Sylvaine Delacourte is the former perfume creative director of Guerlain and current owner/founder of her own eponymous perfume brand and line. She has issued three themed collections of fragrances: the Vanilla Collection, the Musks Collection, and the Orange Blossom Collection. Dovana is one of the Musks Collection, and it is described as a “tender musk.” All of the Musks Collection are at 20% concentration, i.e. eau de parfum strength, and all are unisex.
The brand’s website says that Ms. Delacourte wanted this collection to feel like “olfactive pashiminas”, with a signature softness. These are synthetic musks, not derived from animals, used in fragrances for their fixative power, and conveying a certain warmth and sensuality. Dovana is especially soft, with top notes of neroli and mandarin; heart notes of heliotrope and ambrette (musk mallow); and base notes of iris, vanilla, sandalwood, and musk. The initial impression is immediately one of soft powder, after a fleeting glimpse of neroli. To my nose, the heliotrope comes forward right away, with its hints of floral, vanilla, and almond notes. The ambrette, or musk mallow, accompanies it with its signature softness. Over time, the iris, vanilla, and white musk base notes take over from the heliotrope and ambrette. I don’t really smell sandalwood as a separate note, but I think it is there anchoring the musk and giving it more depth and warmth.
The brand’s own description of Dovana is:
Dovana feels like a white and diaphanous vapor. It projects the softness of a light petal. This fresh musk evokes cleanliness, the fragrance of good old-fashioned soap, enriched with an overtone of iris, a touch of heliotrope and a hint of vanilla. All on a bed of musks selected for their softness, giving a clean and tender note.
Some commenters on Fragrantica have felt that the impression of a lovely soap is strongest for them. My nose picks up the floral notes most clearly, the heliotrope and iris, and associates them with soft powder. There is a hint of baby powder, but this is not as sweet. Another phrase used by the brand to describe it is “a lacework of light and tender flowers nestling in a cocoon of musks.” I would add that it feels fluffy to me, like the beautiful, ivory-colored mohair or angora lace shawl pictured above. I am not clever enough to knit one like this myself, but some of you may be!
I do find that Dovana leans toward the traditionally feminine side of the fragrance spectrum, but I suspect it could be very appealing on many men. It is cozy and reassuring, but also elegant. It is an ideal bedtime fragrance, as Ms. Delacourte suggests in this short video; I’ve applied it at night when in bed, drifted off to sleep soothed by its softness, and awakened the next morning with light wafts of Dovana still emanating from my wrist.
Have you tried any of Sylvaine Delacourte’s fragrances? Do you generally like musk-centered fragrances? I wasn’t sure I did, but I like this one very much!
Featured image from LaceShawlWorld on Etsy.