George by Jardins d’Ecrivains

Notes: neroli, bergamot, heliotrope, coffee, tobacco, Peru balsam, musk, and myrrh.

George by Jardins d’Ecrivains is named for George Sand, or Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. She published her first novel, Indiana, in 1832 under her nom de plume, George Sand. In addition to writing, she was also famous for wearing men’s clothing and smoking tobacco, both of which were forbidden for women at the time. How to go about making a fragrance that would encapsulate this whirlwind of a woman? Where to even begin?

The perfumer, Anais Biguine, figured that a good place to start would be with George’s famous tobacco. The scent actually opens for me with neroli and tobacco. It’s kind of a sharp, stinging opening. I honestly didn’t like it at first sniff. However, it settles into my skin nicely after a few moments. I get just a hint of coffee blended with the tobacco. Coffee is one of my favorite smells and notes, so I really wish there was more to it here. If you’re not a coffee fan, you’ll be able to wear this scent because it’s blended so well.

The heart of the composition is actually where I detect some lovely heliotrope. A couple hours into wear time, the tobacco backs off and makes room for a delicate heliotrope note. George is very pretty at this stage. It really surprised me after the challenging opening. But it’s fitting that this composition would feature so much transformation and development, as George herself did.

The dry down is mainly musk on my skin. I can’t make out any resinous notes of myrrh, but that’s fine. The interesting part is that the dry down is not sweet. There’s no vanilla or creamy sandalwood soften the composition or make it more likeable. The musk here is definitely a substantial animalic note. It’s not trying to play nice. And yet, there is still a touch of delicacy left from the heliotrope.

The only let-down is the longevity. By hour 5, George is gone from my skin. I hear that this is a reoccurring theme with the Jardins d’Ecrivains line, so it’s something to take into consideration when sampling or purchasing this line. George is well worth smelling and owning. It’s an intriguing, challenging, and thought-provoking composition. It’s not on my full bottle list right now simply because of practicality. I need to better organize my collection before purchasing new full bottles!

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I ordered my sample of George from Indigo along with my Sylvaine Delacourte samples.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

I took the photo of my sample with the painting “An Elegant Tea Party in the Artist’s Studio” by Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire. I like to imagine George Sand making her way through this refined party, the scent of tobacco trailing behind her.

Dear Polly by Vilhelm Parfumerie

Notes: bergamot, green apple, black tea, oakmoss, black amber, and musk.

I first came across Vilhelm Parfumerie at Barneys in New York. I had never even read about the house online before. It’s interesting when your first experience is in person without any preconceived ideas about what scents you might enjoy or not. The Sales Associate was helpful and not pushy. She let me test a couple on the skin, and Dear Polly was my favorite. It stuck in my mind for a few months and I ended up purchasing this travel size in October of 2018.

Dear Polly opens with green notes, in bergamot and a green apple that grabs my attention every time I spritz this. The green apple is tart but bright. It really adds dimension to the composition. I think the other Vilhelm Parfumerie scent I tested on the skin was Room Service and it just couldn’t compete with this yummy green apple note.

The other signifiant note is the black tea note at the heart of the composition. I did not sense much of when I first tested Dear Polly. However, it’s one of the dominant notes now. It’s probably due to the cold weather we’re currently having. The black tea is coming across as extra smoky, and almost recalls the opening of Tea for Two. I absolutely love this aspect of the composition, and the way in which the bright apple transitions into a smoky tea note.

The one surprise is that the base is really not present on my skin right now. Again, I’m chalking this up to the exceptionally cold weather we’re having. My skin is absorbing fragrance like crazy and there just isn’t much of the musky base by hour 6 on my skin. I first tested this in humid weather while walking around Manhattan, so the oakmoss and musk were definitely more present then.

One upside is that I think Dear Polly is appropriate for year-round wear. If you’re a seasonal perfume person like me, you’ll appreciate something that wears well all year round. Of course, you’ll get different aspects of the composition depending on the time of year. As I’ve detailed here, winter will bring out a smoky, almost incense-like black tea. Summer will bring out that sharp bergamot and textured oakmoss in the base. All of these notes are yummy and work well in conjunction with each other. The green apple gives Dear Polly that unique twist to make it stand out. This one is worth sampling for sure. I have a hard time seeing anyone dislike it, unless one of the notes really plays havoc with your body chemistry. Dear Polly is the best kind of crowd-pleaser in that it’s appealing and manages to be thought-provoking, too.

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I purchased the travel sized bottle from Barneys. I personally don’t like the shape of the full size bottles. If I purchase something else from this line, I’d stick with the travel bottle again.

The information on notes is from fragrantica.

The photo of my travel bottle was taken by me.

Frost by St. Clair Scents

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Notes: bergamot, mandarin yellow and green, coriander, petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle accord, rose geranium, elderflower absolute, petitgrain absolute, cistus, labdanum absolute, vanilla absolute, vetiver, cedar, smoke, and clove absolute.

St. Clair Scents is another independent artisanal fragrance house. I wrote about their newest scent, Casablanca, here. Diane St. Clair has a dairy farm in Vermont and, luckily for us, she also makes perfumes! The dairy farm sounds lovely and happens to be near to Robert Frost’s historic summer writing cabin. Frost the scent is based on Robert Frost’s poem To Earthward:

I had the swirl and ache

From sprays of honeysuckle

That when they’re gathered shake

Dew on the knuckle.”

To Earthward, Robert Frost

The poem is full of olfactory references like the honeysuckle mentioned here. There is indeed a noticeable honeysuckle note in Frost, along with a whole cavalcade of other notes. Frost opens green and bracing for me. There’s a sparkling bergamot note and a fir note that really gives me that fresh evergreen vibe. The blend of other notes prevent this from coming across as a Christmas-y evergreen, so it’s completely fine wearing this in the post-Christmas winter.

The opening of Frost mostly smells like the outdoors. It smells like fresh air and open countryside. This puts me in mind of Jane Austen novels where the local doctor often prescribes going to the countryside or to the seaside for a “change of air.” It’s good for the mind and the body. I get the honeysuckle and more of a floral bouquet around 3 hours into wear time. I get something slightly animalic underneath the florals, which makes the heart notes well-rounded and substantial.

As Frost wears, I get much more of the underbelly of the countryside, and a representation of the darker themes of To Earthward. There’s a cedar note that smells very true to real cedar. The clove note here is the richest clove I’ve smelled. Again, this is a true clove. The vetiver is definitely there, although my nose has a hard time specifically pinpointing it among so many other notes. What I sense most in the base, is a smoke note underpinning everything. It’s sort of distant and close at the same time, as though the next neighbor over has a bonfire going and the scent is wafting to your backyard.

The wood/spice/smoke accord gives Frost an Autumnal feel to me, which I find interesting. I feel this would wear well during all seasons. The sparkling citrus opening would play well in warm weather. I will have to save up my sample to try this out during spring weather. But there is something special about the name “Frost” and wearing it during winter. It just feels right.

I have now tried two of the offerings from St. Clair Scents, and, all I can say is, I want to smell more! I will sample their other two scents Gardner’s Glove and First Cut when I am able to, and I will definitely do a write-up here when I do! The house offers a 13 ml travel size bottle, so you don’t have to commit to the full bottle if you happen to love multiple scents. I will say that the full bottle price point is not cheap at $125 for 30 mls. On the other hand, the fragrances that I’ve smelled so far are extremely high quality, vibrant compositions, and long lasting. I’m at the point where I would rather give more of my money to independent and creative perfume houses, but it’s all a personal choice. Either way, St. Clair Scents is an independent house well worth seeking out and supporting.

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I ordered my sample directly from St. Clair Scents. It arrived in this adorable matchbox-like packaging. The house offers a general sample pack as well as 2 ml individual samples of each fragrance, so there is plenty to choose from.

The info on notes is from St. Clair Scents.

The photo of my sample was taken by me.

Tauerville Rose Flash

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Notes: rose, woody notes, and resins.

When I first started this blog way back in 2012 (yes, all the way back in 2012!) Andy Tauer was *the* perfumer to get into. He had all the buzz, and well-deserved. I wasn’t really drawn to the independent perfumery scene at the time though. I wanted to explore Guerlain, Chanel, and high-end niche houses like Serge Lutens. Now that it’s 2019, I’ve had plenty of time to explore designer scents and I’m ready to embrace independent perfumers. Tauerville is like a fashion diffusion line, in that it’s the more affordable and approachable line of Tauer Perfumes. That doesn’t mean lower quality though, as I discovered with Rose Flash.

Rose Flash opens with a blooming jammy rose. There’s a touch of orange citrus, which feels like orange marmalade to me. It’s textured, it’s pretty, and rose is definitely the star. I haven’t always gotten along with rose soliflores and rose-centric perfumes in general. Part of the reason I chose Rose Flash was to challenge myself to make this scent work. There aren’t many other notes for me to cling to and distract from the rose. Fortunately, I love the rose here, so I don’t mind the lack of distraction!

There are some woody notes that become more apparent as the composition develops. This helps to anchor the rose and balance that huge blooming opening. The resinous notes come through a little stronger than the woods for me, which is lovely. The rose becomes dry as it wears, almost like a dry red wine. This blends beautifully with the resinous notes of the base.

The really remarkable thing about Rose Flash is that it’s an extrait de parfum, and it has the longevity to prove it. I can easily get 12 hours of wear time from this. If I wear it in the evening or to bed, it’s still quite noticeable the next morning. The sillage is heavy here, particularly during the first two hours of wear. And this one is easy to over spray. I apply one spritz on each wrist and that’s it! I personally wouldn’t wear this to work or the doctor’s office. I prefer it for myself in the evenings just because the rose is so rich, but I’m sure there are people who like this as their every day rose scent.

If Andy Tauer can make me finally embrace rose scents, he can probably do pretty much anything! I have more Tauer samples on the way, this time directly from Tauer Perfumes. It’s always nice to support the actual brands and perfumers when possible, and it is one of my 2019 resolutions to support independent artisans! Thankfully, independent perfumers are much more on-board with samples than the mainstream designer brands, so it’s possible to support the indie houses without having to do the dreaded blind buy.

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I ordered a sample of Rose Flash from The Perfumed Court. The Tauerville Flash series is available directly from Tauer Perfumes.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

I took the photo of my Rose Flash sample with a print of Botticelli’s Primavera panel painting.

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain (vintage EDT)

Notes: orange, orange blossom, galbanum, Mandarin orange, bergamot, narcissus, lemon, aldehydes, iris, vanilla, violet, Indonesian carnation, jasmine, rose, spices, sandalwood, musk, orris root, and oakmoss.

Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit famously takes its name from the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry novel of the same name. In English, it’s Night Flight. The novel tells the story of pilots making the night flight from Buenos Aires to various destinations around the world to deliver mail. The Guerlain extrait bottle features an art deco airplane propeller motif and it’s my personal favorite design of the Guerlain extrait bottles. Vol de Nuit was released in 1933, and we have to keep in mind that flying was not common then. People and luggage weren’t packed onto industrial-sized aircrafts the way we are now. Back then, it was usually a solitary and dangerous voyage, a fact which Saint-Exupéry emphasizes in his novel.

I have a small decant of vintage Vol de Nuit EDT from The Perfumed Court. I don’t know what batch it’s from as I don’t have the full bottle or the batch code. The opening of my decant is green and bitter. It’s definitely galbanum and a hint of bergamot. I don’t get much of the orange citrus notes or the aldehydes. I’m guessing those top notes have faded a bit over the years. The bitter green opening quickly settles down and the composition forms a floral cloud on my skin. There’s still a bitter edge, but it’s significantly softened by jasmine and iris in particular.

For some reason, I get more lemon in the heart notes. About an hour into wear time, I get a lovely lemon mingled with jasmine. It gives me a bit of a Chanel vibe. The iris and that Guerlain violet make an appearance. The soft texture of the florals combined with the violet note makes me think of Guerlain’s iconic météorites powder. But this isn’t really a makeup/cosmetic scent. There’s so much going on, and there’s always that undercurrent of galbanum.

Though not listed in the note pyramid, I smell cocoa powder in the heart and moving into the base. The powdery iris is still there, bolstered by a creamy orris. But there is definitely a dry, cocoa powder note to me. There’s a spiced musk and a weighty, damp oak moss. This will sound strange, but the texture of the dry down, and the oak moss in particular, reminds me of damp cotton balls. You will be familiar with this if you’ve ever soaked a cotton ball to remove eye makeup or nail polish. It’s a weird texture. It’s dense and weighty but still soft.

It’s this texture that is missing from the current EDT formulation. I don’t currently own a bottle of Vol de Nuit but I always test it when I’m near a counter at Saks or Bergdorfs. I still love the scent, but the composition is more sheer. It’s a shame, and I just hope that LVMH doesn’t get the idea to tell Guerlain to completely phase out Vol de Nuit. I think it’s an important piece in Guerlain’s heritage. Vol de Nuit is actually one of my favorite classic Guerlains along with Jicky and Mitsouko. It is my perfume dream to own the Vol de Nuit parfum extrait in the art deco bottle one day.

I’ve seen many comments (on fragrantica and elsewhere) labeling Vol de Nuit as “cold” or “aloof.” I’ve seen similar things written about No. 19 so it may be the galbanum note that people react to. I find this strange because Vol de Nuit is very emotional to me. It’s nostalgic with an undercurrent of sadness. Think of Saint-Exupéry’s novel, which was Jacques Guerlain’s original inspiration for this composition. Of course this fragrance is a challenge, just as the night flight mail delivery was a challenge. Vol de Nuit is not an easy scent to wear or appreciate. It gives off an air of seriousness and of sadness. It is not seductive in a typical way. But, for me, it’s one of the most rewarding scents. You simply need to let Vol de Nuit settle into the skin and pay attention as it tells its own story.

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I ordered my sample/decant from The Perfumed Court.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is my (almost empty!) sample pictured with a painting called: “The Old City Market, Warsaw, at Night” by Jozef Pankiewicz from 1892. I found this painting while leafing through my Taschen book on Impressionism. The nighttime atmosphere reminded me of the nostalgia of Vol de Nuit.

Now Sampling: DSH Perfumes

 

I’ve been wanting to try Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s gorgeous line of artisanal perfumes for a long time. The only problem was, where to start? She has so many to choose from, it’s overwhelming! Luckily, she releases holiday fragrances every year for the festive season. These holiday-themed scents sounded like a good way to start exploring the brand so, for December, I decided to pick out two of her holiday scents from previous years.

Châtaignes du Bois: This is the smell of roasted chestnuts, sugared and slightly burnt, too. It took me back to college, when my freshman year roommates and I would take the train into New York City on the weekends. Just outside of Grand Central, we could smell the roasted chestnuts from the various carts trying to attract tourists. Finally, one day, we gave in and bought some. They tasted good, but the taste couldn’t live up to that smell, which was even better. This is the scent of Châtaignes du Bois, which is purely yummy and nostaglic for me. Unfortunately, it’s extremely short-lived on my skin, but that’s to be expected from naturals.

Lumière: This is a coffee-centric fragrance, which immediately makes me happy. One of my favorites is Bond’s New Haarlem, which is a coffee scent, but also very sweet with a strong maple syrup note. I expected Lumière to also be sweet, but it’s dark and spicy. It’s like cinnamon-laced coffee and booze with a dollop of whipped cream on top. It’s decadent, yet balanced. I also get better longevity with this one at 5 hours. I’m still searching for my holy grail coffee scent, but Lumière is a contender for a larger bottle purchase.

I also have two small samples of Au Lait (creamy milk) and Tonic (as Dawn describes, it’s like “ginger ale for the soul.”). I think I chose a good entry point into DSH Perfumes. I’m excited to discover more from here and find my favorite DSH creation.

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I ordered my samples directly from the DSH website. I highly recommend browsing around her site — you can lose hours just clicking on all the fragrance descriptions!

Photo taken by me.

Comparative Perfumery

I posted this photo and a little summary on my instagram, but I wanted to do a more in-depth post here on the blog.

I recently ordered a sample of Casablanca from St. Clair Scents, which is an indie artisanal brand based in Vermont. Diane St. Clair is the perfumer. Casablanca is the newest release for 2018 and it’s definitely a winter-appropriate scent. You can tell just by looking at the juice in the bottle, this scent is a rich and intensive experience.

Soon after first applying and testing Casablanca, I was reminded of Baptême du Feu from Serge Lutens, which I recently wrote about. Both scents have a striking animalic undercurrent. They have a dark vibe, a sort of dark fairy tale. I decided to wear one on each arm and do a little comparison test.

The result is that they are definitely not dupes of each other, but I feel they are in the same family. Baptême du Feu leans more foodie. There is a gingerbread note and the familiar Lutens dried fruit note. It’s not quite gourmand, but it’s a well-rounded composition and feels very festive for this time of year. Casablana is not foodie at all. It opens with some lovely citrus notes that bring a real radiance to the composition. This bright radiance balances out the deep animalic notes, which include civet and hyrax. Casablanca is really an animalic scent for me. There are white floral notes in the heart, including jasmine and tuberose. But the animalic notes are most present on my skin.

The animalic note in Baptême du Feu is castoreum, and it has a dark oily undercurrent for me. The hyrax and civet in Casablanca are also dark and have a black oiliness to them, like oily animal fur. It’s sensual, but it goes even further than that. It’s like an unnamed beast lurking outside the castle grounds. This is the dark fairytale aspect. It’s the theme of a beast that cannot be named but is undeniably present.

My favorite book from 2018, The Essex Serpent, deals with similar themes: the fear of a medieval beast re-appearing to wreak havoc in the present day. Both Baptême du Feu and Casablanca recall these medieval kind of superstitions. Both scents feel appropriate right now, as we come to the winter solstice and the darkest day of the year. But, ultimately, these scents and The Essex Serpent aren’t about fear, but about wonder and awe related to the unknown out in nature.

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I got my sample of Baptême du Feu from Luckyscent (and I have now completely drained it!)

I ordered my sample of Casablanca directly from St. Clair Scents.

The Essex Serpent was published in the US in 2017 but I did not read it until this year. I highly recommend it!

Olibanum by Profumum

Notes: orange blossom, sandalwood, incense, and myrrh.

I’ve tested several scents from Profumum over the years (and even written about some here and here). I have liked each and every scent I’ve tested. There doesn’t seem to be a dud in the bunch! Olibanum is yet another winner. The only problem is that Profumum Roma is a niche brand from, you guessed it, Rome. It’s not the easiest to find here in the US. It’s fairly pricey as well. The brand now offers an 18 ml travel size for $83 which Luckyscent carries. The 100 ml size is better value for money, but that travel size might be how I acquire my first Profumum scent, and Olibanum is a potential contender.

As you can guess from the name, Olibanum is a resinous, incense-focused fragrance. Indeed, it opens with a very true-to-life incense note. It’s like walking into a yoga studio and recognizing that they’re burning the good incense. It’s not smoky or acrid. It’s not plasticky or synthetic. It’s just true incense. This is a dry, yet well-rounded composition. The other notes come through sparingly, but they do their job in supporting incense as the star of the show.

Looking at the notes, I expected to smell orange blossom first. I expected a clean white floral scent. However, this orange blossom is actually very citrus-driven and more like true petitgrain from the leaves rather than the orange blossom itself. It’s a zesty yet dry orange citrus note that blends with the incense to give a bit of life, a bit of vivacity to the composition. It’s not floral at all though. I find that this citrus note comes through more on the skin rather than testing on paper. And it comes through as you wear it, rather than as a top note.

Sandalwood is also listed, and this is not your typical creamy sandalwood. This is not Santal Blush. Again, it’s as dry as can be. My nose reads it more as cedar than sandalwood. But then, I love cedar so much, my brain could wish it into any composition! Regardless, this piece of the composition serves as a dry woody anchor for the resinous incense to play off of. Just today, I tried layering Olibanum with Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt, and it is delicious! The woody notes are intensified and the grapefruit note in WS&SS plays well with the bitter orange blossom of Olibanum.

Of course, you don’t need to layer Olibanum. It’s a stunning fragrance on its own. However, it’s very somber and contemplative. This is incense, after all, the scent of sitting in quiet meditation or prayer. I do get church vibes, but I grew up Catholic. I will always get Catholic mass vibes from incense. If you don’t want to project Catholic mass vibes, layering Olibanum with a more floral or fruity composition is probably a good idea. On its own, Olibanum is a stark but beautiful fragrance. It makes an impression with few notes. It’s meant for reflection, and it’s gorgeous at this time of year. It’s definitely worth testing, as are so many scents from this line.

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Profumum is available from Luckyscent in the US, which is where I ordered my sample of Olibanum.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo is of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I took it on a rainy morning when I was in New York in September.

Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari

Notes: coriander, neroli, jasmine, orange blossom, amber, resins, and oakmoss.

The original version of Au Delà was released in 2013. It is now Au Delà Narcisse, which is a different composition, and one that I have not yet tried. I’m currently working my way through Bruno Fazzolari creations, including his most recent one, Vetiverissimo. I debated whether to even write about the original Au Delà at this point, since it’s no longer available from Bruno Fazzolari in this formulation. I decided to write about it anyway because, if we’re not writing about discontinued or reformulated compositions, that leaves very little perfume left to talk about! I got my sample of Au Delà in the original formulations from The Perfumed Court, where it is still available.

As soon as I apply this to the skin, it’s like a rush of notes just blooming in front of me. I definitely get a tangy coriander in the opening. This coriander is green and sharp. It bites at your nose and your attempts to sniff it. I also get a heady neroli. It takes several minutes for this composition really settle into my skin.

The jasmine and orange blossom in particular feel a bit soapy. Not soapy as in clean, but rather, a literal bar of soap. I can sense those tiny decorative soaps that my Grandma still keeps in the soap dish in her powder room to this day. Au Delà conjures up all sort of memories like this. It has a distinctive old fashioned chypre smell, which many people might call “old lady” or “grandma.” For me, Au Delà is “grandma” in a good way, bringing up memories and associations that I have with my own Grandma.

It’s also warm, sensual, and animalic. The amber in particular stands out for me as Au Delà deepens and heads toward the dry down. This amber is incredibly warm and enveloping. I wish it were a blanket that I could just sink into. The oakmoss adds to that feeling, since it really has a texture here. It reminds me of a sponge — and not a beauty blender sponge, but a sea sponge! There is a touch of saltiness here which is giving me that sea salt association. This oakmoss also has a damp earthiness, like it has recently rained. It’s not a cool or refreshing rain though. It’s like we’re in the heart of a forest, where it’s still warm (from that amber) and a little bit decadent from the jasmine petals still unfurling in the background. Au Delà is simultaneously heady and deep, luminous and dense.

It has taken me two weeks to finish this write-up and I’m still not sure that I’ve really done Au Delà justice. It’s the kind of fragrance that can’t be easily summed up. It’s a throwback to the glorious chypres that have now been discontinued or reformulated. And now Au Delà itself has been reconfigured as Au Delà Narcisse, which I am curious to try! And yet, it doesn’t feel old fashioned or dated. Bruno Fazzolari can’t help but be modern. I may order a larger sample of Au Delà from The Perfumed Court just to savor it for awhile. This is one of those special fragrances that isn’t just something to smell, but a full experience.

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I got my sample of Au Delà from The Perfumed Court. The photo of my sample was taken by me.

The info on notes is taken from Fragrantica.

Fève Délicieuse by Maison Christian Dior

Notes: lavender, mint, bergamot, cherry, freesia, jasmin, tonka, benzoin, caramel, cedar, dark chocolate, coconut, leather, sandalwood, and Madagascar vanilla.

Fève Délicieuse was originally released in 2015 as one of the Dior Privée fragrances. It is now part of the Maison Christian Dior line. I tested this current version a few months ago at Saks (when I bought Belle de Jour). I knew it was one of the older Dior Privée scents that had been grandfathered into the new exclusive Maison line. I was curious about the older/original release and so I ordered a small decant from Surrender to Chance. Fève Délicieuse is a tonka-centered composition, so it’s definitely a gourmand. I also get cedar and incense notes on my skin, which add dimension and make this not purely a gourmand for me. However, if you’re truly not a gourmand fan, you can likely skip this one altogether!

The notes here don’t develop for me in a traditional pyramid fashion. And yet, the development isn’t linear either. Fève Délicieuse is a bit of a wildcard on my skin. The most prominent note I get in the opening is a deep cedar wood from the base. I also get a cloud of milky coconut hanging over everything, like someone has just grated coconut over top of the rest of the composition. I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint bergamot if I hadn’t read the list of notes. but there’s a hint of zesty citrus. I don’t get any mint or lavender, so I don’t know what happened there. Fève Délicieuse then settles into my skin as a creamy, toasted vanilla, which is the type of scent profile that I associate most often with tonka bean.

As it develops, Fève Délicieuse reminds me of Jeux de Peau from Serge Lutens, in that it is a bit of a game. As I said, this composition is focused on tonka. François Démachy’s game here is to bring out as many facets of tonka as possible. I already got the creamy toasted vanilla facet quite early on in wear time. After a little over an hour, I also get a sweet praline mixed with cherry soda. It’s very odd, but this is the cherry note. This is not a fresh fruit kind of cherry. It has just a hint of the cherry cola vibe from L’Artisan’s Mon Numéro 10. I can still smell the cedar going strong here, and it makes for a surprisingly yummy blend of flavors. This is the festive side of tonka. This cherry praline would fit right in as one of the Starbucks holiday drinks.

It’s not until several hours into wear time that I get probably my favorite aspect of Fève Délicieuse: the resinous part. This isn’t something that I associate with tonka, but it really clicked with me here. Fève Délicieuse has great longevity and sillage. But, as it starts to quiet down, an incense vibe shines through. It’s a little bit sweet and there’s a little more of that toasted vanilla note. But there’s also that contemplative benzoin resinous current running through everything. It’s really lovely and I appreciate this more understated aspect, especially in such a powerful gourmand composition.

Sadly, I don’t get the dark chocolate note at all, but maybe it’s still waiting for the right time to come through on my skin. The very last bits of Fève Délicieuse are a surprisingly dry leather smell. I love the way this fragrance seems to develop into something more dry as it wears. Some fragrances start out woody and dry, and then develop into rich base notes. Fève Délicieuse is almost the opposite. I really like this composition and I think it’s surprisingly interesting and thought-provoking for a gourmand.

However, I wouldn’t touch this in hot weather. It would be way too much and overbearing. For that reason, I’m sticking with my decant for now. Maybe I’ll do another decant in time for next Fall/Winter. But, just considering the price point and how often I’d wear this, I can’t justify purchasing a full bottle. It has fantastic longevity (9 hours easily) and smells of high quality materials (i.e. not reformulated to death with cheaper ingredients). Fève Délicieuse is well worth testing and purchasing. And it’s a must if tonka is one of your favorite notes.

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Fève Délicieuse is available directly from Dior and in store at Saks Fifth Avenue. I ordered my decant from Surrender to Chance.

The info on notes is from Fragrantica. It’s worth noting that the only note Dior officially lists is tonka.

The photo of my little decant was taken by me.