I came home today and eagerly ripped open a small package of samples to find a precious little vial of the new L'Eau de Tarocco cologne just released by Diptyque. I dabbed some on, stuck my nose in my wrist, and thought: what does this remind me of? Well, I just marched myself right over to my perfume cabinet of crazy (aka the wunderkabinett, aka my perfume storage) to compare. Yep, the orange opening of L'Eau de Tarocco is a dead ringer for Prada's Infusion d'Iris! Or more precisely, it's a ringer for IdI's mandarin orange topnote.
For a moment there, all I felt was a deep sense of relief--I mean, Diptyque don't discount, dude. If I could live without it: whew, close call.
But not so fast! After giving both more time to develop, I find I'm not let off the hook at all. As alike as these seem at first, the two really highlight the difference in quality of materials used by the independent niche Diptyque line vs. the prestige department store brand Prada. I am a firm IdI fan--I think it's a great summer fragrance--but in comparison with the more subtle L'EdT, the IdI suddenly seems to be a sledgehammer of iris-and-incense-tinged synthetic musk. I never perceived IdI as lacking in transparency until I compared it with L'EdT's diaphanous and creamy veils of cinnamon, ginger, and saffron sliding over that stunning blood orange backdrop. That now-obvious musk of IdI seems a poor attempt to approximate the sort of skin-melding smoothness of the L'EdT. But there is a compromise. You have to smoosh your nose right up to your wrist to smell it after 20 minutes; even so, the unsweetened quality and integrity of the notes continues to amaze.
I'm not a huge citrus fan, and have a definite preference for orange, unless it has a pride of animalic notes (Dior Eau Fraiche) or has an impeccably soft-spoken mossiness (Monsieur de Givenchy). I can't do sharp citruses like Eau de Rochas or Eau de Guerlain. L'Eau de Tarocco, therefore, may indeed be indispensible, and I can already see it sitting next to my treasured bottle of Fendi's discontinued Theorema (another transcendent orange) in my wunderparfumkabinett. (Hey, I can make up German words if I want!) They would make a fabulous, complementary seasonal pair: Theorema for winter, L'Eau de Tarocco for summer. I have to set a condition on buying it for myself, though: I need to finish up that bottle of Infusion d'Iris first.
Image of Tarocco Blood Orange is from biggestmenu.com.