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.
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.
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.