Trust Patricia De Nicolaï to prove that 'fruity' doesn't always have to mean 'loopy'. Had it been put together by a high street brand, her new Eau Corail would almost certainly have ended up as an embarrassing cocktail of cloying, synthetic-smelling stupidity. But in her skilful hands, it becomes one of those rare things: an uplifting, hyper-realist scent that doesn't rely on citrus cliches to create an impression of freshness. As though setting herself a challenge, Nicolaï has chosen to focus on what is one of the most poorly-rendered fruits in olfactory creation: mango. By surrounding it with melon notes, peach facets and suggestions of mandarin and grapefruit, she has presented it in all its fleshy, green, sweet-and-sour totality, together with an extra dimension of oozing syrup. It may not be as effervescent as a classical cologne, but it makes up for any lack in zing by exuding an air of innate chic, like the multi-generational residents of an Italian seaside town out for their evening promenade. One of the most charming examples of figurative perfumery I've tried this year, Eau Corail sees Nicolaï achieving the near-impossible: convincing us that 'fruity' can, in fact, be on a par with 'classy'. Bravo!
[Review based on a sample of 'eau fraiche' provided by Nicolaï in 2015.]