Two spring perfumes I've been testing lately are Week-end à Deauville and L'Heure Fougeuese. These are very different takes on a spring perfume. One is an uncomplicated month-long holiday in a bottle, and one is brainy and rather challenging for me. Both are worth a test, though!
Week-end à Deauville, Parfums de Nicolaï
I thought I'd get lily of the valley out of the gate, but instead I get a men's cologne opening. A soft, classy one, to be sure--salty sea air keeps it from starting out as an Eau Sauvage clone or from having any relation to those chemically "brisk" notes of cheap violet leaf colognes. Then the lily of the valley sneaks up on you, but at the same time something warm and mossy, so this is no screeching lily whatsoever. Those of you who are LotV-averse, the floral element here could almost be a water lily or cyclamen. A gentle floral, a bit aquatic, but nothing "China Rain"-ish. Oddly, even though this is purported to be a lily of the valley, it's mainly the hint of mossy undergrowth that reminds me of the structure of vintage Diorissimo, not any resemblance to its iconic LotV. The light-green mossiness purrs away on my skin for a nice long while for a cologne. Uncomplicated and lovely.
Octavian of 1000 Fragrances likes it lots, too. So does Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am.
Verdict: Makes me ache for a European beach holiday to wear it on.
IV: L'Heure Fougeuese, Cartier Les Heures du Parfum
I know that the top notes are supposed to be a tannic mate tea, but it smells for all the world like bitter, dried-up orange peel to me. Then it turns into a recognizable tea, but not any tea I'd like to smell like. (Actually, the only tea I'd like to smell like would be jasmine tea.) Not a very pleasant smell for me, sadly--just dank tea. Then later it morphs into dank hay, like a hayloft that's gotten rained on and a little rotted.
Don't get me wrong--I love weird scents, I love to drink tea (the danker and murkier and more fermented the better), and a hayloft in the rain is one of the most romantic places there is. But frustratingly, the magic just isn't there on my skin.
Grain de musc loves it. It's on Patty at Perfume Posse's best of winter list. It's even got narcissus, which is a new obsession of mine. Drat.
Verdict: This certainly is a compelling, evocative spring smell, but I want to visit this damp hayloft, not smell like it.