.

“You got hit by the thunderbolt, eh?” Fabrizzio said, clapping him on the shoulder… Calo, his honest face filled with the utmost seriousness, said, “You can’t hide the thunderbolt.  When it hits you, everyone can see it… don’t be ashamed of it, some men pray for the thunderbolt.”

And just like that, Michael Corleone has fallen in love with Apollonia, daughter of the local cafe’ owner, at first sight, hit by the thunderbolt – the coup de foudre.  He pursues Apollonia through the traditional channels, chaperoned by the elderly women of her family, and marries her within weeks. 

So Coup de Foudre had a lot to live up to, with that name and with Parfums’ DelRae’s description of it as “the superlative, modern rose perfume.”  Sadly, it falls short.  Mind you, it’s beautiful.  It’s very beautiful, and it does indeed carry the exquisite freshness of a live rose as no other rose scent I’ve ever smelled has ever done.  This is genius.  My complaint is that it is far too quiet, and far too fleeting.

DelRae scents have borne the reputation of being good, but often too loud.  However, Coup de Foudre is not loud at all.  It is pleasantly diffusive in the early stages –  the citrus is rather warm and spicy, and the opening has a sort of tart, jammy-fruity feeling that I like very much.  Almost immediately the rose comes up, and it’s a little powdery at first but settles into an aspect that evokes the “nose in a rose” experience.  It’s gorgeous, and I mean really gorgeous.  I do smell quite a lot of peony, and it’s not the NEON SCREAMING PINK SYNTHETIC MESS that you often get in mainstream peony fragrances – it’s a fresh sweetness that blends very well with the rose.  I can’t tease out the jasmine or magnolia, but that may be because I’m concentrating on this rose-peony blend that charms me so much. 

Suddenly, though, this wonderful fresh-rose scent fades.  One minute, you’re thinking happy thoughts of your grandmother’s roses and your Sarah Bernhardt peonies, and the next, you’re wondering where it went.  Somewhere around hour 1.5, CdF shrinks down to the skin and won’t radiate off.  I can still smell it if I hoover my skin, but there’s almost no sillage at all.  The drydown – which is lovely and classical, with tonka, moss and musk – stays right next to the skin.  The development as a whole is pretty and coherent, but after an hour and a half, even if I follow the “spray until wet, multiple-spray in the same place,” technique, it is a skin scent, only perceptible to those who are embracing me.   The fragrance lasts about three hours on my skin, or perhaps three and a half if I spray until wet, with the last two hours being so close to the skin that I might not be wearing fragrance at all.

I would probably not be so disappointed in Coup de Foudre if I hadn’t read such glowing descriptions.  If you’re going to describe a fragrance as the ultimate fresh-rose scent – well,  for heaven’s sake, DelRae, follow through.  CdF is very much a fresh-rose scent, but to me “ultimate” means that the scent would last a little longer than an episode of ER.  I don’t know why I feel unwilling to forgive CdF its poor longevity, when I’ll do that for something ethereal like Apres l’Ondee.  But I am unwilling to do so.  The other thing that bothers me about it is that the name is far too extravagant for such a sweetly pretty fragrance.  There’s no thunderbolt here, no immediate and overpowering infatuation – Coup de Foudre isn’t present enough for that.

I begin to wonder if this first release of bottles was not macerated long enough.  Surely Parfums DelRae wouldn’t intentionally release something so shy and retiring?  I continue to be puzzled.   

Top image of Coup de Foudre from the DelRae website.  Lower image is “Rosa fresca aulentissima” from Qi Bo at flickr.

Read Full Post »

While visiting my brother- and sister-in-law in Northern Virginia this past weekend, I finally came face-to-blossom with a linden tree.  There are lindens planted near the sidewalks all along the little streets of their suburban neighborhood, and of course I’d seen the trees before on previous visits, but this was the first time I’d seen them in blossom.

They smell heavenly. 

Of course I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know.  Everyone who’s already smelled the linden blossoms knows, and everyone who’s read any comments on linden trees knows that the fragrance is the most salient point about them.  I had been skeptical that the real smell would approach people’s rhapsodies about it, partly because every perfume I’ve smelled that purported to evoke the smell of linden (lime blossom) smelled like laundry detergent to me: MAC Naked Honey, L’Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel, Jo Malone French Lime Blossom.  I was wrong.  Lime blossoms really are gorgeous.

And the first thing I thought when I walked under this tree on the way to E’s front door was, “That smells like Amoureuse!”  I didn’t have my sample with me to check, but when I went back out to the car to retrieve our suitcase, there it was again: my brain said Amoureuse

When I was wearing my Amoureuse sample a few weeks ago, all I could relate it to was the lovely nostalgic smell of black locust blossoms.  I knew that some reviews had likened Amoureuse to linden blossom, but since I had never smelled it, I didn’t understand the reference.  Amoureuse is supposed to evoke the distinctive smell of Victoria box trees that blossom all along the streets of San Francisco, but of course I’ve never smelled Victoria box either.  And I notice that linden doesn’t smell exactly like black locust, and neither one smells exactly like Amoureuse, but all three smells share a few characteristics: they are heady, heavy wafting odors, and they are all sweetly floral, almost honeyed smells.

Lime blossom, or linden, holds a place in one of my favorite poems, “Patterns” by Amy Lowell, and in the beautiful love poem “Unter den Linden by Walther van der Vogelweide.  And now I think that I must attempt to find both a small decant of Amoureuse and a linden tree for my yard…

Image is of Lime tree blossoms from wikipedia.

Read Full Post »

Amoureuse, one of the first scents released by the niche house founded by DelRae Roth, is intended to evoke the scent of the blooms of the Victorian box tree, hallmark of the city of San Francisco. It was composed by Michel Roudnitska and DelRae Roth.

Amoureuse” means “she who loves” in French, and is frequently recommended as a wedding or romantic scent. It’s a white floral that seems to engender powerful feelings – people either dislike it strongly, or they just loooove it. I don’t know why, exactly, it took me so long to get hold of a sample of Amoureuse, and once I obtained one, why it took me so long to actually test it. Most perfume blog reviews tended to the positive. Frequently, European reviewers mentioned blooming linden trees; San Franciscans said the fragrance was just what it was meant to copy, the blossoming Victorian box tree (Pittosporum undulatum). I’ve never smelled either.

I suppose I might have been put off a bit by Tania Sanchez’ review in Perfumes: The Guide, in which she comments that it struck her originally as “deliciously heady, dizzying, dense green – a sensation like falling asleep under a tree in summer, overcome by damp heat,”  (a description I just love, by the way), but that eventually she gave her bottle away because, as she says, “this combination of powerful greens plus syrupy white florals and cardamom is just too much to wear at any time, anywhere.” If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you already know that I have no great love for big sillage; if anything, that’s a drawback for me.

Nevertheless, spring came and the time seemed right to test Amoureuse. I wore it one day a few weeks ago. Once the opening had subsided a bit, and the white florals swimming in honey and spice began to come up, I realized: I’ve smelled this before. I’ve smelled this practically every spring of my life.

What Amoureuse smells like to me is the flowers of the black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia). It’s a humble tree – around these parts it tends to grow wild, on roadsides and in vacant lots, and many people regard it as a “trash tree.” My husband and father-in-law have a fondness for it, because black locust posts make excellent fences – the wood is very hard on its own and stands up well to being placed in the ground. However, all parts of the tree (flowers, leaves, seed pods, and bark) are poisonous to humans.  I do wonder if Victorian box and black locust are somehow related, but I don’t have the horticultural knowledge to even postulate.

The first time I really noticed the smell of black locust blossoms, I was visiting my grandmother’s farmhouse. My grandmother was showing me her garden phlox and peonies. I pointed: “What’s that tree? It smells so wonderful.” She shook her head, laughing. “Oh, honey, that’s nothin’ but an ol’ black locust tree. They grow ever’where.”

Just last week I went to pick up my daughter from track practice at the high school. I had the windows down and was concentrating on the song on the radio, when the car was suddenly full of the scent of spicy lilies. I hit the brakes and pulled over. Where were they? A sweet floral smell that strong, surely I’d be able to see the blooms… ah. A large stand of black locust trees was growing wild on each side of the road. No wonder the fragrance was almost overwhelming.

Notes for Amoureuse: Tangerine, cardamom, melon, pepper, honey, tuberose, jasmine, ginger lily, sandalwood, moss, musk.

Amoureuse does open with an intense, mouthwatering note of tangerine, supplemented with the juiciness of crushed leaves. Then the cardamom and floral notes appear – lots of jasmine and lily, with honey and tuberose pouring on the sweetness, and the fragrance is reminiscent of the headiness of black locust. It stays this way for about three hours on me, before gradually subsiding into a warm, elegant sandalwood-moss drydown that reminds me of a friendlier Ivoire de Balmain. The experience is beautiful start to finish, and lasts a good long time on me. One drop will get me a four-hour ride. Three drops gets me seven hours and radiates somewhat beyond the edge of my three-foot-diameter sillage limit.   

I don’t find Amoureuse particularly loud or overwhelming. That may be because I’m dabbing it from a sample vial – but honestly, decanting and dabbing is not an unreasonable solution if it’s too big when sprayed. It’s a beautiful scent, well worth owning. I’m seeking a decant, myself. I’d consider a bottle, but I doubt I’d use it up, given that it’s so concentrated, and a very little bit lasts well.  

Other reviews worth considering: The Left Coast Nose, Robin at Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Marina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things, Aromascope, Legerdenez, Olfactarama (brief), Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am (brief).

Image of Amoureuse bottle from Fragrantica. Images of Pittosporum undulata and Robinia pseudoacacia from Wikipedia.   Image of multiple trees is Black locust trees at Bret and Phifer’s from Vicky TGAW at Flickr.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: