How thrilling it is when an idea manages to survive the journey from thought to creation. At the London launch of Florabellio, perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin explained that the vision he'd hoped to convey with the fragrance was of an inward-looking setting nuzzled by a broader landscape. He decided that coffee and roasted sesame seeds would represent the domestic, urban realm: warm and cocoon-like, but also self-centred. He wanted an apple blossom note to act as the bridge between the core and the periphery, setting off the fruit's inviting sweetness against the bitterness of the coffee. And finally, he determined that the expansiveness of the world beyond would appear in the form of an anisic marine facet, created through the use of sea fennel. Well, I'm pleased to report that Florabellio fulfils all his intentions to a commendable degree. It glows with comforting heat, yet it's bracing. It delves into a private enclosure even whilst reaching across distances. And it has room in its rustic environment for a suggestion of the metropolitan. It doesn't quite keep up the charm through to the end - its drydown succumbs to a chilly thinness - but I'm willing to forgive its shortcomings for the enjoyment of its opening stages. As is the case with Diptyque's best compositions, Florabellio presents a swooning, impressionistic portrait of a romantic locale and - with that magic peculiar to perfumery - makes you want to jump on the next flight to a breakfast on a sunny patio somewhere. It's just a shame the bottle doesn't come with plane tickets.
[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Diptyque in 2015.]