Monday, April 7, 2014
At some point in the last year or two, during their repackaging thrust, Diptyque changed the concentration of their Les Eaux series. Previously colognes, these now became eau de toilette, with better lasting power and slightly different behaviors on the skin. I must have smelled the cologne versions when they first started releasing them; however, until recently, I think the last one I'd paid any attention to was L'eau de Tarocco. It wasn't a memorable experience, and I dutifully ignored all subsequent releases.
Turns out that was a mistake, because even in their cologne concentrations these scents were largely fantastic. My favorites are L'eau de Hesperides and L'eau de L'eau, both of which are reinterpretations, or variations, of earlier Diptyque releases (Oyedo and the line's flagship fragrance, L'eau, respectively). Both are wonderful - the addition of immortelle to Oyedo is a revelation - but L'eau de L'eau distinguishes itself for me through its combination of bitter zest and clove.
It's an unusual take on cologne, spicy yet fresh, tart without a wince. This is effervescence done in a way I can get behind. You might like effervescent. It's never done much for me. Volatility is fine with me as long as something enters left stage for a second and hopefully a third act. I pretty scrupulously avoid one act colognes, of which there are too many, and the recent craze for all things "L'eau de" have made my trips to the department store even more infrequent than they'd already become. L'eau de L'eau lasts well for a "cologne", and though it smells cologne-like in general effect, there are significant twists and tweaks. It isn't at all a skin scent (also, for me, a dread descriptor) and it doesn't race its way off the radar before you have time to register it. People will smell it on you. You'll smell it on yourself.
The cologne version was punchier and didn't last all too poorly itself. There were things I liked about it - its brightness, its overload of spice - that the eau de toilette has adjusted. When you sprayed on the cologne it was like puncturing an orange rind with a clove bud. The spice in the eau de toilette is still there, but the rose has been boosted, bringing L'eau de L'eau closer to its inspiration, the wonderful L'eau. This makes the clove a little less startling, and the overall fragrance that much richer and deeper. Ginger, lavender, pimento and geranium give the scent a piquancy its inspiration didn't have, but all are held in balance to the rose. The patchouli is hard to put a finger on, in case patchouli frightens you.
L'eau was pomander in a bottle. I first wore it at a film festival in Philadelphia, shocking my festival-appointed escort as I stepped into the car. It's a wondrous fragrance - one you don't miss - and still in production, though harder to find at stores which carry Diptyque. It's a go-to favorite of mine and its relation to L'eau de L'eau is unmistakable, yet L'eau de L'eau is very much its own fragrance as well, and each comes in handy for different moods. If you've tried L'eau and found it a bit much, you might find L'eau de L'eau more to your liking or speed.
The perfumer of L'eau de L'eau is Olivier Pescheux. The notes are listed as green mandarin, grapefruit, petitgrain, lemon, ginger, orange blossom, cinnamon, lavender, pimento, cloves, geranium, tonka bean, patchouli and benzoin. The fragrance comes in 100ml.