Tag Archives: 2018 launch

Solar Romance, Van Cleef & Arpels Néroli Amara

There’s a hint of romanticism in the fact that orange flowers have been nicknamed as ‘neroli’ after Anne Marie Orsini – a princess of Nerola, Italy in 17th century popularized its use by scenting her gloves and bath with the essence of bitter orange tree blossoms. For me neroli was one of the first aroma materials I explored after discovering a wider world of perfumery. After all these years I still hold it dear and continue to enjoy smelling the fragrances that feature this essence. It’s usually quite cold, citrus-flowery with orange-green tinge. Newest addition to Van Cleef & Arpels high-end range of Collection Extraordinaire is a more romantic, graceful and subtle take on this white flower.

After applying Neroli Amara on the skin, it blooms slowly just like a flower that reveals its beauty gradually. First aroma that reaches my nose is a delicately zesty lemon. It’s quite subdued and not very juicy but more tart instead. After a couple of minutes bergamot joins the composition. When its tangy, bittery aroma marries with lemon zestiness the perfume starts to smell slightly different, reminiscent of Nimm 2 candy – there’s both sweet & sour flavors present at the tip of the tongue simultaneously. Once mandarin arrives at the scene it makes everything around softer.

The latter one reduces that light sharpness of lemon and bergamot – even though both are rather quiet on the skin it could be perceived when smelling Neroli Amara close to the skin surface. Mandarin makes the blend sweeter, slightly more juicy and there’s also a powdery backnote that smells a bit like albedo (the white part under the peel). Despite the fact that so far we’re only dealing with citrus fruit if I were to determine the color matching Neroli Amara I’d say pastel green. As the perfume develops a cypress accord is revealed and it starts to play on the green aspect.

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Cypress in Van Cleef & Arpels Neroli Amara is a source of an aromatic wave that adds more color to the scent. When you smell it, it goes deep inside your nose and makes you want to make a big breath, as if you felt more relaxed and at ease. Thanks to it pleasant shade the green feels more saturated. Not a pastel green anymore but a darker shade. Then finally neroli appears, or to be more precise it’s finally becoming more crystallized. Earlier it was somewhere far in the background which made it not that easy to notice. Now it’s taking more central place in this perfume.

‘Surprise, surprise!’ neroli would say if it could speak… Where is its diffusiveness? Where is its airiness? Cold splash of freshness? No, none of these give shape to Neroli Amara. It smells more oily instead of diffusive and stays relatively close to the skin. Its white floral vibe reminds me more of a light jasmine accord with a delicate taste of pear. Could it be that it’s because it was an absolute of orange blossom that was used by a perfumer? Black and pink pepper add a sparkly fizziness that provides a little lift up. Spicy portion of warmth rests comfortably on a soft musky base.

New Neroli Amara from Van Cleef & Arpels makes me a little upset. I thought I’d love it and that a bottle of it would join the other 4 compositions that I have from this brand. Don’t get the wrong idea – this really is a wonderful perfume but not quite how I imagined it. I thought it would be more diffusive and lively while in fact it’s more quiet and shy. It’s also relatively simple but that’s not an issue for me. Perfumer Quentin Bisch didn’t make me fall in love with it but he still did a good job. The sillage is low and after 2-3 hours I stop noticing it (but others do!) I’ll happily use my decant anyway.

[note] photo is a courtesy of W. Rennebaum on Parfumo; all rights reserved

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Tempus Fugit, Diptyque 50th Anniversary Duet

In the recent years perfume market got even more competitive than it was before. It’s especially visible in the niche sector where new brand sprout each season as mushrooms after the rain. Sadly that also makes seeking for good quality more difficult. For those brands each successful year is a big achievement and come to think of it – most of the niche perfume brands that I know, like & wear are no older than 10 years old. Even 10 years would be considered a milestone but turns out there’s someone who beat that number by 5 times. Believe it or not but it’s been 50 years since Diptyque launched their first perfume. They celebrate the achievement with 2 new creations.

tempo

Right off the bat Tempo explodes on my skin with a big cloud of patchouli. It smells rich & highly saturated, even becoming oily at times. For the first couple of minutes it smells rather camphorous and mentholated on my skin. When they pass, patchouli becomes way more earthy and it also develops the scent of roots grown deeply into a moist ground. According to Diptyque this composition features 3 different patchouli extracts from Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. This smell of undergrowth was a little bit too much for me but the longer Tempo sits on my skin the more good things about it I can see. When clary sage joins the composition the perfume becomes more aromatic and drops a few pounds off its weight. Violet Leaf instantly gives Tempo a green crunchiness. It’s more fresh and exhilarating, a bit dewy too and through that it provides a contrast. Mate absolute introduces a tea flavored dryness that’s really beautiful. In the end there’s pink pepper that makes a warm & soft statement of own spiciness. In the perfume universe where patchouli has been stripped off its identity through countless of various fractions that make it smell almost clean, Diptyque Tempo will stand out as a nod to patchouli of old times featured in a modern fragrance. Tempo certainly is a nuanced woody & earthy blend but it also presents a lot of elegance.

fleur-de-peau

Fleur de Peau opens with a somewhat cold manner as it diffuses a mellow scent of ambrette. The specific smell of this vegetal musk ingredient is clearly present in this very Diptyque perfume. Few minutes later aldehydes start to shimmer quietly, introducing more brightness to the scent. It doesn’t take long after they become more confident and start their happy bubbling. When these aldehydic bubbles are released an instant feeling of cleanliness & freshness is delivered. From up close the smell mimics the fragrance of a new cotton t-shirt almost impeccably. And we’re talking of a high quality white t-shirt made out of a thick yarn. The one that keeps you cool when hot & warm when cold. Through the musky notes I get the additional feeling as if it was freshly steamed/ironed as well. Then a wonderful powdery iris takes over the lead in Fleur de Peau. The powderness feels quite luxurious at first however the other time I tried it my impression was different – I smelled something like chalk instead of lovely powder. Ambery tones of ambergris & amber wood warm up the scent and make it more sensual. At later stage of development iris becomes more carroty and is joined by rose. Those floralties add to the overall feeling of cleanliness. Pink pepper sparkles quietly in the back while ambrettolide gives Fleur de Peau a skin scent transparency. It’s quite pretty.

I think that both Tempo and Fleur de Peau are great additions to pretty varied Diptyque range. I can certainly imagine that popularity of those two will go high, especially Tempo since many perfume lovers crave for a good patchouli fragrance. If it was up to me I would probably try to create something that would give people a big WOW effect upon spraying on skin. If I would regularly wear these 50th Diptyque anniversary fragrances is a different matter. As Undina suggested, I will wait for colder weather to re-test them. Diptyque Fleur de Peau & Tempo are creations of Olivier Pescheux, each of them is an eau de parfum in a 75 ml signature oval bottle. Which one would you try first?

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