One Thousand Scents

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hang Around: Yves Rocher Voile D'Ambre


In 1995, Revlon launched a scent ill-advisedly named Lasting; the entire advertising campaign, with ghostly numbers and a woman in a swirling dress that mimicked the shape of the (ugly, clumsy) bottle, centred on the fact that the scent promised to last ten or more hours without changing.

Well, that's just stupid. Lasting power is a big plus, but nobody's going to buy a scent on that alone; the scent has to be good. Fragrance advertising is a difficult prospect, and it almost invariably tells you how you're going to feel when you wear the scent. This one will make you happy; that one will make you sexy; this one here will make you confident. Numbers, I think it's fair to say, have no place in a perfume ad.

Anyway, if you want a scent that lasts and lasts, you just pick an oriental scent. They're based on large, heavy, enduring molecules. They're going to hang around for many, many hours.

The newish Voile D'Ambre by Yves Rocher is an oriental, but it's also a surprise: without being cheap or obvious in any way, it achieves a brightness and luminosity that's nearly unheard of in an oriental scent.

The top note is mainly green mandarin, fresh and uplifting, with the cool sparkle of cardamom; while the darker oriental notes are already swirling around it, the citrus note establishes the tone of the scent, which lasts almost until the very end.

In the middle are myrrh, incense, and opoponax, and although ambergris (for some reason) isn't listed in the notes, the heart of the scent is where it makes its appearance. But the scent never takes that turn into outright darkness; the sunshiny top notes remain, in spirit, and the scent always has a vivacity to it, even as the base notes (vanilla, sandalwood, and a dab of patchouli) begin to take over, six or eight hours in.

I probably don't need to tell you that Voile D'Ambre is stunningly long-lasting; twenty hours after putting it on, I can still smell the pale heat of sandalwood and ambergris on my skin. After the middle notes have settled in, it changes very slowly, but it sticks around, and it always smells like itself. It's glorious.

Voile D'Ambre is the first in a series of higher-end fragrances from Yves Rocher, their Secrets d'Essences line; the newest, Rose Absolu, has already been launched in Europe, and I'm just waiting for it to show up on these shores. It doesn't sound like something I'd wear (cinnamon, Turkish, Bulgarian and Moroccan roses, tonka bean, and patchouli), but it sure sounds like something I want to smell.

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