lundi 14 janvier 2013

It's aquatic, Jim, but not as we know it: L'Eau d'Issey Absolue by Olivier Cresp

Perfumers have been re-exploring aquatic notes lately, as I noted in my round-up of 2012. In the upcoming Narciso Rodriguez L’Eau for Her, a cyclamen-muguet accord adds coolness to the rosy-musky-woody original, and most of the spring flankers soon to be flooding the aisles pay lip service to H2O, with Balenciaga L’Eau Rose (a variation on the signature scent only available in the brand’s boutiques), Nina L’Eau, Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose or Valentina Acqua Floreale

Ironically, the scent that started the drop of water rolling has flip-flopped away from aquatic so determinedly you’d barely recognize the original scent from its latest flanker. Though for all I know, some of those 15 flankers (or more: that’s where I stopped counting) strayed just as far. Despite my admiration for the 1992 version, there’s no way I’d ever let the Mother-of-all-aquatics near my skin, so  I wasn’t even intending to try L’Eau d’Issey Absolue, out on February 1st… but then I did.

And guess what?  Olivier Cresp has turned water into honey. After the merest hint of a fruity, slightly watery opening (pink lotus and freesia are the given notes), L’Eau d’Issey Absolue smells as golden-nectary as the hue of the juice.

The narcotic floral note is claimed as night-blooming jasmine, a.k.a. Cestrum nocturnum, queen or lady of the night, which isn’t actually jasmine but a relative of datura.  In Le Jardin Parfumé, Jean-Claude Ellena describes it as jasmine/narcissus with horse manure facets. None of the latter crop up, mercifully – the flower is an accord based on jasmine sambac, vanilla and a Provence honey absolute exclusive to Firmenich, which does add a soft animalic layer to the indolic jasmine sambac. The honey-smothered floral effect is quite intense for a couple of hours before subsiding into a subtler, sensuous haze. In the drydown, there may be a hint of the original structure. Unless it’s just the memory of water?

6 commentaires:

  1. This sounds fascinating - and totally unrelated to the original, which I wore as a teenager in the 90s and now dislike intensely. Is it a flanker in name only? And: do you think you like it enough to wear it for yourself?

    In any case, thanks for the early review, I'll certainly try this out when it hits the counters.

  2. Parfymerad, it certainly has all the hallmarks of a flanker, except the scent, it's really so different... I did wear it with pleasure while testing, and since I have no honey-themed fragrance in my collection would certainly reach for it if I had a yen for the note.

  3. I don't usually like aquatics, but I have to admit that Guerlain Idylle Eau Sublime, a rose dewey with hedione, is one of my guilty pleasures. I can't believe I actually want to try a L'Eau d'Issey flanker - you are the Circe of perfume, Denyse! ~~nozknoz

  4. Nozknoz, I'm nose-deep into flankers but this one stood out a bit because it's so different from the original, which is a superior perfume... but we've just overdosed on it!

  5. I really love honey notes in perfumes (especially when they stick between a lush floral heart and a warm eneveloping drydown).
    I find honey notes are so sensual, because they are so human-like, at least to my nose (our human body does smell of honey in some places - I love it).
    And yet, this flanker does not really tempt me... and all beautifully Golden as it is, I find the bottle now shares a striking resemblance with J'adore!

  6. Zazie, frankly, it may not be "drop everything on Feb. 1st and rush to your nearest perfume counter" indispensable. Do have a sniff though when you get the chance. One never knows... And yes, honey is kind of animal and sexy!