Petal dance, Van Cleef & Arpels California Rêverie

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

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26 thoughts on “Petal dance, Van Cleef & Arpels California Rêverie

  1. hajusuuri says:

    Great review, Lucas! I will have to do a Bergdorf sniffa soon. This sounds quite flowery based on your description and although flowery is not my preference, our tastes intersect A LOT so I have high hopes for this!

  2. rickyrebarco says:

    California Reverie sounds divine! They had me at frangipani. When I lived in Miami people had frangipani growing in their yard. Great scent! I really like other fragrances in this line- the Gardenia Petal is very nice and California Reverie sounds like something I would love. As always, your descriptions are amazing.

    • lucasai says:

      I hope that you will give it a try really soon and that it will be a winner for you. The frangipani in this perfume is really nice. I wish I could smell the real frangipani from Miami. Collection Extraordinaire from VC&A is really good

  3. rickyrebarco says:

    And, Lucas, your pictures are wonderful, too. You are an excellent photographer.

  4. jillie says:

    I am so glad that your long wished-for Reverie seems to be a success! It sounds from your description as if it is rather lovely and worth the wait, which is good news. Certainly it seems to be a perfect perfume for the hot summer days we have been having. You must smell wonderful.

  5. I don’t think this would be for me, but I do think the bottle is quite elegant and as always, I love you photos!

  6. Tara C says:

    This sounds so lovely! Thanks for the detailed review, I look forward to smelling it – hopefully Neiman Marcus has it?

    • lucasai says:

      You’re welcome. Glad you liked the article. I don’t know but I would expect that NM should have it soon if they carry the other scents in VC&A Collection Extraordinaire

  7. Joanne says:

    I did a search for California Reverie and your wonderful review came up in the results. I prefer powerhouse eyes rolling back in head white florals, but this sounds lovely.
    Just an FYI: While looking for other reviews, I came across a blog that had posted (stolen?) your review. I don’t want to put the link here, but the website is called “magic pills online”.

    • lucasai says:

      Glad that the search engine showed you my review.
      I prefer a floral which is light and this one perfectly fits my aesthetics. But do give it a try.

      Could you send me the link to that website (by email, contact form)?

  8. Laurels says:

    It sounds lovely. I hope it comes to a store in my vicinity.

  9. Tiffanie says:

    A wonderful review, I hope to sniff this one soon. Do you find the jasmine soft/sweet or sharp/bitter? I have been dreaming of a floral fragrance that captures the sweet yet fresh variety of pink jasmine which grows in California.

    • lucasai says:

      Hello Tiffanie! This perfume is more of a sweet and soft jasmine, there is nothing sharp or bitter about it.

      Hope you like it when you give it a try

  10. Undina says:

    I just have to try this one – if nothing else, just for the name alone ; -)! And I like your review. And I love the fact that they decided to release smaller bottles: now I need to re-test a couple of their perfumes and see if any one speaks to me (I mean, 45-ml-worth speaking).

    • lucasai says:

      Yes, you should give it a try! I suppose you will like it but if not, you will like the name.
      Glad you like the review. The smaller bottles are really cute and the fact that surprised me was that those 45 ml bottles turn out to be cheaper (calculating per ml) than bigger ones. I checked a couple of shops around Europe and they all proved that

  11. hajusuuri says:

    Hmmm, maybe it’s time for me to buy my FB of Bois d’Iris 🙂

  12. Armando says:

    is this unisex? Can a guy pull it off? thx

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