Among niche perfume brands there is a group of names that will always have that specific “always been there” label in my head. It refers to the houses that by now have developed a rather impressive history and portfolio of creations, being present on the market for many years. One of them is Diptyque, founded in 1961. I have a lot of respect for this maison, I tried many of their perfumes but none of them managed to wow me. Until now. I finally found a perfect Diptyque fragrance.
When things are getting old it’s easy to get an impression that something is getting boring and uninteresting. The same would’ve happened to perfumery if there were no new releases and new aroma materials were not being developed by manufacturers. Just think about oud – what a revolution it has caused. Right now when most think that there is no place for yet another perfume with oud, some brands prove that something still can be done with agarwood essence.
In October 2015 Diptyque has launched Oud Palao, their first oud-flavored composition. I have tried this perfume for the first time during my visit to Pitti Fragranze. At the time when I was about to give it a try there was no one at the stand. I just helped myself and sprayed some on paper first. And it was instant love. I knew I wanted to have a bottle in my wardrobe. Composition of this fragrance opens with a sultry rose essence. Right from the start it effuses its dark and mysterious aura around the wearer. As soon as it warms up on skin the rose becomes deep and multi-dimensional. Color of this rose is dark red and structure is like a velvet on a seat in old gentlemen’s club.
Fantastic thing about rose of Oud Palao is that sensuality and power is really beaming from this composition. Rose is prominent for a really long time and it was only a matter of minutes until the blend will become more complex. 20 minutes later a new Diptyque creation develops more nocturnal, midnight-ish edge when it turns more smoky. First thing I notice is the warmth and attractiveness of the smoke. It’s attractive, inviting and somehow alluring. It invites you to keep sniffing your wrist again and again. To me the initial phase of smokiness is like a tobacco note that later unveils more nuances and puts an accent on labdanum that provides slightly different smoke effect – more dense and heavy. Also a little bit colder but the blend itself is warm enough to hide it.
At some point of development Diptyque Oud Palao becomes more and more woody and it’s probably the most appealing part of this perfume. The imagery here could be focused on the altar made of fragrant sandalwood. Complexity of the note is shown through its major substantivity as to me it was clearly possible to feel how the perfume has gained weight. It’s also visible in the kaleidoscope of both shiny & smooth elements combined with more raw & rough facets of this woody accord. Harmony of notes is so in-tact that right now if feels as if the rose note was given a new life, making it stronger again, amplified. Crimson petals on a woody base. Magical combination.
Now that I witnessed the rebirth of rose (which made me very happy as you might guess) here comes the time to add a little bit of oud to the composition. It’s been used here very cautious and in a reasonably small dose. It doesn’t take the lead in Oud Palao, it doesn’t even try. It melts together with the scent of rose, making it dark, sexy, a little bit daring maybe. Through all these years with oud I developed a sweet spot in my perfume ego for a good duet of oud & rose. They just smell so good together. In the next couple of hours this Diptyque fragrance undergoes some changes and rearrangements but the core – rose and woods, remains rather stable over course of time.
In the drydown phase Oud Palao from Diptyque smells on me smokier than it was before but there is a pleasant sweetness of vanilla blended in the imaginary smoky swirls that would float from the surface of my skin. Vanilla is very light here. It’s also not gourmand in a bit but is darker – think of whole vanilla pods. Later it becomes a little bit caramely (maybe there is some benzoin? official notes don’t mention it) and my skin also develops a very faint impression of prunes. But it’s just a personal impression. Very late drydown reveals more earthy and woody touches of patchouli.
Oud Palao has hypnotized me with its charming, alluring rose combined with smoky, boozy and woody tones. Even though I smelled it only once before, I was sure I made a good choice by purchasing a bottle. As soon as I smelled it again on me I was in scented heaven. Oud Palao has a great sillage and it easily lasts all day. Diptyque managed to combine cultures of East & West in one beautiful perfume. The fragrance comes as eau de parfum in 75 ml brand’s signature bottle which is flat and round. Bottle “frame” is covered with black lacquer. Standing ovation for perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin from me. My autumn will be much easier to handle with Oud Palao.