There is something essentially true about the quote from Marilyn Monroe that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend.’ Among many high jewellery brands I’m sure that Miss Monroe would pick something from Van Cleef & Arpels as well. Created in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and Salomon Arpels the brand became a synonym of luxury. Since 1976 they also offer perfume creations and in 2009 they launched a high-end collection of scents made with a lot of care for materials and smallest details – Collection Extraordinaire which has just received a ninth element.
For the celebration of their 70th anniversary of being present in America, Van Cleef & Arpels created a special jewellery collection which ‘a wealth of inspiration derived from the majestic scenery of California‘ – the collection was given a name of California Reverie. Along the collection the perfume of the same name was exclusively created. It wasn’t offered regularly but was given as a gift to those who bought the shiny jewellery pieces of California Reverie. In 2014 the brand decided to incorporate this scent to the other scents in Collection Extraordinaire and put it in wider distribution.
Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie welcomes me with a beautiful citrus note which I suppose is lime. It is very light, chilly and aromatic but most of all, it’s incredibly juicy. I have to say that this accord is particularly gentle and it’s not one of those limes that burst in your face. It projects elegantly right from the start. In a matter of next 15 minutes the citrus quality becomes weaker and more transparent, giving the scent enough time for orange blossoms to mature. Just after the lime note subsides the perfume blooms with millions of orange blossoms.
At first they introduce a very clean and a bit soapy aroma but the saturation of white floral molecules quickly goes up causing the evolution of California Reverie into a really nice bouquet of flowers with clean white petals. The scent of orange flowers is very intensive and it totally surrounds you but at the same time the note doesn’t feel heavy or overwhelming. As the perfume slowly makes a progress the sheer scent of fleur d’oranger starts to transform. It becomes more milky at first, then it turns more creamy, more fleshy and tropical as well. This is a very summery vibe reminiscent of a good quality body lotion with SPF for sunbathing. They should additionally make a sunscreen.
This creamy effect that I just mentioned comes from frangipani, a small flowering tree which is also known as plumeria. These five-petals flowers appear in various colors, most common being a creamy white which gradually turns yellow closer to the center. Frangipani is often associated with tropical islands such as Hawaii and Tahiti. In California Reverie this note is very full-bodies, voluptuous and enticing. It has a citrus undertone shimmering brightly in the background but first noticeable aroma is of sweet cream combined with delicious coconut. It’s hard not to drool while smelling the wrist.
For a really long time frangipani effuses its charming and mesmerizing aroma of cream and coconut. At some point the citrusy background becomes slightly more prominent. It smells of sun-kissed mandarin orange. Juicy and sweet but also having the aromatic side which makes me think of the smell you can experience when you try to peel the mandarin. I’m sure you’re familiar with that gorgeous aroma of taking the citrus peel off. And it’s here, in Van Cleef & Arpels new scent.
After a few hours you can smell the jasmine accord emanating from California Reverie on your skin. This is an atypical jasmine. There is no indol around it and it lacks the heady and intensive floral aroma that usually comes included in the jasmine pack. In this fragrance jasmine is very airy, lightweight and ethereal. Thomas said in his review that it’s an ‘aerial jasmine’ and I totally agree with him – it’s the perfect word to describe this accord. While smelling this perfume I had an abstract image: jasmine tree stands on the hill, a gentle wind blows catching a few jasmine petals which immediately turn into little dancers, dancing and swirling the pirouettes while airborne.
In the composition of Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie beeswax plays a role of adding more depth and dimension to the composition but it also gives a little bit of its own scent. I can smell it in the drydown, it’s a little bit waxy and warm, think of a natural beeswax candles. Vanilla adds a gentle hint of sweetness which is far away from gourmand categories. I don’t know why but something in my mind suggests an ice-cream vanilla flavor as I smell the perfume. This composition was mastered by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu, who also did Muguet Blanc and Rose Velours for Van Cleef & Arpels. He certainly created a breezy fragrance that can catch the senses.
California Reverie is now official part of Collection Extraordinaire. It’s available in sleek, elegant and simple bottles with structured paper label, lacquered black cap and a VC&A logo charm hanging on a string wrapped around the flacon’s neck. It comes in 75 ml and also in a new size of 45 ml. The concentration of this blend is eau de parfum. The fragrance stays rather close to the skin and after some times it melts into one with your skin. In the 34*C heat and high humidity it lasted for 6 hours. In 25*C it lasted for 8-9 hours. Accidentally layered with my sunscreen, longevity was 10 hours. I honestly recommend this fragrance to those who crave a delicious summer floral which will be your holiday friend. Since last Monday I’m a happy owner of the smaller bottle.
[note] all pictures are my own, all rights reserved