Friday, June 22, 2012

Persolaise Review: Séville À L'Aube from L'Artisan Parfumeur (2012) + Orange Blossom + Jasmine from Organic Glam


You're haunted by a ghost... but unlike other spectres, it seems to be approaching you from the future, rather than shadowing you from the past. You feel its presence upon every contour of your body - a silken, ethereal insistence - but somehow, you're convinced that it's at its most potent a short distance away from you, in a hidden place eternally darting out of the corner of your eye. You don't feel controlled by it, but you know that you would obey its every command, should it choose to issue one.

You could be having an odd, supernatural experience. Or maybe you're just wearing Séville À L'Aube (Seville At Dawn), a new scent created by Bertrand Duchaufour, who has responded to fears about the possible ill-effects of a merciless professional schedule by producing what is easily one of his most instantly likeable pieces of work. L'Artisan Parfumeur are calling it an orange blossom soliflore, which is by no means inaccurate, but in this case, it comes across as more than a little disingenuous, because this particular interpretation of a brand new day in one of Spain's most unforgettable locations refuses to be pinned down by a single label.

Of course, orange blossom does form its core, for reasons explained in Denyse Beaulieu's The Perfume Lover (which features the creation of the scent as one of its narrative strands). But here, the note seems to be much more than a mirror held up to nature: it's a veritable statement on openness, fresh beginnings and optimism. Appropriately enough, it enlists the support of equally bright-eyed, ecstatic smells: lavender, soapy powderiness, the zest of citrus fruit, pristine, milky whiteness. They bring their cologne-oriented sensibilities and push the innate happiness of the orange blossom to the very limits of its life-affirming power. In other words, they play down the material's indolic characteristics: this is not an orange blossom that'll make you wonder if someone's just thrown some mothballs over your shoulder.

Having said that, Duchaufour appreciates the importance of contrasts, so he also introduces burnt, smoky notes (supposedly inspired by Habanita), an acrid, almost medicinal sourness (those of you with access to a jar of orange Tang: feel free to dip your tongue into the stuff at this point) and the skin-friendly smoothness of musks and vanilla. These lift the whole into the realms of greatness, providing the tension between light and dark which is the hallmark of all intelligent perfumes. Beaulieu's book suggests that during the creation of the scent, the more nocturnal elements frequently fought for supremacy with the sunnier facets, and although I dare say the ultimate victory rests with the latter (the scent is named after the dawn, after all), there is no denying the participation of murkier players in the construction.

Rich, distinctive and technically dazzling (diffusion, tenacity and clarity of development are top notch) Séville À L'Aube deserves to be a success for Artisan. Not unlike Nuit De Tubéreuse, it takes its central premise, re-imagines it and presents it in a manner that feels both familiar and entirely unexpected... just like catching a glimpse of a silent ghost that's been pulling you towards your own future since the day you were born.


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In brief... Organic Glam claim not only that their perfumes are made entirely from natural materials, but also that 85% of these ingredients is certified organic. This will no doubt be of interest to some shoppers out there; I just hope for their sake that they're not put off by the ghastly bottles (think: oversized, faux-crystal stoppers and tacky dog-tag-style bracelets put together with less aesthetic awareness than we've seen since the demise of 80s soap operas). Presentation issues aside, their Orange Blossom provides an interesting reminder of the fact that, by itself, 'all natural' really shouldn't be seen as a badge of honour in perfumery. Sweet, flat and unremarkable, it outstays its welcome fairly quickly and fades into the overpopulated category of forgettable citrus florals. On the other hand, their Jasmine is a more convincing advocate for eschewing synthetics. Heady, indolic and, most importantly, recognisable as a bona fide jasmine soliflore, it uses woods and ylang ylang to bolster its eponymous note and produce an effect that's surprisingly charming. Other entries in the brand's range may well be worth trying. 

[Review of Séville À L'Aube based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by L'Artisan Parfumeur in 2012; reviews of Orange Blossom and Jasmine based on samples of eau de parfum provided by Organic Glam in 2012.]

Persolaise.

14 comments:

  1. How does this one compare to say Orange Star or Theorema? Sounds very nice.

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    1. Hi Michael,

      If we're playing the comparison game, Orange Star is quite different. It starts with a sweet mandarin/tangerine note and then dries down to an ambergris/ambrox base. I can't comment on the Theorema, as I haven't smelt it for years.

      Seville A L'Aube isn't really anything like Lutens' Fleur D'Oranger (there's no suggestion of sweaty cumin) or Vero Profumo's Rubj (there's no thick, sticky heaviness). It aligns itself more closely with fresh, cologne-style orange blossoms like Fleur Du Male... although I hesitate to make the comparison, because it really is very distinctive. You've got to try it.

      Hope this helps :-)

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  2. Hi there. Have you any news on when Seville a L'aube will be available in the UK and from where?

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    Replies
    1. Anon, my understanding is that the perfume will be released in the last week of July and it'll be available at the Covent Garden store.

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  3. I have Organic Glam's Oriental Blossom. I haven't worn it recently but I recall a spicy chypre, really quite pleasant but probably not very original. I did try the OB at the time and wasn't impressed. I didn't try their Jasmine, can't think why , now... I can't recall if their Oud was available at that time, either.
    I totally agree about the cheap-looking bottles. It would also be nice if they sold it in less than 100ml!

    Hmm, yopur review - nicely written as always :-) - does make the Seville sound very interesting! I'll make a note in my diary to try it.

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    Replies
    1. Tania, thanks very much indeed, and thanks for your input re: the Organic Glam scents. I haven't tried their Oud. Could it really be 100% natural?? I suppose it could, if it doesn't contain much oud.

      As for the Artisan, I'll be very interested to find out what you make of it. I have a feeling it may not be your thing.

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    2. Yes, that's what I thought - even at that price, there can't be too much natural oud in it. I will probably give it a spray next time I'm near Organic Pharmacy, see what it's like. I'm not convinced I'd kmow natural oud if it came up and bit me, though!

      You may be right, Seville might not be my thing.
      :-) But I'll try if I can. I was thinking of doing a Liberty perfumery visit next weekend, actually, but will have to put that off (London Film & Comic Con beckons....)

      Incidentally, I tried (and bought) Angela Flanders' Precious One, which you reviewed a while back. It's fascinating!

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    3. Tania, yes, Precious One is really very interesting, isn't it. You ought to try to get a sample of Vero Profumo's Mito as well.

      Film & Comic Con? Sounds like fun!

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  4. Fabulous as ever and if this is a perfumers response to a merciless professional schedule I need to order at least 10 bottles. The mention of one of my favorites, Habanita, intrigues me. I actually took a day off and sprayed myself with it today as I think Habanita makes an excellent contradiction to the light summer fragrances so many wear when the temperatures near one hundred...and for reasons I have yet to figure out other than it's fabulousness, I get so many compliments on Habanita when wearing it in the summer..maybe it is just the surprise of it in the heat! Loved your review and think you and your blog are quite fabulous yourself!

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    Replies
    1. Michelle, why thank you!

      I think Habanita is discernible in Seville if you know it's supposed to be in there, if you see what I mean. And yes, it remains a gorgeous piece of work... Habanita, I mean.

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  5. Replies
    1. Err... okay... check to your heart's content.

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  6. Hi P' ... I know 'comparisons' are somewhat unfair ... Still, how would you compare SàL'A with say ELd'O's Divin'Enfant ?? (It being the only other 'OB centred' 'fume I own. Would it warrant owning both ? - If u were allowed only the one, which would you choose, & why ?) ...
    [Thanx in advance !] :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sybarite. In my view, Divin Enfant is quite different from Seville. The former is dense, with a texture not unlike that of flocked wallpaper; the latter is wide-eyed, expansive, full of the freshness of morning air. I'd say you really ought to try it before making a decision about buying it.

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