Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Elegance Series, first up Elegant Earthy: L'Inspiratrice by Divine (2006)

So I have had this idea floating in my head for the last month of doing an elegant perfume series. The idea happened when I tried the very interesting Monsillage Vol 870 YUL-CDG and the immediate thought that came to my head was that it was very elegant classic scent. Yet, at the same time it is really interesting and by interesting I mean that plays with notes and isn't stuffy in the least and well it has some quirk. The more I thought about it the more I realized I wanted to do a series on scents that were released fairly recently and embody what I consider classic elegance and yet they must be interesting. Nothing boring or stuffy, they have to have quirk and soul.

I like aldehydes but I inherently find most of the time the composition they come with are not really me, the classic pairing of aldehydes is florals, and as I've mentioned before pure florals and I rarely are on the same footing to get along. It also makes me saddened that aldehydes are rarely used beyond the genre of floral when Chanel's classic Bois des Iles highlights that in fact aldehydes can get along stupendously with wood notes, in this case sandalwood. I should also mention that aldehydes can frequently connote an elegance in perfumes for their brightening and deepening effect.

Have you ever thought I really wish L'Artisan would mosh their Voleur de Roses with Chanel No.5 Sensual Elixir? Yeah, me neither until I tried Divine's L'Inspiratrice and that is what I get on my skin and you know what it really really works.

L'Inspiratrice starts with playful use of aldehydes, it reminds me of the more softened aldehydes used in Chanel No.5 Sensual Elixir or Eau Premiere, yet the base of this scent is the classic combination of patchouli and roses that is akin to L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses. Now what keeps this composition melded and smooth is the use of delicate vanilla and ylang ylang.

I just want to reiterate that the use of vanilla in this composition does not make it a vanilla scent, in fact this is a prime example of vanilla being used as a smoothing agent and just adding a dollop of sweetness it tames the patchouli enough that the camphorous qualities it can have are kept at bay.

If vanilla is used to tame the patchouli then ylang ylang is used to tame the aldehydes. Ylang Ylang can have a deep camphorous narcotic scent, I love it, but recognize the hot cold effect it has can be alien to some. What is interesting is while modern perfumery is not a big fan of it, if you look at the classic aldehydic scents they used it everywhere, I theorize it is because piercing sweetness of ylang ylang balances out the sharp champagne qualities of aldehydes.

But you are probably asking what about the rose? The rose in L'Inspiratrice is a soft velvety skin rose, it melds to the wearer and plays the vital supporting role to the patchouli, it is what I call a cuddly somewhat maternal rose, there is no bite but neither is it virginal. It just exists plushly.

L'Inspiratrice melds beautifully with the wearer, the effect is elegant but warm, it is velvety without being suffocating. The lack of suffocation I give credit to the dry cocoa patchouli that is used and no heavy ambering or syrup notes. After Chanel's Bois des Iles this is the next prime example I can think of that aldehydes can meld beautifully to wood based creations.

Try if you like Chanel's Coromandel, No.5 Sensual Elixir, Bois des Iles or L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses.

First image from
Second Image Alonzo King


marzipan said...

Very excited about this "elegance " series (and love the ballet photo, btw).
I happen to like aldehydes and they play nicely with my skin chemistry. Have you ever tried SSS Champagne de Bois? beautiful woody aldehyde....

Jennifer Koth said...

I have tried it and definitely in the same family of Champagne de Bois, very lovely. Thanks for the reminder.

marzipan said...

Completely off topic but have you seen that Pacifica has come out with two new fragrances? Tunesian Lime Jasmine and Sweet Amber Dreams....I am really hoping that this does not mean that they will discontinue their Spanish Amber (which wears more like an incense on me and I can buy it at my local health food store).

Jennifer Koth said...

Hmm, I had seen that they had the new Jasmine one but you made me just now aware of the new Amber one. I would say that probably does point to some discontinuations coming up. It always happens and in this case the last few years Pacifica has reformulated the hell out of their original line up that quite a few do not smell like they once did.