Lighting up Transparent – Prada Infusion d’Oeillet (2015)

I recently read about someone who was automatically drawn towards light-liquid perfumes. Obviously it makes sense that we are drawn to different juice colours as well as genres, and yet it was one of those things that had never occurred to me before. Indeed I thought it really strange that anyone should be drawn towards transparent and very light coloured perfume, as I would normally be drawn to golden coloured fragrance. I realised that where others see serenity and floral freshness I translated transparency mostly into stingy and anorexic, whilst the golden tone feels rich and opulent and talks to my eyes and heart. But of course, it’s not really about rich or stingy, it’s about which fragrance genres you generally prefer.

Being a lover of oriental, woody and spicy fragrances, Prada’s new Infusion d’Oeillet, by perfumer Daniela Andrier, was absolute top of my to-test list, and I was happy to receive a sample from a fellow perfumista. I hadn’t looked too much into it before, but liked the concept of a new carnation fragrance given the infusion-overhaul. I was very surprised at the pale pink juice and the girly pink carnation used for the advert; in fact, I found the whole picture of little promise for the perfume.

Prada Infusion d'Oeillet Advert

Prada Infusion d’Oeillet Advert

Carnation is a flower which goes extremely well in an oriental/ floriental composition because its spiciness leans towards cloves and pepper and can be given both a cold metallic and a warm spicy side depending on the composition. Also, carnation has been out of flavour for so long, there are not many modern takes on the flower.

Prada Infusion d’Oeillet starts out similar to the original Infusion d’Iris, with a cologne-like peppery freshness. The pepper makes the opening completely unisex, even if the hesperidic notes are little soft and a little sweet due to mandarin essence. The pepper connects to the emergence of the carnation, making the transition into the floral heart seamless like a Tai Chi sequence. It’s beautifully done; all of a sudden you are in the heart of the fragrance and the pepper is no longer pepper but the metallic scent of a carnation flower.

I have always felt that Infusion d’Iris had an austerity in it from the iris and wood. It isn’t overwhelming or sad but rather elegant. Carnation, which can so easily be warm and fierce, is none of that here, yet distinctively a carnation, it’s floral and cool metal, with just enough sweetness. After a swirl through the douce carnation heart, a mellow and sweet sandalwood provides yet another smooth passage into the dry down. Thanks to woody notes (and styrax is mentioned) the sandalwood is uncloyingly serene and the end is as slick as the rest of the composition.oeillet book old

I was impressed by Infusion d’Oeillet’s likeness to Infusion d’Iris, it truly is like iris was simply exchanged for carnation, the atmosphere being so similar. Much like its predecessor, Infusion d’Oeillet is clear and transparent; it speaks of cool minimalism and is almost meditative in its expression. I do see it as a transparent fragrance to justify the light juice, the pink coming from the red carnation in a diluted colour. After all it’s not Infusion d’Oeillet’s fault what I associate most pale or even pink juices with, and even if Infusion d’Oeillet might not make it to my personal  absolute top carnation-heavy fragrances (at least not for winter), I do believe it has made me see transparency in a new light.


Sighs of Autumn Rain by Du Fu

In autumn rain, the grasses rot and die,
Below the steps, the jueming‘s colour is fresh.
Full green leaves cover the stems like feathers,
And countless flowers bloom like golden coins.
The cold wind, moaning, blows against you fiercely,
I fear that soon you’ll find it hard to stand.
Upstairs the scholar lets down his white hair,
He faces the wind, breathes the fragrance, and weeps.

Semi-Nostalgia or “The Deluded World” – Inedité Lubin (2009) and La Dandy Parfums D’Orsay (2010)

It’s not that I’m lacking in the perfume sample department, but it seems that at the moment I’m in an odd kind of semi-nostalgic perfumista state. I have started craving samples that I got some time ago, and which have now either been passed on or were hidden in some far away corner.

Out of the blue I got a craving for D’Orsay’s La Dandy and Lubin’s Inedité. I think I tried them at roughly the same time in about 2010, and I’m pretty sure that although well used at the time, I didn’t touch them again until now.

Inedité was created by Thomas Fontaine in 2009. It starts out nectarish fruity and with a warm spicy feeling created I believe by cloves and a faint cinnamon. In the beginning there’s also a slightly metallic note, perhaps lilac, which sits well with the emergence of a somewhat raspy patchouli. Through the spices the patchouli corset seems to reveal a retro chypre bone structure, however, Inedité quickly gets dressed up in fluffy lace of powdery iris and heliotrope, and adds a bit of lipstick rose. Although very feminine, this part isn’t girly, as the spices and patch keeps the powder puff oh-la-la so elegant. A boudoir of the finest sort.

La Dandy by Parfums D’Orsay is from 2010 starts off as one would expect from such a name; treading ground between masculine and feminine. Bergamot as well as a spice blend of green cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves mix with a creamy ylang ylang and soft, silky jasmine. It’s like wearing a man’s shirt, his perfume still lingering, on top of your white floral perfume. A wonderful peach, first skin like, then sweeter and sweeter, takes over and a peach vanilla desert is the result. We are very far away from La Dandy of the beginnings, as this really is gourmand territory. Sandalwood takes over from vanilla, honey and co, as the perfume dries down. Foody sweetness in combination with perfume will probably never be my thing, even if I do love a good peach note.

I enjoyed my little nostalgic trip back in the time before oudmania, flimsy skin scents, insane price increase etc. And whereas I will probably not be adding these to my collection, they are absolutely worth looking at if either genre is your thing.

I was a little perplexed at this sudden onset of craving for samples I didn’t even know I remembered! But an e-mail from a friend made me aware of what might lie beneath it; the number of new releases which now no longer hide the fact that what they use has nothing to do with the real deal; petalia, timberwood, silkwood I could go on. Are people now so familiar with ambroxan and friends, that it sells putting it on the box? I should like to think that I like the perfumes I do, regardless of what it says on the packet. But perhaps, even if just for a moment, I longed for the more dreamy, less realistic approach.

This all made me think of this wonderful little Mozart song called ‘Die Betrogene Welt’/ The Deluded World, yes, sometimes we all want to be deceived.

The rich fool bedecked with gold,
Catches Selina’s eye:
The worthy man is send packing,
She chooses the Dandy for husband.
Repentance soon limps along
In the wake of the splendid wedding feast
For the world wants to be deceived:
Therefore let it be deceived.

Beate, who not many days before,
Was the queen of all wantons,
Begins to wear penitential purple,
And decorates pulpit and altar.
Swayed by outward appearances,
Many think her pure as an angel.
For the world wants to be deceived:
Therefore let it be deceived.

When I kiss my little Caroline,
I tenderly vow to be true forever;
She pretends not to know
Any other young man but me.
Once, when Chloe had lured me away,
Damis took my place.
If all the world can be deceived:
I too can be deceived!

Chr. F. Weiße

The brilliant translation is by Richard Stokes from his ‘The Book of Lieder’ (faber and faber)

The song is sung by Anne Sofie von Otter accompanied by Melvyn Tan

Pic by me.