Tag Archives: Van Cleef & Arpels

Clear Serenity, Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc

Over the last decade there probably hasn’t been another perfumery raw material that would have been spoken more of than oud. It stormed both mainstream and niche perfumery like nothing else in recent years. Some love it for its untamed, wild character and Middle-Eastern charm, some hate it for its fecal, overwhelming qualities. Many will agree with me that agarwood should have gone out of fashion some years ago. And while oud is oud, there are many different interpretations. I’m not going to lie – I have also fallen for some oud compositions, like Rose Anonyme, Rosam or Oudh Infini. Thanks to Van Cleef & Arpels there may be another one worth some of your attention.

Oud Blanc starts with a soft, plush-like texture that simply feels good on the skin. This softness, more abstract & transparent at first, begins to develop more color after a minute or two. Without rushing the perfume becomes stronger and gains an intense, deep red tone. Turkish rose has a very luxurious and majestic feel to it. The smell it carries is rich and saturated – which brings to mind the idea of hammam bath rituals with argan oil. There’s no denying the allure created by this new fragrance. Was it personified, it would be like grand dame in a heavy, red velvet gown.

As much as Turkish rose can be pretty on its own, Oud Blanc has more things to offer. After a little while there’s a feeling of sweetness that enters the stage but it’s far from the sugary, maltol-like overdose served left & right in feminine mainsteam fragrances. The sweet note here, created with dates, has a more aged, almost resiny effect on my skin. It’s hard to describe it accurately but if you can imagine benzoin with that dried fruity aspect of date you’ll get the idea. It infuses the rose accord with some sophistication and glamour, like adding some patina – a proof of age & elegance.

Rose and oud are a classic combo in perfumery that has been in use for many years now. Yet in case of Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc it feels like it was invented anew. The splendid rose blends with oud in a graceful manner. It’s not a vortex but slow swirls of crimson red and black matter. Kind of like a shade that deepens the color in the dress creases. Oud in this perfume is in primary a dense & woody smell – it has its own weight and depth but doesn’t feel overpowering. In the second plan hides the more resinous, viscous and sort of animalic aspect of this controversial raw material.

Much later in the fragrance development a frankincense note is revealed. Since Oud Blanc plays on subtleties, I was not expecting a straightforward incense and I wasn’t mistaken. It’s more like an impression, like walking into a room with wooden walls. You can’t see a burning stick anymore but there’s still a silvery mist lingering in the air and the wood is permeated with its scent. There’s a beautiful clarity and transparency to this note – it feels spiritual & meditative. Oud along with the rose still continue this journey but they stepped aside, now making a charming background. The perfume dries down to an air-whipped, delicious vanilla with fluffy white musks that complete the composition.

Oud Blanc, the latest addition to Collection Extraordinaire of Van Cleef & Arpels is a perfume of surprising clarity and transparency. The fruit of work of perfumer Anne Flipo is more lightweight type of fragrance that clings to the skin, wrapping the wearer with a silky cocoon of intricately woven notes of oud, rose and vanilla among others. It has a warm and inviting aura that simply makes me feel good when I’m surrounded by vapors of Oud Blanc. The classic bottle for this line is lacquered in white (for a 2nd time, after Santal Blanc) and it’s a perfect vessel for this perfume. It holds 75 ml of eau de parfum. Do you think you could become friends with this one or would you rather stay away?

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Dressed in Autumn, Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge

Every season of the year has some good and bad things about it. When it comes to Autumn I don’t really fancy the fact that days are becoming much shorter and there’s less and less day light to enjoy after you leave from work. On the other hand I love that part when all the foliage in parks and forests becomes rusty & develops different shades of yellow, orange and brown. But it’s red leaves that are my favorite. They have such a beautiful, warm tone that makes you want to take another photo. I found similar, red warmth and comparable beauty in new Van Cleef & Arpels release. A rose.

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The opening of Rose Rouge is composed in a transparent manner while the perfume as a whole is a bit of chameleon. At first the smell is watery with rose as a primary ingredient. Like a rose water – dewy freshness of braided green and flowery nuances that suggest nothing else but innocence. So wrong, the perfume will soon evolve into something far from being like that. As minutes pass the rose petals that were pale pink as a maiden’s blushing cheeks become richer in color, reaching the intensity of a bright red lipstick. This swift change is a premonition that things will only be more complex from now on.

While rose was reaching its bright red color I noticed a fruity undertone happening on a 2nd plan. It made me think of peach skin but that’s just my own remark, oficially this fragrance has no peach. The intense tone of rose becomes oriental. Rose Rouge develops a gorgeous, full-bodied richness that wears incredibly well on skin as soon as colder weather starts to kick in. Additionally the perfume has been enriched with cocoa accord. Unlike chocolate in perfume, cocoa is more raw and less sweet – it still adds a gourmand-ish vibe to the scent but with a more powdery sensation.

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Cacao in Rose Rouge also introduces a thin layer of warm spiciness. It sure is a sensual and sexy ingredient in a perfume but the spicy, tingly sensation actually comes from pink pepper. These peppercorns are quite popular among perfumers for the last few years and can introduce sparkling tinge of spice that feels more refined compared to black pepper and doesn’t have metallic facets. Another important part of new Van Cleef & Arpels creation is the use of blackcurrant. Used as absolute it should introduce tart and raspy characteristics of this little black, bead-looking fruit.

It should and it does however this particular facet doesn’t in this form for long and undergoes quick changes. As we speak it began to develop some sweetness and as a result it smelled to me almost like creme de cassis. Further into Rose Rouge development even more weird/funny thing happens – blackcurrant liquor aroma starts to remind me of a raspberry syrup and after a bit longer it even started to veer towards lychee. Note – raspberry or lychee impressions come only from me, these are not among given notes. I’d be curious to learn if someone else smelled similar things.

rose-rouge

Drydown of Rose Rouge has a good level of substantivity. There’s quite a lot of vetiver with more woody scent profile that I can enjoy as a person who’s not that much into vetiver. Plus that Turkish rose peeks through it with such elegance and grace. There’s also Rose Essentail molecule for extra rosy kick. Warmth of the musk gives a softer base to this composition and at the same time it helps late drydown phase to blend with own body scent and enhance it with a supple hint of rose. Patchouli adjusts dimensional effect, providing depth and volume to all ingredients.

There are many rose fragrances on the market and every season… bah! every month some new ones appear. But after testing Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge for some time I think it’s one of the nicest roses a perfume scene could get recently. It’s a great addition to Collection Extraordinaire in my opinion. I can only congratulate Julien Rasquinet for composing this beauty. It’s a breath of something new and well-done. A rose fitting autumn and winter months. The fragrance is available as eau de parfum in 75 ml flacons (possibly 45 ml too). I’m thinking of one after I finish a decant.

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