A Scented Advent, December 2

A Scented Advent, December 2

It’s the second day of Advent (and the second day of final exams at the university where I work — ugh). As regular readers here know, some of us were chatting back and forth about Advent calendars on our blogs, and lo! a plan was born. I have a refillable Advent calendar, and I have placed in it some of the surprise samples sent by a kind perfumista, only looking to make sure the samples will fit in the little drawers. So I don’t know what I’m going to get on any given day!

Today’s SOTD is Diptyque’s Eau Duelle, in the eau de toilette fomulation, created by Fabrice Pellegrin and launched in 2010. Wow, vanilla! I like this a lot, because it’s not a very sweet vanilla; it smells more botanical than gourmand. The website lists only vanilla, pink peppercorn, and cypriol as “raw materials”. Fragrantica lists its notes as: Bourbon vanilla, elemi resin, cardamom, juniper, pink pepper, olibanum, black tea, ambergris, bergamot, saffron, musk. The brand also describes it as “an ode to travel and vanilla. Along the spice route, the vanilla at the heart of Eau Duelle takes on new aromas: luminous, addictive accents of calamus and dark, smoky nuances of cypriol. Travelling through time and over borders, Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar reveals itself between darkness and light.”

Cypriol is a fascinating substance. It comes from the root of an ancient plant in the same family as papyrus. The Society of Scent describes its aroma as a combination of vetiver, patchouli, and cedar, with hints of pepper and bay leaf. That would explain the non-gourmand aspect of Eau Duelle; it really is more botanical — an herbal vanilla. When I first applied some to my wrist, most of what I smelled was a gust of vanilla, and that remains strong throughout. As it dries down, though, more and more of the herbal and woody facets of this fragrance emerge, in a pleasant, cozy way. One commenter has said that wearing Eau Duelle is like wrapping yourself in a cashmere blanket; I would add that you’re also drinking a cup of vanilla chai or other spiced tea while wrapped in said blanket.

Bottle of Bourbon vanilla extract with vanilla bean pods
Bourbon vanilla beans and extract; image from nativevanilla.com

I can’t distinguish all the notes listed on Fragrantica, but I do pick up hints of cardamom and juniper. The website also mentions calamus, both in its description and as an “olfactory accident”, whatever that means. Calamus is another ancient plant; Egyptians wrote about it as early as 1300, when it may have been used in perfumes. In our own literary history, the poet Walt Whitman used it as a symbol of homosexual love between men, and his masterpiece “Leaves of Grass” includes a series of poems known as the “Calamus Poems” or “Calamus Sequence.” Its odor is said to be warm, spicy, woody, with green notes. It’s entirely possible that the many notes listed by Fragrantica are really different aspects of just two substances: cypriol and calamus.

I could definitely see myself getting a travel spray of Eau Duelle some day. I’ll be interested to see, once I’m out and about more, whether I get any comments on it; there’s something about vanilla notes that really attracts people. It reminds me of Le Couvent des Missions’ original Eau des Missions cologne, a cult favorite with many perfumistas. Interestingly, it came out just a year after Eau Duelle, in 2011. If you’re yearning for that long-discontinued scent, try Eau Duelle.

Refillable wooden Advent calendar
My fragrance Advent calendar
Scent Sample Sunday: Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain

Scent Sample Sunday: Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain

Today’s scent sample is one I am surprisingly close to “thunking”, which I hadn’t expected. I was given a house sample of Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard Saint Germain with my purchase of the house’s Eau Rose hair mist. I was happy to have it, but didn’t anticipate much from it. It has been sitting on my bedside table with some other samples, so I pulled it out earlier this week when I was settling in for my usual bedtime reading. At first spray, I thought to myself, “this is VERY pleasant.” As I continued reading, I periodically sniffed my wrist, and thought, “this is still REALLY nice.” And when I woke up the next morning, having had it on my skin by then for several hours, it STILL smelled really good.

So I did that again the next night. And the next, including last night. And here I am, on a Sunday morning, writing about it as my sample of the week. What is it like, and why am I liking it so much? Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau Rose

Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau Rose

Diptyque’s Eau Rose is one of its line of eaux de toilette, but the same fragrance is available in several different formats. I have a sample of the EDT and a bottle of the hair mist. This is a very appealing, fresh rose. Continue reading

Fragrance Friday: Hair Spray

Fragrance Friday: Hair Spray

Or rather, hair MIST. This is a relatively new discovery for me, as I wrote about here: Fragrance Friday: Hair Spray/Colette. I may have to explore this world further, based on a recent experience in airport security. Yes, that’s right — airport security. As my family and I were returning from Ireland a few weeks ago, we were going through security in the Dublin airport. As I am wont to do, I had spent some time browsing among fragrances in the duty-free shop, where I had come across Diptyque’s new hair mist. Having enjoyed the Colette hair mist, I decided to try it. And, if the truth be told, I had already sprayed other scents on both wrists and inner elbows. Hair was the only real estate left.

Reader, I sprayed it. And generously, too. Shortly after, I grabbed my bags and went through the security screening line. As I passed through the scanner for people, and my bags passed through the scanner for luggage, I didn’t give it a thought — I knew where my liquids were, I knew everything in my bag was allowed, I took off my metal bracelet and put it in my handbag, etc. Suddenly — “Ma’am! Ma’am!”. A youngish female airport employee was approaching me with an urgent tone in her voice. “Yes?”, I asked, inwardly sighing that I must have messed up something with my luggage (side note: I have done that and was once busted by an airport bag-sniffing dog who found an apple I had forgotten was in my backpack).

Dublin airport security screening line and trays

Dublin Airport security screening

“Do I need to open my bag?”, I asked.

“No, ma’am, I just need to know what scent you’re wearing. You smell wonderful!”

Now that’s a first. I have occasionally been stopped by strangers asking about my fragrance, which is always flattering when they ask nicely and not in a creepy way. But I’ve never been stopped by airport security over my own fragrance, as opposed to the scent of an illicit piece of fruit. (By the way, the dogs don’t sit quietly when they find the fruit. They bark. Loudly. And put their paws on your bag). I assume it was the hair mist that attracted her attention, because I sprayed on more of it than anything else, and it really does carry. And of course I told her what I thought it was and pointed back vaguely toward the Diptyque counter, because when airport security asks you a question, YOU ANSWER.

Airport beagle sniffer dog with fruit

Airport beagle finding illicit fruit in luggage

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that if you haven’t tried fragranced hair mist yet, you might want to! And you might want to start with Diptyque, which now has two: Eau Rose and Eau des SensGiven that fragrance often lasts longer and has more sillage when sprayed on hair, this seems like an affordable way to wear Diptyque, and I hope they offer more of their scents in this formulation. Here’s the challenge: I don’t remember which one I sprayed on, and Eau Rose appears to be sold out online at Diptyque’s website.

Not to be dissuaded from my quest, I plan to make a visit soon to one of my local department stores that carries Diptyque and see if I can try them both. If I figure out which one made the screener swoon, I’ll update this post!

Featured image from http://www.britishbeautyblogger.com.

May Muguet Marathon: Perfume/Bouquet Pairings

May Muguet Marathon: Perfume/Bouquet Pairings

Surprise! None of the pictured fragrances are muguet fragrances. They were featured in an article in Brides magazine on pairing a wedding day fragrance with one’s bridal bouquet: A Perfect Pair: The Best Fragrances for Lily of the Valley Wedding Bouquets. The article points out that a wedding day perfume can clash with or complement a strongly fragrant bouquet — for instance, one full of lilies of the valley, like the bouquet I carried. (NB: I don’t recall exactly what fragrance I wore on my own wedding day but I strongly suspect it was Diorissimo, as I had a bottle of it then and wore it often. And yes, it was pre-reformulation! Sigh).

Interestingly, the writer suggests complementary, non-muguet scents to go with the lilies of the valley in the bouquet. Continue reading