Now that it’s officially September, crisp autumnal weather is on the way. (At least I hope so, temperatures here are still hovering around the 90s!) It’s always nice to start wearing fragrances with more spice and warmth at this time of year to make up for the shorter days and the slight bite to the air at night. One of the fragrances I’m most looking forward to wearing in the coming cool weather is Oeillet Bengale, which is a full-on bouquet, bursting with inviting florals and warm spices.
‘Oeillet’ is the French word for carnation, although the Bengale Oeillet is actually a variety of rose. Aedes de Venustas and the perfumer for this composition, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, make clever use of this floral play on words. Oeillet Bengale opens with a clove and pepper spiciness familiar to anyone who has sampled Caron’s Poivre, that exemplary and refined carnation bouquet scent. But Oeillet Bengale is able to reference Poivre, while still telling its own original fragrance story.
The rose here is an earthy rose, not necessarily dirty, but not refined either. This isn’t a bouquet of roses sitting in a vase on someone’s mantelpiece. Rather, this rose is still alive and growing. There is an herbaceous aspect to this composition alongside the spiciness. This adds balance, and also takes Oeillet Bengale’s story outside the confines of a refined home altogether, placing this fragrance in the garden.
Oeillet Bengale is not meant to be a linear composition, and it develops beautifully on the skin. This means that the garden conjured up here isn’t static, and it isn’t only floral either. There are sweet red berries here, and after a couple of hours, I also get the impression of root vegetables. It sounds odd, but it’s not unpleasant. It puts me in mind of carrots being washed in preparation for baking a cinnamon-spiced carrot cake.
The dry-down is resinous, which I sometimes worry will smell too much like burning plastic on me, but the delicately smokey syrup is wonderfully complementary, especially on top of the spiced cake effect.
This fragrance is supposed to be quite strong on the incense, but it honestly doesn’t come through heavily for me, and Oeillet Bengale never reads strongly smokey to me. Which is probably a good thing, as wear time is pretty phenomenal. It’s one of those fragrances I can wear to bed and wake up still smelling traces of it in the morning, on my wrist, my pillow, and my sheets.
Aedes de Venustas is a New York fragrance boutique that carries trendy brands such as Byredo. Oeillet Bengale marks the third fragrance in their signature line, and is by far my favorite of their offerings. Full bottles of the Aedes line are quite pricey, although the packaging is certainly luxe enough (and they do offer a smaller and slightly less expensive purse spray size). It’s the quality of the fragrance inside that really counts, and Oeillet Bengale is definitely worth the extravagance. It’s going on my Christmas wish list.
Oeillet Bengale is available directly from Aedes de Venustas or from Barneys New York. Samples are available from The Perfumed Court. Aedes also allows you to request up to seven fragrance samples with an online purchase, which is how I obtained my sample.
Image and info on fragrance notes are from Fragrantica.